|GENE ORLANDO - MSU Varsity "S" Club Honorary Member - 2009|
Now in his 18th season at the helm of the Michigan State men’s tennis program, Gene Orlando looks to continue the legacy of strength and excellence that happens both on the court and in the classroom. All four of MSU’s NCAA Championship singles qualifiers have played under Orlando. Additionally, two doubles combos have played on the national stage under Orlando’s watch.
In 2007-08, Orlando led the Spartans to 12 dual wins and an 11-3 home record. Meanwhile, the doubles tandem of seniors Nick Rinks and Adam Monich earned an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships for the second-straight year. Five Spartans also earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Honors; Alex Forger, Brendan Kinkopf, Scott Rasmussen, Clark Richardson and John Stratton.
In 2006-07, Orlando mentored a young Spartan squad featuring just one senior to 11 dual wins. Furthermore, junior Nick Rinks climbed into the national rankings and advanced to the NCAA Championships, marking the fourth time a Spartan singles player made it to the national tournament.
Orlando surpassed the 200-win mark during the 2005-06 season, the head coach’s 15th year mentoring the Green and White. The team’s 7-18 record also pushed him past 175 wins at MSU. In 2004-05, Orlando and MSU posted a 12-12 (4-6 Big Ten) mark.
The 2003-04 campaign marked the 90th season in program history, and and it was one of the best in school history. The Spartans racked up 17 victories, which tied the most for a Michigan State squad since 1963. Furthermore, MSU was ranked in every ITA poll during the season. During the campAaign, Orlando recorded the biggest win of his career, leading the Spartans to a 4-3 win over 2003 NCAA runner-up Vanderbilt on Feb. 14.
Every year, Orlando’s goals include qualifying for the NCAA Tournament as a team and having players qualify individually, yet academics have also become a trademark of the program. Last year, five of Orlando’s players received Academic All-Big Ten honors for having a grade-point average of 3.0 or better. In the last six seasons, the accolade has been given out 26 times to Spartan netters. Under Orlando’s guidance, there have been a total of 48 selections to the Academic All-Big Ten team with Aaron Murray receiving the honor four times and Brad Dancer, Jayson Bedford, Mark Findling, Ken Kigongo, Adam Hourani, Cameron Marshall, Jimmy McGuire and Eric Simonton, three times. Murray, Findling and Hourani are the only Spartans to ever garner Academic All-America status. These honors speak highly of the well-rounded program that Michigan State and Orlando are working to attain.
Orlando came to MSU from Bowling Green, where he spent three seasons guiding the Falcons. He played collegiate tennis at Ball State Unviersity in Muncie,
Ind., helping the Cardinals to four MAC championships during his career.
Orlando won conference titles his junior and senior seasons. His overall record was 91-40 in singles and 98-24 in doubles. Orlando was ranked as high as 21st nationally in doubles and made an NCAA apperance his senior season.
He was also honored as the MAC Scholar of the Year in 1987, and spent one year as a graduate assistant for Ball State, which went on to win another MAC crown. In September 1997, Orlando was inducted into the Ball State Unversity Athletics Hall of Fame.
Born in Heidelberg, Germany, on Aug. 23, 1965, Orlando earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Ball State in 1987. His family includes his wife, Janice, daughters Magalene Elizabeth and Gabrielle Marie, and son Vincent Alden.