Here to stay

Passion and dedication are two qualities valued in a coach.

The women's tennis team believes Pjotrs Necajevs, their new head coach, possesses ample amounts of both.

Necajevs, a native of Riga, Latvia, was asked to step in as interim head coach last year when the previous head coach suddenly resigned. Necajevs was given the permanent position last week.

"It is a great opportunity for me and I look forward to developing our players and to win the Horizon League soon," said Necajevs, who began at UDM in 2008 when as a student he transferred from Mississippi State to play men's tennis.

His favorite part about playing for UDM was being able to represent a smaller Division I school against big state universities and show them that UDM is still a tough competitor.

 While playing for the Titans, Necajevs earned two Horizon League player of the year awards and was voted team MVP both years he competed.

After playing, Necajevs served as graduate assistant for both the men's and women's tennis teams.

"I had many responsibilities such as recruiting, running practices, coaching during the tournaments and dual matches," Necajevs said. "I discovered that there is a huge difference between coaching men and

Necajevs has also trained many individual junior tennis players. Prior to coming to Detroit, traveled around the world.

The new coach said he has big plans for the UDM tennis program and wants to make improvements on and off the court.

"I believe there are a lot of talented players in Michigan and in the Great Lakes region," he said. "I would like to try to break the negative stereotypes about Detroit and show that we are serious and patient with our program. Moreover, it is as safe on campus as any other school in the area.

"We will grow," he added. "Soon we will be able to bring the community to participate in our program. Our goal is to win the Horizon League and go to the NCAA tournament."

Players see Necajevs young age as an advantage. He has an ample amount of knowledge and experience in the sport but because he is so close in age to his players they feel they can relate to him on a personal level.

"Pete is extremely passionate about the sport and gives 100 percent effort in everything he does, especially when it comes to our team," said Raina Halabi, a women's player. "The talent he has on the court is very admirable and we're thankful we have access to such a resource."

Necajevs is supported by volunteer assistant coach Diana Ospina, a professional tennis player, and graduate assistant Katie Taylor.