Tommy Valentini ’02Alumni, Faculty, and Staff

The Steve Wilkinson Endowed Professor of Sports Ethics and Tennis in Philosophy and Head Men's Tennis Coach in Athletics

Tommy Valentini is in his 14th year as head coach of the Gustavus men's tennis team in the 2022-23 school year. Valentini, who had been an assistant coach for the Gusties from 2006 to 2009, replaced Steve Wilkinson who retired after serving as the head coach for the 39 years prior.

A 2002 Gustavus graduate and four-year letterwinner on the tennis team. Valentini earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology where his research focused on moral education in and through sport. Valentini is a professor in the philosophy department teaching courses in Sport Ethics and Philosophy of Sport. In 2013, Valentini was named the Steve Wilkinson Endowed Professor of Tennis and Sports Ethics. Valentini serves on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Board of Directors. He also served as Asssitant Director of Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus where he directed the tennis program and staff training. 

During his playing career at Gustavus, Valentini compiled a record of 60-7 in singles and 53-9 in doubles. In his senior year, he was the MIAC Champion at #4 singles and helped the Gusties post an overall mark of 30-4 including the program's first ever ITA Indoor Championship, and a third place finish at the NCAA Championships. As accomplished in the classroom as he was on the tennis court, Valentini was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American compiling a 3.9 gpa with majors in honors history and religion. He received the Arthur Ashe Award for excellence in tennis, academics and humanitarian concerns from both the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in 2001. In 2002, Valentini was awarded the Hollingsworth Key, which is presented to the Gustavus senior male athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Valentini became the 16th head coach in the 92-year history of the men's tennis program at Gustavus. He has directed the program to 12 consecutive MIAC Championships and holds an overall record of 273-104 and an MIAC mark of 111-0. The Gusties are the third winningest program in the history of Division III tennis with an all-time mark of 1303-532-3 (.710 winning percentage). Gustavus has claimed two NCAA Team Championships (1980, 1982), while also winning six national titles in doubles and four national titles in singles.

In Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, Gustavus leads all programs in titles won with 55. Along with great teams, Gustavus has also been blessed with many outstanding individual players, which includes 60 players who have received All-America honors, and 136 who have received All-Conference honors. The program also has the distinction of having had five players receive the National ITA Arthur Ashe Award, which is given to one player a year that best combines tennis ability, academic accomplishment, community service and sportsmanship. That total is tied with Stanford for the most winners in all divisions of collegiate tennis.

Tommy lives in St. Peter with his wife, Bethany, and their children Enzo and Carmen.

Year   Overall   MIAC

2010   15-10   9-0

2011   19-9     9-0

2012   22-8     9-0

2013   23-10   9-0

2014   29-6    9-0

2015   20-11   9-0

2016   25-8    9-0

2017   26-9    9-0

2018   24-9    9-0

2019   20-8    9-0

2020   9-2     4-0

2021   17-3    9-0

2022   25-11  9-0

Total   273-104   111-0


B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College; M.T.S. Emory University; Ph.D University of Minnesota

Courses Taught

HES-152 (Men's Tennis)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HES-152 Men's Tennis 27 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, and 2010/SP
PHI-125 Philosophy of Sport 13 2023/FA, 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/FA, and 2015/FA
HES-276 Men's Tennis Practicum 13 2022/SP, 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, and 2010/SP
PHI-122 Sports Ethics 7 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, and 2016/SP
PHI-144 ST:Sports Ethics 2 2015/SP and 2014/FA
NDL-247 Prin Sports Ethics 2 2015/JN and 2013/JN
NDL-182 Sport Ethics: Aus & NZ 2 2012/JN and 2010/JN
FTS-100 FTS:The Value(s) of Sports 1 2023/FA
HES-248 Prin Sports Ethics 1 2011/JN