Wednesday, July 6, 2022

'A dream come true:' Harry Jadun looks to take advantage of opportunity with MSU men's tennis

June 15, 2022
<p>Headshot of Harry Jadun courtesy of Michigan State Athletic Communications.</p>

Headshot of Harry Jadun courtesy of Michigan State Athletic Communications.

It’s the changing of the guard for Michigan State men’s tennis after 31 years under Gene Orlando as he passes the whistle over to his young protege Harry Jadun.

At the ripe age of 28, the former Michigan State tennis player and East Lansing native never expected to be in this position quite so soon.

“It was always in the back of my mind, but for it to become a reality, it seemed more like a pipe dream,” Jadun said. “For me, it was just about taking it day-to-day and just focusing on improving a little bit each and every day. It was always a goal growing up here, being a Spartan fan from essentially the day I was born. My parents graduated from here, it was always a dream but to see it come to reality is pretty surreal.”

Jadun spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach under Orlando, but this wasn’t the only time they had worked together. Jadun, as a player, was one of the most successful in Orlando’s tenure as the first Spartan in history to earn All-American honors in doubles in 2015, reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Championship.

At the conclusion of this season, Jadun had taken a new job with the University of Illinois as an assistant coach, but the opportunity to coach at his alma mater and return to his home was too much to pass up.

“Illinois came knocking, and that's a program with a history, a lot of tradition and I was really excited for that opportunity,” Jadun said. “But obviously, when the head coaching position opens up at your alma mater where you grew up, where your family is, the program you're passionate about, I ended up going through the application and interview process and was fortunate enough to earn the job and that was a dream come true.”

That dream come true was met with immediate support from the East Lansing community. Not only did Jadun play at Michigan State, but he was an integral part of winning two team titles and an individual title at East Lansing High School.

“It's just a great family community,” Jadun said. “My phone's been blowing up from people all over East Lansing just texting me, ‘Congratulations’, ‘Hey, is there anything I can do to help?’. That's what makes this place special and I’m excited to have that support system and hopefully we put a program on the court that's going to make those people proud and make them want to come out and watch the matches.”

The decision to hire or promote Jadun is one that a lot of athletic departments across the country are beginning to embrace in hiring young, and it has produced results. Notre Dame’s promotion of Marcus Freeman, Oklahoma’s promotion of Lincoln Riley and Duke’s promotion of Jon Scheyer have all produced immediate recruiting results across different sports.

As an assistant, Jadun did the very same thing, helping secure multiple five-star recruits like Josh Portnoy and Max Sheldon who are both entering their sophomore year. For Jadun, the ability to connect to these athletes with the smaller age gap is a significant advantage when recruiting against other coaches.

“(Athletic Director) Alan Haller believed in the vision that I had and he felt like it was in line with the vision that he had for this program in this athletic department,” Jadun said. “To be a young coach, it'll be challenging, but also I feel like there are a lot of advantages to it. Especially with how big recruiting is nowadays and being able to connect with the younger generation.”

“Harry has a passion for Michigan State and understands the landscape of what it takes to be a successful student-athlete,” Haller said in a release. “He has created meaningful and positive relationships with our current players, alumni, campus partners and community that will only continue to grow in his role as head coach. He also understands the importance of building a program in all phases, from player development on and off the court, to recruiting and fundraising. I believe great things are on the horizon for our men’s tennis program under Harry’s leadership.”

Recruiting is just one part of the puzzle for Jadun to have sustained success. The other part is coaching and developing talent. For that, Jadun said he will lean on Orlando’s teachings that he’s had for almost his entire life.

“He's been a great mentor to me as a player, as a person, as a coach,” Jadun said. “It's been just about every phase of my life that he's been involved with. He knows me down to my core and he's been an unbelievable guiding force for me throughout navigating this whole process.”

Time will tell if the decision to embrace the youth movement will succeed for Michigan State, but the East Lansing native is looking to give it all and wants to win Big Ten and National Championships in East Lansing … and play some games here and there.

“It's getting further and further in the rear view,” Jadun said. “I always like to jump in and compete a little bit, maybe talk a little trash, give them the business a little bit. The guys always enjoy playing against me because it's an opportunity to shut me up.”

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