Mike Gennette and his lifelong devotion to Cal Lutheran


Photo by Marcel Hurtubise - Reporter

In 28 years of being Head Coach, Mike Gennette’s passion for helping players has not wavered.

Marcel Hurtubise, Reporter

Although he has coached junior tennis players who have gone on to become No. 1 in the world, Men and Women’s Head Tennis Coach Michael, or Mike, Gennette has remained loyal to California Lutheran University’s tennis program for 35 years. Having played four seasons for the Kingsmen (1987-89, 1991) before being hired in the fall of 1993, Gennette was named the head coach of the men’s tennis team in 1994 and named the head coach of the women’s team in 2017. 

Among his accomplishments as a coach, Gennette was named Player Development Coach of the Year in 2016. 

Gennette said he has passed on jobs at other programs in favor of Cal Lutheran, because of the goals of the program and the effect he thinks he can have.

“I just always felt like I was at the best place from the very beginning,” Gennette said.

Although Gennette has coached nearly 600 games on the men’s tennis team and over 80 for the women’s tennis team, it was not something he planned on doing. However, when the opportunity came, it seemed like a dream job to him. He wanted to continue being involved in the sport he loved and it kept him close to home.  

“At that point, I was coaching and I felt like, as a player, if I could help other people to reach for their goals and help them achieve them, it’s the next best thing to doing it yourself as a player,” Gennette said.

Gennette is a lifelong resident of the Conejo Valley area and could not think of a better place to live and raise his family. Gennette said he has traveled to many places in the past and thought this area is one of the best places to live in the world.

“We’re really fortunate to be in this community and at this school,” Gennette said.

Gennette said that he enjoyed watching his players develop and grow over the years. 

Senior men’s tennis player Darvel Lossangoye said that Gennette has a good heart and helps a lot on and off the court.

“He’s been trying to be in touch with every single person on the team. In a good moment, in a bad moment,” Lossangoye said.

Junior men’s tennis player Shawn Rothermel echoed this sentiment and said Gennette helps them play their best.

“He’s always been there for us. For our lives and all the things we’ve been through,” Rothermel said.

Through his many years at Cal Lutheran, Gennette said his reason for staying, besides loving the area and the school, is that he loves helping players realize their dreams and achieve them.

“I love changing people’s lives and helping them. Being a part of something bigger than myself, that’s what gets me up in the morning,” Gennette said. 

Gennette sees Cal Lutheran as the best place for him to make an impact, as the team is a family atmosphere.

Gennette wants to use his opportunity at Cal Lutheran to help as many people as possible to have the same experience here as he did.

Volunteer Assistant Tennis Coach Chuck Nester coached Gennette at Thousand Oaks High School and kept in touch with him ever since.

“He’s unique in his style. He’s very technical in his style, and he’ll probably be the first one to tell you that,” said Nester. “He’s always competitive… And all the team members like him too.”

Looking forward, Gennette said he is excited for the future of the men’s and women’s tennis programs, with a lot of incoming first-years on both teams.

“Watching the school grow and develop and kind of being a part of the history of the school has been a lot of fun,” said Gennette. “I just want to create as much opportunity for them to shine as possible.”

The Kingsmen and Regals’ tennis season begins in the spring.