Two men with very different stories in North Dakota tennis lore now have something in common.
Tyler Thomson, ex-Demon tennis star and powerhouse collegiate coach, and Scott McPherson, a longtime North Dakota high school coach, have been announced as the 2022 North Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame inductees.
The two were inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, as well as the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, in an evening ceremony at Tom O’Leary Courts during a break in the action of the 2022 Mayo Pharmacy Bismarck Open tennis tournament.
Thomson’s path to the Hall of Fame in his hometown started in high school, where he was a standout singles and doubles tennis player for the Bismarck High Demons.
Thomson’s high school accolades included earning letters in all six possible years, winning the state doubles title with partner Jeff Peterson in 1987, and receiving All-American honors his senior year.
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After completing his time in Bismarck, Thomson attended the University of Montana to play Division I tennis, earning letters all four years.
Completing college ended Thomson’s organized playing days, and he shifted into a lengthy career as a college head coach.
Thomson served two different stints with William and Mary College, first as assistant coach from 1997-2001, before returning to serve as their head coach from 2012-2017.
His first departure from William and Mary was a step up, as Thomson became the head coach at the University of Minnesota for their women’s tennis team.
During his time at the University of Minnesota, which lasted from 2001-2012, Thomson’s teams earned 111 victories, played in the NCAA championship field, and won Minnesota’s only Big 10 title to date. Thomson earned Big 10 Coach of the Year honors in 2003.
Thomson was also quite successful during his time as head coach at William and Mary, as his charges won five league championships, qualified for the NCAA national tournament five times, and saw 21 singles players and nine doubles teams earn all-conference honors, earning him two additional Coach of the Year honors, this time from the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Thomson’s coaching profile took a step up after leaving William and Mary for the second time, as he has served as associate head coach at perennial tennis powerhouse University of North Carolina.
During his time with the Tar Heels, their dual record sits at 109-6, including a 45-1 record against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, and they have been rated as the top collegiate program in the nation on numerous occasions.
Outside of his collegiate coaching duties, Thomson has run Nike Summer Tennis camps for nearly 15 years, and has done a number of tennis camps in Bismarck when visiting family in the area.
As for McPherson, his story begins outside of Bismarck before coming to the Capital City.
A 1979 graduate of Williston High School, McPherson earned All-Conference and All-State honors as he and his doubles partner won the West Region title and took second at the state tournament during his senior year.
McPherson attended Valley City State, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, which he has partnered with his tennis coaching career to teach at a number of schools around the state.
While serving as coach of the boys and girls tennis teams at Williston, Century, and Legacy High Schools for more than 25 years, McPherson’s career coaching record is 460-144 in boys tennis and 350-129 in girls tennis for a combined record of 810 -273 in 51 combined seasons.
McPherson’s boys tennis teams have qualified for the state 24 times in 26 seasons and his girls teams have qualified for the state tournament 20 times in 25 seasons.
McPherson is the only coach in West Region history to win three West Region tournament championships with three different teams, as well as the only coach to qualify three different West Region teams for the state tournament.
During his 51 seasons of coaching, McPherson’s teams have won 21 WDA Conference Tournament Championships and finished second 12 times.
McPherson has coached 73 All-Conference and 38 All-Star players, and five North Dakota Senior Tennis Athletes of the Year, and has earned Region or statewide honors as Coach of the Year nine times, while being nominated for National Tennis Coach of the Year three times.
McPherson has won a team title with Williston in 1999 and coached both a single and doubles championship, with Michael Janes of Legacy earning the singles championship in 2018 and John Roller and Brett Wike combining for the doubles championship with Century in 2006.