Rocking the Tennis Courts

Mike Rockman completes his final season at UB

Photo of Mike Rockman
Mike Rockman
BUFFALO, NY - Mike Rockman (Toronto, Ontario/Thornlea) came to Buffalo in 2002 to don the Blue and White and play tennis for the Bulls. After four successful seasons, he will leave UB this year as the winningest singles player in university history.

“My time at UB has been a time of growth in a lot of areas-personally, athletically, and academically,” Rockman said. “My experience has meant a lot to me. This is the place that I grew into an adult. It's been a time of growth.”

During his final fall season as a Bull, Rockman met and broke the single wins record. On Saturday September 16, 2006, Rockman faced Barret Wolf of Boston University at the Dartmouth Volkl Shootout and nabbed his 69th career victory in 6-3, 6-2 fashion, tying former teammate and current assistant coach Nick Zieuzula's record. Later that day, Rockman took down Corey Keller of Tufts University 6-1, 6-1 and became the solo singles wins leader.

“Looking back on it, it will mean a lot to me because it shows that I came here and did something great that nobody has done in the history of the tennis program at UB,” said Rockman, who has accumulated 83 wins thus far.

Tennis is not the only thing that Rockman excels at. The senior psychology major hits the books with the same fervor that he attacks the courts. Rockman was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete in 2005 and was a member of the All-Mid-American Conference Academic team in 2006.

“As a college student, even if you are involved in a lot of stuff, you have a lot of time and it's whatever you put your mind to,” Rockman said. “If you want to do something you'll do it and I wanted to excel in every area of my life. You can be excellent in many areas if you just focus your time and don't let it slip away.”

As if being an accomplished athlete and student, Rockman is also the current president of UB's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“SAAC is a group of student-athletes, about two representatives from each team,” Rockman said. “We're basically a group that meets every other week to discuss current issues in athletics, current events going on and upcoming events that we're organizing. It's basically a group of athletes who get together and are the link between athletes and the department. We get input from the SAAC group about whatever is going on and I serve as the liaison between the group and our coordinator.”

Once Rockman puts away his racket for the last time as a collegiate athlete, he looks to become a French teacher back in Canada in the fall. An avid pop culture and music fan, Rockman jokes that he wouldn't mind teaching the bright minds of Canada a thing or two about music and movies.

“I would love to teach the education of pop music and pop culture,” Rockman said with a laugh.

“I love pop culture and music. I know the words to every pop song out right now. I love movies,” added Rockman, who prides himself on knowing the lyrics to a multitude of current Top 40 hits.

Rockman's has a lively and fun demeanor and can be seen at various UB athletics events, proudly wearing Blue and White and cheering for the Bulls. However, the exuberant fan at games isn't necessarily reflective of Rockman when he is away from the confines of UB's campus.

“I'm laid back but I'm intense,” Rockman said. “I'm pretty quiet but I'm serious. I don't say a lot. I like being with my friends and family.”

For the past four years, the men's tennis team has been Rockman's family. Rockman and his Buffalo family will travel to the MAC Championships this Thursday through Saturday for the last conference matches in his career. While these games will be Rockman's last MAC competition, the memory that has been most prominent in his career at UB is the first MAC Championship victory for the Bulls.

“My best memory was probably beating Toledo my freshman year,” said Rockman of 2004 4-1 win in the first round. “It meant a lot more to the older people on my team because they had been with the history of UB and when we won I didn't really know it meant that much. But seeing how the other guys reacted, I knew it meant something so it felt cool. And looking back, I know that started something that we've been building off of every year.”

The 2007 MAC Championships will take place in Fort Wayne, IN with the first round on Thursday.

Story written by Jennifer Gillan


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