Skip To Main Content
Principia College Logo
Panthers Serve Up a Season to Remember


The 2024 Principia College tennis season was one to remember, as both the men’s and women’s teams qualified for the NCAA DIII National Tournament. Both teams closed out the regular season as Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) champions and left an indelible mark on their new conference. 

Coaches Shannon Carney and Rusty Jones were both named UMAC South Coaches of the Year, senior Bissola Lassissi was UMAC South Women’s Tennis Player of the Year, and freshman Mafe Quintero was named UMAC South Women’s Tennis Rookie of the Year. On the men’s side, the full lineup earned All-UMAC honors, with freshman Ignacio Zamora earning UMAC South Player of the Week in the final week of play.

The season marks a bittersweet finale for the career of beloved Men’s Tennis coach Rusty Jones, who is retiring after nine impactful years. Jones began his tenure at Principia College by winning five consecutive St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championships, six conference Coach of the Year honors, and sharing the title of SLIAC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Decade with his predecessor, Casey Reynolds (C’80). Prior to coaching at the College, Jones coached the boys’ tennis team at the Upper School, leading Principia to its first ever Missouri State Championship in 1985.

Jones describes his approach to the craft as love in action: “My foundation has always been love—there is nothing greater,” he says. The final team of Jones’s Principia College career epitomized this sense of collective growth: “It is often imagined that because tennis is an individual sport, team doesn’t really apply, but nothing can be further from the truth. The 2024 men’s team truly embraced unity. They evolved to embrace each other, to embrace the balance between robust academics and rigorous athletics, and rise to their highest potential in both.”  

“Rusty will be missed dearly," remarked Athletic Director Ann Pierson. "He is an amazing coach and an even better person. We were so blessed to have him in our department."