"We are very excited to have Coach Pautsch join our staff and lead our men's and women's tennis programs," said Daugherty. "Paul was able to spend some time with our student-athletes last season; the response to him, and his coaching style, was very positive.
"Paul's extensive background in the sport of tennis will have an immediate impact on our program and his love for student-athletes makes him a great fit for JBU."
For the last 20 seasons, Pautsch has served as the Bentonville High School boy's and girl's tennis coach where he implemented a no-cut program which led to exponential growth, a varsity and three junior varsity programs, for each team. Guiding kids in their love of tennis wasn't his only mission as Pautsch was heavily involved in developing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapter at Bentonville.
"We started the FCA program about eight years ago," noted Pautsch, visibly excited discussing one of his proudest moments. "That program is really the reason I stayed as long as I did at Bentonville. My wife and I enjoyed the interaction with the kids too much; the socialization and talking about Christ kept me going."
Prior to spending two decades at the helm of the Tigers tennis programs, Pautsch diversified his coaching portfolio in 1987 when he accepted the University of Arkansas assistant men's tennis coaching position and spent a total of four seasons in Fayetteville, giving the already veteran coach NCAA experience.
After offering a large portion of his life to the military (1966-1978), Pautsch was able to return to the courts in 1979 when he was named the head tennis professional at the Pleasant Valley Tennis Club in Jackson, Wis. prior to becoming self-employed as a private contractor at local tennis clubs in the greater Wisconsin area.
The oldest of eight children, Pautsch grew up in rural Waupun, Wis. where the multi-sport athlete excelled at tennis and baseball in addition to hockey and football. As his talents grew through high school, Pautsch sought a collegiate baseball scholarship but quickly realized he couldn't leave his true passion - tennis.
This passion has led Pautsch out of coaching retirement to John Brown University and a tennis program that won a combined three games last season between both the men's and women's squads. Despite the lack of recent success, Pautsch's experience and expertise will play a pivotal role in the tennis programs' resurgence.
"I try to impart two ideals when I coach," Pautsch admitted. "The two things that matter most in tennis, in terms of success, are patience and consistency. If the men and women here at JBU are willing to buy in, I know we'll find success."
Pautsch has found a wonderful opportunity at JBU, not only to turn around a program, but the prospect to impact the lives of Golden Eagle student-athletes. In his limited interaction with the tennis players earlier this spring, Pautsch had already recognized the hard work these athletes pour into the program.
"I couldn't be more proud of the kids that are currently in the program. They truly are student-athletes, at one point fulfilling what God has called them to do in school and, often times, simultaneously playing tennis to the best of their abilities. While I'm here to stabilize the program, I want to continue to recruit quality student-athletes that measure up to the work ethic already on display.
"Tennis is often a means of escape and enjoyment. This is exactly what it should be; a time to familiarize themselves with the concept of 'team.' Student-athletes never forget those moments and they serve as an invaluable experience later on, regardless of which path they choose."
As the program continues to grow and JBU tennis seeks to become a fixture in the NAIA landscape, it can never be said Pautsch didn't see this coming. For instance, after the men's tennis team downed Southwestern Christian University (Okla.) at home on April 16, one of the players approached Pautsch, seemingly emotionally distraught over the victory.
"I asked him what was wrong," reminisced Pautsch as his demeanor quickly fell, but only for a moment. "He told me it was his first win at the college level in three years."
Invigorated, Pautsch offered a simple promise, one he will most certainly strive to fulfill.
He replied, "It won't be your last."