Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University men's tennis head
coach Alex Palladino recently proved he can still
play by winning the 19th annual Hall of Fame Classic held July
23-25 in Grand Rapids.
Palladino claimed the men's open singles division title by winning five consecutive matches in straight-sets at Orchard Hills. It marked the second time he claimed the event's top men's singles crown following his 2005 victory.
In the championship match, Palladino was a 7-5, 7-6 winnver over Mike Flowers, who had also previously won all four of his pre-championship matches in consecutive sets.
The Hall of Fame Classic was founded by Jerry Hendrick and John Bell in 1992. The first event consisted of 70 players with the tournament growing to more than 300 players by 2000. Each year, action is contested in 15 different divisions with both singles and doubles play available for both men and women along with mixed doubles competition.
This past season, Palladino received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Coach of the Year honor after leading the Bulldog men's team to its 13th consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 2009-10. FSU concluded the season wtih a 12-8 overall ledger and placed third overall at the 2010 GLIAC Men's Tennis Tournament (April 17-18) in Midland, Mich. Ferris also placed second overall in the conference during regular-season competition with a 6-1 league record this season.
Palladino, who also serves as FSU's women's tennis head coach, wrapped up his third season directing the Bulldog program. He was hired prior to the 2007-08 campaign after serving as a tennis instructor in West Michigan for over 20 years since his own collegiate playing career ended in 1987.
In his three years directing the Bulldog men's tennis program, FSU has compiled a 36-27 overall record and posted three consecutive 6-1 conference regular-season marks. The Bulldogs have also won at least 10 matches in a season each of the last three years. This past season, Palladino also guided the Ferris women's team to a 12-9 overall record and the program's first trip to the NCAA-II Tournament since 2007.
Palladino, who competed at the NCAA Division III level for Kalamazoo College from 1984-87, led the Hornets to back-to-back NCAA-III National Championships his final two collegiate playing years under head coach George Acker. He captured NCAA-III national titles in doubles play as both a junior and senior. Twice, he reached the NCAA-III championship match as a singles player at Kalamazoo.
While at Kalamazoo College, Palladino earned four varsity letters and also claimed the school's Most Accomplished Athlete Award as a senior. He competed at both the top singles and doubles flights as a collegian. In addition, Palladino was a four-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) selection and named league MVP his final campaign.
After finishing his collegiate career, Palladino served in a variety of tennis roles. He spent two years as a teaching professional in Chicago and five years at the East Hills club in Grand Rapids. In 1986, Palladino became the Director of Tennis at the Michigan Athletic Club in Grand Rapids where he worked until 2001 when he moved into a similar role with the Champion Health and Fitness Club in Rockford. He's also worked as the tennis director at the Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids.
As a professional player, Palladino has won the adult men's Midwest Indoor Championship numerous times, traveled on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Satellite Circuit and earned victories over players ranked as high as #145 in the world. He has also previously been honored as the United States Professional Tennis Association's (USPTA) Midwest Player of the Year and recognized as the West Michigan Adult Player of the Year several times.
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