Jim Rumpel: Baldwin-Woodville

spaceConsidering how his tennis career at Baldwin-Woodville began, Coach Jim Rumpel has given new meaning to the term ready position. Rumpel recalls, “as a first year teacher, in 1984, I was called down to the AD’s office during the 2nd week of school. The AD asked me if I knew anything about tennis and I told him that I enjoyed the game, had never played in high school but did take a PE course in tennis during college. He then asked me if I would be interested in taking the girls tennis coaching position since the current coach had resigned that morning. I said sure, since I was a first year teacher and wasn’t going to say no to anything. He said, ‘good, you have a match tonight.’” And so it began…

spaceSince that first year teacher took a leap of faith, Coach Rumpel’s career has covered 28 years, 23 years of qualifying for state, 10 conference championships and over 200 combined wins in the boys and girls programs. Considering the girls program had only played one dual meet in their school’s history before his arrival, Coach Rumpel has certainly established the Blackhawks program as one to contend with.

spaceAlthough he undoubtedly exhibited the effort of his favorite player Jimmy Connors to coach at a high level all these years, Coach Rumpel credits much of his success to an attitude that a first year or veteran coach could benefit from. “Keep the game fun. Let the players know that they are playing a great game and not to let pressures (internal and external) interfere with their enjoyment of the game. The person who wins a tennis match losses, on average, 46% of the points. Control what you can control and everything else will fall into place.”

spaceDespite the success Rumpel has had in the win column, he cites coaching his sons as a doubles team at the state tournament as the highlight of his career. “I won’t forget it because of the emotion and feelings involved for all, but also because of a very important lesson it reinforced… I think my sons and I did a very good job of that at the state tournament, but feeling all of those pressures and emotions emphasized to me how the athletes and families deal with those all the time.”

spaceAlthough Coach Rumpel has had many highlights, it has not been all business at Baldwin-Woodville. Coach Rumpel recalls walking into a street sign while walking and watching a match at the same time, and showing up at practice with different pairs of shoes on. Not to be outdone, his players have contributed some light moments such as asking if his eyes are different colors during an intense changeover.

spaceCoach Rumpel’s talents are not limited to just the tennis court. He coached wrestling from the middle school to varsity levels for over 20 years. He also enjoys “following Wisconsin college and pro sports. I am a big Badger Basketball, Badger Football, Packer and Brewer fan. I enjoy spending time with my family doing anything.”

spaceWhy does he continue to coach tennis? “Tennis is just a great sport. I like the game because it is an individual sport and yet a team sport. There are so many lessons that can be learned through tennis that are important in life as well as athletics.”