Ball State men’s tennis player pursues dream of becoming a teacher

Redshirt junior Collin Rigney set to return a serve in his singles match against IU Southeast at Northwest YMCA in Muncie, Ind. Feb. 3. Eric Pritchett, DN

After leaving the blue hallways of Greensburg Community High School in 2014, Collin Rigney knew he wanted to be a teacher.

Now a redshirt junior men’s tennis player at Ball State, Rigney has put his plan of teaching in action. In fall 2017, he served as a student-teacher for 16 weeks at Daleville Elementary School. The opportunity made him realize that this is where he wanted to be.

“Being at Daleville is a great community,” Rigney said. “I loved my student teaching placement. I met a lot of great people. I was able to be with a bunch of very motivated young kids that were a blast to be around.”

While at Daleville, Rigney taught social studies and science classes to sixth-graders, a level in school Rigney thinks is an important time for students.

“Every year is important,” Rigney said. “But that’s the transition from elementary to junior high.”

The inspiration to be a teacher came from his parents being teachers. June Rigney, his mother and a former tennis player at UIndy, works at Greensburg High School.

John Rigney is an Athletic Director and a health teacher at Greensburg Jr. High School.

Now that he has a chance to form his own style of teaching, Collin puts an emphasis on building a relationship with his students in the classroom.What makes Colin a great teacher, he said he relates with his students.

“Just being able to relate with kids… it’s probably the biggest thing with teaching in my mind,” Collin said. “As someone who graduated from college, you obviously should know the content that you’re teaching in elementary. I had passed elementary so I know what I’m teaching. But being able to break it down and being able to relate with the kids. That, in my mind, what separates good from great teachers.”

This season, after his student teaching stint, Rigney returned to play tennis for the men’s tennis team after sitting out with injuries. He has played in 16 combined singles and doubles matches this season. In doubles play, Rigney is paired up with junior Marko Guzina, and the duo have won four matches at No. 2 doubles. Head coach Bill Richards said Rigney has had a hard luck career.

“He’s been out most of his career with injuries so he has had a very brief career,” Richards said. “He missed almost all of his sophomore year and all of his junior year. We’re going to miss him. He’s done a great job for us in doubles and I’m sureーgiven the opportunityーhe would do a great job in singles as well. But Collin has been a hard worker and a great team player.”

With his decision to continue his collegiate tennis career, Rigney will continue to show leadership on and off the court. In a way, he also serves as a teacher for the underclassmen on the team. Freshmen tennis player Bryce Bonin said he has learned physical and mental tips from Rigney.

“I have learned from him that every day you gotta come in and work hard and stay positive,” Bonin said. “He helps me during my matches. I play with a lot of energy and a lot of focus. He really just makes you wanna get better.”

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