Mark Batke / Lantern reporter
With a marketing degree from Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business and four scholar-athlete awards under his belt, you might say Devin McCarthy of the OSU men’s tennis team has a bright future in the corporate world, if not for one problem – he isn’t finished with tennis.
McCarthy, the only redshirt senior on this year’s OSU squad, plans to take his skills to the professional level after No. 5 Buckeyes (26-2, 9-0) finish their 2013 season. McCarthy graduated from OSU in December.
“I think I’m going to, in June, go to Mexico for a couple weeks to play some (professional) tournaments. I’m not ready to give up tennis … I don’t really want to sit behind a desk, so I’m going to go try (professional tennis) out and see what happens,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy, though, didn’t always think he had the skills to go pro. When he was recruited out of his Cincinnati-area high school by OSU coach Ty Tucker and brought onto the team as a freshman, McCarthy didn’t see that level of potential in his own play.
“(Tucker) took a chance on me. I wasn’t that great in juniors, (I) took some time off, my ranking wasn’t that great, and (Tucker) brought me in and spent some time with me in the summer when I was a guy that wasn’t in the lineup, and he spent a lot of time with me,” McCarthy said.
However, what McCarthy failed to see in himself, Tucker saw immediately.
“I thought (he had) very good potential … (he was) a guy that should have been highly recruited, wasn’t as highly recruited as he should have been. To us he was a certain ‘can’t miss’ player,” Tucker said. “We were very fortunate to get him.”
McCarthy is the fourth child in his family to play Big Ten tennis. His two older brothers, Ryan and Mike, played for Indiana, and his other brother, Andrew, played at Northwestern.
McCarthy said many of the improvements made in his tennis game came during his true freshman year when he did not see action for the Buckeyes.
“Honestly, I don’t think that if I came (to OSU) early, I don’t think I would be playing. I don’t think I would have ever made it in the lineup,” McCarthy said. “I came here in the winter of 2009, and was the worst on the team, second worst on the team. (I) stayed that summer … and that’s when I made the biggest jump and probably got two levels better.”
Over the course of the next four years, his extra time spent training and developing began to pay on the court.
“(McCarthy) finally earned a spot on the team and never gave it up. He’s been a horse for us – I feel one of the two or three most underrated players in college tennis,” Tucker said.
During McCarthy’s OSU career, the Buckeyes have won five Big Ten regular-season championships, four Big Ten tournament championships and have never lost a match at home.
McCarthy is ranked No. 91 nationally.
Off the court, McCarthy has established himself as a four-time OSU scholar-athlete, three-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient and a mentor to many of his younger teammates. “It’s not always just tennis … (McCarthy) has a great personality and is easy to get along with, and he’s been probably my best friend on the team since I’ve been (at OSU),” said redshirt junior Peter Kobelt. “We’re going to miss him for who he is and for what he does on and off the court.”
“He’s been a great leader.”
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Tucker said he will be sad to see McCarthy leave but is proud of what he has accomplished during his five years as a student.
“I think (Devin) is a great guy – exactly what OSU wants and a true competitor. Him leaving is very, very sad to me,” Tucker said. “Every guy that has ever come through (the program) is a good friend of mine at the end … and I look forward to that relationship with Devin.”
McCarthy said his memories at OSU are countless.
“Just saying I was an athlete at OSU is going to be pretty sweet to be able to say and look back on,” McCarthy said. “One of the coolest things is being in Seattle or being in California and you’re walking with an OSU shirt and some random dude walks up to you and says ‘O-H’ and you respond ‘I-O’ and then finds out you’re an athlete, and they think it’s the coolest thing in the world.”
For the time being however, there are still a few things left to check off on McCarthy’s to-do list before he moves on from his career as a Buckeye.
“Winning the Big Ten title at home would be awesome in front of my whole family,” he said. “And I think we’ve got a good shot of winning the national title this year, and that would be the ultimate dream.”
McCarthy and the rest of the Buckeye squad are scheduled to face Michigan State on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center.