Tommy Valentini ’02

Alumni, Faculty, and Administrator

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

Tommy Valentini is in his ninth year as head coach of the Gustavus men's tennis team in 2017-18 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.

The 2017 Gustavus men’s tennis team won its 29th consecutive MIAC Championship after going a perfect 9-0 in league play. The Gusties later secured the MIAC Playoff Championship and a place in the NCAA Tournament after a 9-0 semifinal win over Bethel and a 5-1 championship victory over St. Thomas. The Gusties went on to defeat UW-Whitewater in the NCAA Regional semifinal and then upset Chicago in the region final to advance to the NCAA national quarterfinals for the first time in Valentini's eight seasons at the helm. Gustavus lost to No. 1 Middlebury and finished the season 26-9 overall. Five Gustavus players were recognized on the All-Conference Singles and Doubles Teams - Mohanad Alhouni (Jr., Tripoli, Libya) and Chase Johnson (So., Golden Valley, Minn.) were named to both the singles and doubles teams, Zach Ekstein (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) was named to the singles squad, and Tommy Entwistle (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Patrick Whaling (So., Manikob Sabot, Va.) were named to the doubles squad. Alhouni also won the ITA Fall Regional in singles play and finished third at the ITA Small College Championships, earning All America status.

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. In 2013, Valentini was named the Steve Wilkinson Endowed Professor of Tennis and Sports Ethics. Valentini also serves as Asssitant Director of Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus where he directs 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 87-year history of the men's tennis program at Gustavus. He has directed the program to eight consecutive MIAC Championships and holds an overall record of 177-71 and an MIAC mark of 71-0. The Gusties are the third winningest program in the history of Division III tennis with an all-time mark of 1208-499-3 (.708 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 51. Along with great teams, Gustavus has also been blessed with many outstanding individual players, which includes 51 players who have received All-America honors, and 120 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   18-9     8-0

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

Total   178-71   71-0


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

Courses Taught

PHI-122 (Sports Ethics) and PHI-125 (Philosophy of Sport)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HES-152 Men's Tennis 20 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, and 2010/SP
HES-276 Men's Tennis Practicum 10 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 8 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/FA, and 2015/FA
PHI-122 Sports Ethics 3 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
HES-248 Prin Sports Ethics 1 2011/JN