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New Elon men's tennis coach aims to create culture of excellence


Maciek Sykut has been named the next head coach of the Elon University men's tennis team. Sykut will take over for Michael Leonardwho retired at the end of the 2023-24 season after 20 legendary years leading the program.

After a career in professional tennis, Sykut began coaching at North Carolina State University in 2012, where he first served as a volunteer assistant coach before moving to a full-time assistant coaching position.

Sykut also served as an assistant head coach at the University of Arizona, helping the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010 in 2019.

He also spent two successful years as an assistant coach at Duke University before being promoted to associate head coach in 2022. At Duke, Sykut led the Blue Devils to 71 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances. During his time at Duke, Sykut was named the 2022-23 ITA Assistant Coach of the Year and helped lead the team to a record 11 ACC wins in a single season in 2024, as well as two wins over teams ranked in the top 10 in the country.

Sykut said the opportunity to coach at Elon checked a lot of boxes for him and his family. Sykut is happy to stay in the North Carolina area to raise his family and enjoys the combination of academics and athletics at Elon.

“I think the previous coaches at Elon have laid a great foundation,” Sykut said. “It's really a great opportunity for me to grow professionally into a head coach and try to build on what's already been established.”

Sykut said his experience with big programs like Duke has taught him that culture is key when building a program.

“At the core, we make sure that we outline what we want our culture to look like and we define the standards for the program and we find individuals of good character,” Sykut said.

Sykut said he understands the importance of succeeding Leonard, the most successful tennis coach in Elon history, and appreciates the commitment to continuing Leonard's success.

Michael has been at Elon for 20 years and has done a fantastic job, Sykut said. I'm going to continue to work to keep that consistency there, but I'm also going to lean on the great support that Elon has.

Although he only met the players once before they left for the summer, Sykut is looking forward to working with them once they return.

We're going to push on the field, we're going to push in the gym, we're going to push in the conditioning, we're going to push in the mental aspect of the game and I'm going to try to transfer my experiences to the players and let them learn from it, Sykut said.

Junior Oskar Antinheimo will be a key part of Sykut's team next year as he has been named Team MVP for 2024.

“I'm really excited to play for him because he's come from great programs and he's worked with great players,” Antinheimo said. “I'm really excited to see his perspective and just learn a lot from him.”

Sykut said he is looking forward to getting to know Antinheimo and the rest of the team better and seeing what the team can achieve next year.

The expectation is to create a culture that continues to foster a culture of excellence, and we're going to push that in the classroom, we're going to push that on the field, Sykut said. We're going to try to get better and be as consistent as possible and hopefully we can push the boundaries to win championships.




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