SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University men's tennis head coach Ron Gendron might have been playing it a little close to the vest when asked to give a quote about a local Smithfield High grad coming to play tennis for the Bulldogs in the fall of 2014.
"Matt's a top of the line kid both on and off the court with the strong potential to earn a regional ranking down the road," was how Gendron described Matt Kuhar in December of 2013.
Fast forward to May 2019 and Kuhar not only proved his coach right but will go down as one of the greatest student-athletes to don the Black and Gold.
Kuhar finished his illustrious Bulldog career last week with another milestone, representing Bryant and the Northeast Conference at the NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Wilson Dong (Bradenton, Fla.).
Along the way, Kuhar left his mark on the court and in the classroom. He finished his Bryant career with an 87-31 singles record, leading the Black and Gold to five NEC titles. Kuhar became the first-ever Bryant tennis player to earn a national ranking, rising as high as No. 77, and, along with Dong, became the first doubles tandem to earn a national ranking in NEC history.
Kuhar wasted little time making his presence felt, as he won NEC Rookie of the Year honors in 2015. He then proved his toughness, overcoming a back injury in 2015-16, to claim NEC Player of the Year honors in each of his final three seasons on the court. Kuhar went 18-1 in singles play against NEC foes and will graduate as a seven-time All-NEC honoree.
That stretch included another milestone. In 2017, Kuhar became the first Bulldog to win a set in an NCAA Tournament match when he blanked Oklahoma's Andrew Harris (No. 32 nationally), 6-0, in the first set.
In the classroom, Kuhar was as magnificent as he was on the court. He has earned NEC Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in each of the last two seasons and will earn his MBA from Bryant this summer.
Over the last five years, Kuhar has helped bring the Bryant men's tennis program to new heights. The Bulldogs have traveled all over the country to play the nation's top teams with Kuhar almost guaranteeing them a point at No. 1.
In the end, coach Gendron was spot on. Matt is a top of the line kid on and off the court.