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Winning isn’t easy, and doing it consistently every season is even harder.
Sustained success is something the Emory Eagles have fortunately been able to create within their Men’s Tennis program. Two brothers from Emory found a way to accomplish the ultimate goal of winning this past spring.
Junior Andrew Esses and Sophomore Will Coupe helped lead the Eagles to their sixth Division 3 National Championship at the Champions Tennis Club in Chattanooga, Tenn., on May 26.
It was the Eagles’ fifth consecutive match victory, closing out the season 10-3.
Esses, who was part of the 2019 Championship team, played a more significant role his junior season as the No. 2 doubles team, completing a 6-0 record after he and his doubles partner posted an 8-4 win en route to the Eagles victory.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I honestly think the two best moments of my life were both National Championships,” Esses said. “It’s crazy to say, but it makes everything feel like everything you’ve done to get to this point was worth it. I’m confident in my work ethic, and even in high school, after I committed, I still put in a lot of work. It was because I wanted to have a great college career.”
Esses captured the first win in singles matches to help Emory win 5-2 overall over Case Western Reserve to win the title. Esses was named to the UAA All-Association Team to top off a memorable year, being recognized in singles and doubles play.
Coupe did not play in the tournament finals but has gained valuable experience as he hopes to be part of the next great Eagles squad.
“Expectations are high, and it’s not easy even if you do everything you can do, it’s not always going to go your way, Coupe said. “I’m going to be an upperclassman next season, and this was the first time I’ve experienced the tournament. It was an awesome experience for me.”
He is Esses’ little brother at the chapter at Emory, which makes sharing the championship that much sweeter.
“Esses and I became very close,” Coupe said. “I’ve always looked up to the guy, and it was one of those things where I wanted to be around and spend a lot of time with him. It was cool to be able to do that at practice and outside of tennis as well.”
“We’ve always been super close ever since he came in,” Esses said. “When he was looking to join a fraternity, I was the one guy in SAE on the team. There were probably six or seven people in other fraternities, and so it was a tough decision for him,” Esses said. “Being able to be on the team with him and share that other bond with him makes us super close.”
Balancing SAE and Tennis
The chapter at Emory has athletes other than Coupe and Esses. The chapter has golf, track and field, cross country, soccer, baseball, and basketball athletes.
“There are people in SAE basically on every sports team,” Coupe said.
“One thing that is so special is the fraternity does a great job in terms of supporting each other because we have a lot of athletes. It means a lot when they post on social media after we won. It does feel good when you know your brothers are rooting for you,” Esses said. It not only makes you want to win a little bit more but also more comfortable.”
“Even though you’re not always seeing them or spending that much time with them as you’d like, they know what you’re doing when you’re not seeing them, and you know what they’re doing. At the end of the day, everyone respects each other’s work ethic,” Coupe said. “It’s cool to support other guys doing different things. One reason I joined SAE was it’s easy to relate to those guys because they’re living similar lifestyles.
Program History Related To SAE
Esses and Coupe join Mark Odgers ’05, Tyson Ramsay ’05, Will Humphreys ’12, Eric Seidelman ’14, and Eric Halpern ’15 as other chapter members at Emory who won a National Championship.
Odgers became the program’s first 8-time All-American during his collegiate career while claiming Rookie and Senior National Player of the Year honors as chosen by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
When he graduated, he held the school record for career doubles wins (93) and was third for career doubles win percentage (.762). He ended 10th on the Emory all-time list with 69 career singles wins. He helped the Eagles win their first National Championship in 2003.
Ramsay finished his career in seventh place on the school’s all-time list for career doubles wins (70), seventh in career doubles win percentage (.729), and 16th in career singles wins (58).
Humpherys is No. 15 all-time on the program’s doubles wins (62). He was one of the senior leaders of the 2012 team.
Halpern ended his collegiate career with Emory as the 35th ranked singles player in Division 3 ranks in 2015. With a career singles record of 75-34, his victory total tied for the No. 15 spot on the school’s all-time chart.