DECATUR, Ill. – On the tennis court, D Galvan makes a tremendous impact as half of Millikin University’s No. 1 Women’s Tennis doubles team, but off the court, she hopes that her influence will be just as significant as a coach and mentor.
Although she came to tennis late when she found the sport in seventh grade, D dedicated her athletic life to it and hopes to coach the next generation of tennis players after her graduation from Millikin next spring with a Sports and Recreation degree.
“I was always into basketball and softball, and I did not know what tennis was. I wanted to try a new sport and I’ve been playing ever since,” D said. “When I step out of college, I hope to get right into the high school area of tennis coaching. I am passionate about coaching, and I feel like I can talk to kids very well and am a good leader. I have been trying to build up my resume to be a tennis coach.”
D has already gained much Performance Learning experience in the local community, serving as a coach for the Decatur Eisenhower and MacArthur High School tennis teams and continuing lessons with players privately.
“Last year, I was a tennis instructor at Fairview Park for the Decatur Park District. I met the MacArthur and Eisenhower head coach, who asked me to help with his teams. For about a year and a half, I was helping both the boys and girls teams,” D said. “I was helping them learn the tennis basics because many were new and didn’t know the techniques. For the kids that knew, we were working on building up their skills.”
D is originally from Levelland, Texas, a 14-hour drive from Decatur, and was on the recruiting radar of the Women’s Tennis coaching staff during high school. D could only take a short virtual tour due to COVID-19 restrictions before coming to Decatur but felt Millikin was a perfect fit after meeting her tennis teammates.
“I talked with some of my teammates, and I felt like, yes, this is where I want to go to school,” D said. “The team atmosphere felt right, and I told my parents that this is what I wanted to do.”
D’s impact on the team was felt immediately as she was named a team captain in her sophomore year and earned CCIW All-Conference honors in 2021 and 2022. Her power of positivity has also been a critical piece of the Big Blue’s on-the-court successes.
“Being named a captain as a sophomore was scary. I think they saw me as a leader because of what I do, and no matter what I am doing, I want to support my team,” D said. “(Recently, I was injured during a match,) but I was hopping on crutches over to the other courts to cheer them on because we want to support each other.”
At Millikin’s 2023 Honors Convocation, D was one of the recipients of the Scovill Award, the most coveted award for overall excellence at Millikin, awarded based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and service, and scholarship.
“I was very happy and surprised by winning a Scovill Award. All the work I put in didn't go unnoticed, and it was a great feeling to be nominated for one of the top awards at Millikin,” D said. “Hearing my name called was pretty real and I called my family from back home. We did a mini celebration over the phone.”
Following graduation, D already has a job lined up teaching tennis with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department and hopes to continue branching out into high school coaching. She credits Millikin with preparing her to take those next steps.
“My time has gone by really fast, and I feel like my parents just dropped me off in my first year during COVID. It has been really good and I’m excited to graduate,” D said. “Not only has Millikin gotten me ready for the real world, but I owe a huge thank you to all of the faculty, coaches and professors. Without them and having the connections and being a role model, I don’t know if I would be where I am today.”