One of Cornell’s most accomplished student athletes, Stefan Paulovic, looks to top off his senior year with an Ivy title — about the only accolade he has yet to attain in his three and a half years on the Hill.
Paulovic has maintained a winning record in singles and doubles each season he has played for the Red. His freshman year, he made the All-Ivy second team for doubles. He received the same honor again his junior year.
His sophomore year, while serving as co-captain with teammate Mike Halperin, he won more matches than any other player on the team, only to follow it with an even more spectacular junior year.
Last year Paulovic received the Arthur Ashe sportsmanship and leadership award; he was one of only eight players in the nation to be recognized. He was chosen above every other collegiate tennis player in the Northeast Region.
The same season, he also got to play at the clay court nationals with his teammate and No.1 ranked player in the Northeast, Halperin. But there was more to come from his junior year; he was also named All-District second team for scholastically-achieving athletes, and shortly thereafter, Intercollegiate Tennis Association All American — for which nominees must have over a 3.6 cumulative GPA.
If you think Paulovic is impressive on the courts, you should see him in the classroom. He is a double major in economics and psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.
He has maintained a GPA over 3.9 the past three years at Cornell, and has been in the 400 club the past three semesters (for student athletes with a GPA of 4.0). Paulovic explains, “Playing tennis and double majoring at Cornell makes you learn to budget your time well, and I like knowing what I have to do next because it keeps me on track.”
As a matter of fact, the tennis team has maintained one of the highest overall team GPAs, if not the highest, over the last three years Stefan has played. Paulovic attributes the team’s academic success largely to head coach Barry Schoonmaker.
He explains, “Schoonmaker has been not only a coach, but also a friend these last four years. He deeply cares about how us guys are doing in every aspect of our lives. What I truly like about him is that he genuinely wants us to succeed off the courts and in the classroom. He understands that there is more to a Cornell experience than just tennis.”
Paulovic also attributes a significant amount of the team’s success to the great leadership from the team’s upperclassmen. “There has been really great leadership on this team the last few years. There is a a tradition of academic excellence and sportsmanship on this team that the upperclassmen pass down to the younger guys.”
When asked about his experience as captain, Paulovic explained, “I like being the captain and helping younger guys on the team do well. These guys are really young and really gifted, and have the potential to bring an Ivy title home to Ithaca.
“As captain, I really hope to be able to give a lot back to these younger guys, because people have treated me so well and given me so much in my three years here.”
Paulovic feels “the people make all the difference — I’ve formed friendships here that I hope will last me a lifetime. Although our goal has always been to win an Ivy title, and we haven’t been able to do that, I am really thankful and happy to have played on the coolest team in the Ivies. Every time we travel to another school, I am amazed at how much more unity and sportsmanship our team has than most other schools.”
Paulovic made the decision to come to Cornell from Ahuas, Germany after earning a scholarship for his academic aptitude; a decision he has come to regard as “one of the very best I have ever made.”
Next year he plans to teach youth tennis in Europe as part of a “Tennis Europe” program and then come back to the U.S. to work for a financial consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
Archived article by Adam Zwecker