Northwest Missouri State alum and former Bearcat tennis standout Malcolm Harrison will be inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame this fall.
Harrison dominated men’s tennis when he transferred to Northwest in 2010. He became a two-time MIAA Player of the Year, making it the only time in school history. He said the news hasn’t really sunk in for him yet.
“I don’t know if I was ever a star athlete (at Northwest). It’s a football school. I never felt like a big star. I looked at it as I wanted to get into the highest level,” Harrison said.
Harrison also ranked first and fifth two times in single-season win totals by an individual. Harrison had a 57-6 career record in regular season and was a tournament champion in both years of play.
“I knew I could be a good tennis player but I wanted to be more than that. I wanted every athletic person to say, ‘Oh, he’s one of the best athletes at Northwest.’ So, I guess it reflects in my record but i’m humbled by it,” Harrison said.
Honoring his 2010-2011 season, Northwest Athletic Director Andy Peterson said Harrison’s selection was an easy choice.
“Malcolm came at a time when the men’s program was kind of rolling at a very high level and he kind of took them to another level really with his own record and his accolades,” Peterson said. “What they were able to do when he was here in conference and even nationally was just impressive, and that’s what sets him apart from some of the others.”
After his collegiate run, Harrison took his talent overseas to Europe, garnering top-notch rankings. He credits his level of competition and play to his former Northwest tennis coach, Mark Rosewell.
“I knew tennis was very, very important to Malcolm and he wanted to go on and play after his college years, which he did. He played professionally over in Europe and France for several years so I knew it was important. There was a maturity level on the athletic side to him,” Rosewell said.
Harrison added, “He really gave me a lot of freedom to play tennis and go to school. I think in another system it could have been a lot different. I could have had a lot more restrictions to my lifestyle. Our coach wanted us to come in and work hard and that was what I wanted to do so it was a nice thing.”
Rosewell said he was both an outstanding player and teammate who understood the team philosophy well at Northwest.
“He was not only a great singles player but a great doubles player. He added a lot of value to the team,” Rosewell said. “He had already played two years of college so he wasn’t like a regular freshman coming in at 18 years old.”
As Harrison adds a new distinction to his tennis career, he said he views the award as a tribute to his former coach.
“I’m definitely proud and it really just goes to my coach. When I came to him I said, ‘I got nothing. So, whatever you can do to make it happen I’ll be there.’ I think I came with one racket. That was it. He took care of everything else and the rest was history.”