Baylor Men’s Assistant Named Maryland Head Coach

Kyle Spencer, Baylor’s assistant director of tennis and the reigning national assistant coach of the year, has been hired to lead the University of Maryland men’s tennis program the school announced today.

Spencer, who has also coached at the professional level and played in the Olympics, spent the last three seasons at Baylor and during that time the Bears finished among the top 10 nationally each year. Baylor also captured both the Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament titles each of those seasons.

Spencer, who coached under three-time National Coach of the Year Matt Knoll, had a hand in grooming Baylor All-Americans Lars Poerschke and Denes Lukacs over the last three years.

“From the first time I spoke with the people at Maryland I knew Kyle was a perfect match for their program. They were seeking someone with unquestioned integrity, phenomenal work ethic and enormous passion for college tennis. He exhibited those qualities every single day at Baylor. I couldn’t be happier for him and his wife Kacie as they begin this new chapter in their lives. We wish them every possible success,” said Knoll.

Spencer joins a long line of assistants under Knoll who have gone on to become head coaches at the NCAA Division I level:

ACC – Kyle Spencer, head coach at Maryland
Big 12 – Sam Winterbotham, former head coach at Colorado
Big East – Ryan Sachire, associate head coach at Notre Dame
MAC – Pawel Gajdzik, head coach at Northern Illinois
Pac 10 – Kevin Kowalik, former head coach at Oregon
SEC – Sam Winterbotham, head coach at Tennessee

Former TCU standout wins Pro Circuit dubs

Former TCU women’s tennis standout Macall Harkins garnered her first postgraduate win Sunday, claiming the doubles title at the Via Christi Women’s 10K. Alongside partner Ester Goldfeld, the duo marched through four tandems to earn the crown.

“It was great to win,” Harkins said. “Ester and I played together last week in Brownsville and we really clicked. We reached the finals there and so we were pretty pumped to not only return to the finals in Wichita, but it motivated us to win it all.”

The win marks the first professional victory in Harkins’ career, coming just over a month after wrapping up her Horned Frog career at the NCAA Doubles Championships in College Station, Texas, on May 22.

The duo had a tough task in the semifinals, battling a pair of 2008 doubles All-Americans in Brook (Buck) Connelly and Kelcy Tefft, formerly of Notre Dame. While at TCU, Harkins was 0-2 against the Fighting Irish tandem, including a loss to eliminate her and partner Anna Sydorska from the 2008 NCAA Doubles Championships. Harkins and Godfeld slid the pairing to advance to the finals, 3-6, 6-2 (10-6).

“Anna and I played them twice in the last two years, definitely college rivals,” Harkins said. “I was able to tell Esther about their style and go into the match with a some sort of scouting report.”

Via Christi Women’s 10K
Doubles Main Draw – Wichita, Kansas

R1. Harkins/Godfeld def. Gabueva/Isaeva, 6-3, 6-4
QF. Harkins/Godfeld def. Hitt/Petero, 6-3, 6-3
SF. Harkins/Godfeld def. Connelly/Tefft, 3-6, 6-2 (10-6)
F. Harkins/Godfeld def. Capannolo/Lumpkin, 7-6 (5), 6-4

ITA Announces Division I Regional Realignment

SKILLMAN, N.J. – The ITA announced that effective in August 2009, the ITA membership will be aligned into 12 new Regions for all NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis programs.

For almost 40 years, the Division I membership of the ITA has been divided into eight regions, based previously upon regional alignments created by the NCAA for the purpose of selection into NCAA championship events.

The discussion about this expansion plan first began last fall with the ITA Realignment Task Force presenting its Regional Realignment Proposal during the ITA Coaches Convention in December. After extensive discussions and careful review, the ITA Operating Committee agreed to endorse this expansion.

The goal of the realignment is to benefit the student-athlete well being and experience while being sensitive to the economic environment. The three main components considered with the expansion were: 1) Geographic location, 2) Increasing participation and recognition opportunities for student-athletes, and 3) Creating competitive balance with consideration to conference affiliation.

The ITA Regional Championships Program is one of the premier ITA programs, and participation in these events is a highlight for thousands of Division I varsity student-athletes. By increasing the number of Regions and further minimizing the area per Region, a larger percentage of institutions will be able to drive to these Regional Championship events, thus helping to reduce travel costs. And at the same time, since a fewer number of schools will comprise each Region, student-athletes from those participating programs will have more opportunities to participate in these prestigious events.

For more information about the ITA Regional Realignment, including a map and full listing of schools highlighting the realignment, visit www.itatennis.com.

UTEP women sign three

El Paso – On the heels of a record-setting 2009 dual-match season, UTEP head tennis coach Jamie Campbell showed she is not resting on her laurels by announcing that three quality players have signed national letters of intent to play for the Miners starting this fall. Alexandra Glebova, Austin Lavallii and Veronika Makashov will join the team for the 2009-10 season.

Lavallii (Mason High School, Mason, Mich.) and Makashov (Thornhill HS, Richmond Hill, Ontario) will enroll as true freshmen following stellar prep careers while Glebova will have two years of eligibility remaining after starring at Florida Community College at Jacksonville the past two seasons.

Glebova hails from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, but is no stranger to tennis in the United States after two strong seasons at FCCJ. She was the No. 9 player nationally in singles as a freshman, while also rating fifth in doubles. The ensuing season, Glebova checked in 12th in the country in singles. Her efforts assisted in FCCJ taking home fourth place at the national tournament in 2009, which came after a ninth-place outcome in 2008.

“Alex’s strength is her mental toughness,” Campbell said. “She will simply wear down her opponents mentally and physically. She was very successful playing No. 1 singles and No.1 doubles at the collegiate level in Jacksonville. This experience will significantly benefit our team.”

Lavallii aided the Bulldogs to four straight league championships. She was tabbed an all-state performer twice, while landing all-state honorable-mention accolades the other two years. Additionally, she was recognized with all-area distinction every season. A two-time MVP, she was the No. 1 singles on her squad each season, while also holding down the No. 1 spot in doubles as a senior.

“Austin is an aggressive baseliner whose strength is her quickness and power on the court,” Campbell said. “Her work ethic is impeccable and will push the other players. She will immediately impact our starting line-up.”

Makashov was a part of the York Region Championship Team at THS, which finished among the top of in the OFSAA (provincial rankings). She took home the crown at the York Championship, and won numerous three-star provincial tournaments. Included among those were four straight titles at the Rosedale Classic. Makashov sports a national rating of 17th in 18s and 18th in doubles.

“Veronica is another powerful baseliner who possesses all the skills to develop into a great college player,” Campbell said. “We believe Veronika will play in the “meat” of our starting lineup and will bring more depth and “punch” to the team.”

Grand Slam, Holiner to Israel, Roddick to OU and Thoughts on Gladwell

Disclaimer: If I do not make any sense, please ignore what I say. I have been away from my computer for a few days. I am completely exhausted from a weekend of working on the house non-stop in the 100 degree heat.

SUMMER GRAND SLAM

I was unable to head back to College Station Thursday or Friday for the Boys and Girls 18 finals, but heard the matches were again real good.

Lillie Kimbell beat Elizabeth Begley 6-2 6-4 for the title. Not much to report here, just as expected.

Ben Chen beat future teammate David Holiner, 6-3 7-6 (7), in another great match in the boys’ draw. Shane Vinsant beat Dane Webb 3-6 6-4 6-2 for third place. Chen had defeated Vinsant, 7-6 7-6 in the semifinals, while Holiner topped Webb, 6-4 7-5.

It was a pretty convincing tournament for both Chen and Holiner, who has been out of action for about six months. Holiner hopes to be given a wild card for Kalamazoo, since it appears his Texas rankings may not be high enough. He will miss the national opens, since he has been selected to be in Israel for the Maccabi Games.

RODDICK NAMED OU COACH

I know this has nothing to do with Texas, but as all Texas teams know, you need to follow what goes on north of the Red River. Add the fact that John Roddick has made San Antonio and Austin his home for the last decade and it is certainly important.

I find this move interesting because Roddick complained in a meeting with other coaches just last month that college wasn’t a place to develop kids because much the coaching is weak. He claimed a coach of his business partner, Grant Doyle, is never hired at the collegiate level.

We all know he has been an assistant in the past, but has been looked over when applying for other college head jobs.

I think he is a very good coach who has a proven track record with players. He also has the background and experience as a player. He is certainly qualified for the position.

I am just not convinced he can give 365 days a year to OU. He seems to like to hit the Grand Slams with his brother. I also spoke with a former student who thinks the world of his abilities and determination, but was shocked. This ex-student said that Roddick had said he would never coach in college, unless it was at Georgia.

That leads me to my next thought. I think he loves Georgia and is extremely fond of his college years in Athens. I think the UGA job might be the end-all for him. I also think that Georgia would never hire him without head coaching experience.

So why not go to that fabulous new facility in Norman? You can build a little something for yourself there and get some experience before you try to land the big Dawg job. I know Manny can be there as long as he wishes, but I am guessing he doesn’t want to coach more than 10 years max.

GLADWELL

If you haven’t read the article from last night on Zoo Tennis about Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, you should. I love his stuff. Gladwell is not only a great thinker, he is a huge sports fan. I have actually been working on a letter to him discussing how tennis relates to a theory put forth in a recent New Yorker article on underdogs. I will elaborate more on this during the week, but it essentially comes down to two ideas for me.

I am sure there was more to mention, but I just need to go to bed.

Roddick or Harmon to OU?, Huge matches at SGS, Pollock, Lukacs Fall

The USTA Texas Summer Grand Slam always has some great tennis, but today there were also some great rumors.

COACHING RUMORS

The biggest has to be that both Rodney Harmon and John Roddick are interested in the Oklahoma coaching job. The AD at Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione, is regarded as one of the best in the country and will certainly listen and look for the best person available.

Truthfully, I am not so surprised about the John Roddick mention, as he has lobbied for positions in the past. I actually heard him complain just recently that coaches like himself and Grant Doyle don’t get collegiate coaching jobs. He certainly has had results and I believe he loved his time in Athens, but I am not so sure you can be a college coach and just disappear across the globe to go follow your brother for weeks at a time.

The idea of Harmon heading north of the Red River is perplexing. Is Joe C throwing gobs of money around to get a big name coach to fill that new beautiful facility (never been there, but that’s what people say). I know he coached two years at Miami.

GREAT MATCHES—BOYS 18S

I watched every division play, but the matchups in the Boys 18 draw were outstanding.

Top-seeded Ben Chen (UT-signee) had his hands full with Tyler Brown (UTSA-signee). Brown came out aggressively and took the first set in a tiebreaker (8-6). Chen fought hard to stay in the match, getting a break and taking a 3-2 lead. Brown lost his concentration for a brief period, losing six-straight games, giving Chen the second set (6-2) and a 3-0 lead in the third.

With Chen serving at 40-love and seemingly about to put this thing away, he played a few loose points and gave Brown the opening he needed to get back. Brown fought back to break, then held serve to pull within 2-3, but his mind wasn’t completely there and Chen finished off the third, 6-2.

Both players played some good tennis, but Chen showed he could make the big last shot when he needed. I was real impressed with Brown and if he can keep his head together, he will be a solid player for the Roadrunners.

Chen will face Shane Vinsant in the semifinals. Vinsant and Daniel Whitehead had a brutal match. Whitehead was still suffering from complete heat exhaustion after his rough win over Alex Van Velzer. It was so bad that last night he apparently couldn’t keep any food down. That seemed to be key to today’s match.

Whitehead fought hard, while Vinsant struggled knowing that Whitehead was not in top physical form. Somehow Whitehead managed to scrape out the first set in a tiebreaker and got an early break in the second.

Unfortunately, his body wasn’t keeping up and he started suffering from cramps. When Whitehead lunged to hit a volley to hold serve to, taking a 5-3 lead in the second, the cramps came harder. He tanked the next game to save the energy to serve, but it was to no avail. He lost his serve at love, even getting a time violation at love-30 due to his cramps and needing to massage them out.

Vinsant easily took the next two games and the second set. During the break, Whitehead realized there was no way he could survive a third and retired.

On the other half of the draw, Dane Webb took care of second-seeded Bryan Welnutz (Penn State-signee), 76 63 in a routine match compared to the rest of the draw.

Webb will face David Holiner (UT-signee), who is playing his first tournament after a six month layoff with a back injury. Holiner edged Jose Martinez, 62 36 76, in a phenomenal match.

In the third set, both players held serve until 5-all when Martinez broke Holiner to take a 6-5 lead. As he went to his towel, Martinez’ calf began to cramp and a trainer was called. It took several minutes, but he received treatment and began to serve for the match. Holiner took advantage for the first time all set, winning the first three points. Martinez saved one break point at love-40, but was broken on the next.

Things took a turn in the breaker when Martinez shot out to a 3-0 lead. Holiner fought back, winning six-straight points to take a 6-3 lead. Martinez pulled to 4-6, but then double-faulted to end the match.

Martinez is a wonderful player and is supposedly only going to be a junior next year. I expect to hear his name often in the future.

GIRLS 18 SEMIS

I didn’t watch too much of the girls’ semifinals, as they were on the good courts, while the boys were down below on the IM courts. What I did see was fairly routine, as Lilly Kimbell got past Millie Nichols, 63 64 and Elizabeth Begley dispatched Megan Horter 63 61. Don’t you just love the word ‘dispatched’? I sound like some grizzled writer behind my typewriter.

Anyhow, these were pretty straight forward.

PRO CIRCUIT NEWS OF THE DAY

Ashley Weinhold lost to Dianne Hollands of New Zealand 62 62 in Brownsville. updated draw

Conor Pollock had a rough outing in Sacramento, falling to Nick Monroe, 64 60. Denes Lukacs also lost to Phillips Simmonds, 57 63 64. updated draws.

Pro Circuits and Texas’ Summer Grand Slam

PRO CIRCUITS

There just isn’t much to talk about. I have updated the pdfs for both Brownsville and Sacramento. None of the current players played, but Lester Cook did get into the second round with a three-set win. Ryan Harrison also won both his singles (in 3 sets) and doubles (in three sets with Venus). Cook also advanced in dubs. He is playing with former UVA Cavalier, Treat Huey.

Conor Pollock will face Nick Monroe “not before 11”, as the second match on tomorrow. Lukacs plays Simmonds “not before noon” as the third match on.

In Brownsville only a handful of singles matches were played as well. Ashley Weinhold did advance with Sacha Jones in doubles.

WOOT!

This site got a little mention on the College Tennis Examiner and Marcia Frost. It was great to meet her at the NCAAs in College Station. Thanks, Marcia. The article I link to above is on the USTA Summer Collegiate Team.

SUMMER GRAND SLAM

I head to College Station in the morning to try and catch a little of the USTA Texas’ Summer Grand Slam. The state’s top juniors are playing to secire their spots on the national endorement lists.

Just a couple of the great 18’s matches tomorrow are: Dane Webb vs Bryan Welnutz (Penn State signee), Daniel Whitehead (UT-signee) vs. Shane Vinsant, Ben Cen (UT) vs. Tyler Brown and David Holiner vs. Jose Martinez. Martinez upset Chase Curry and Holiner crushed Blake Davis, 6-0 6-2 (???).

On the girls’ side, the top features a surprise in Megan Horter vs. Elizabeth Begley. The other semifinal is a rematch of last year’s UIL Class 4A championship, aka the Millie and Lilly Show, Lilly Kimbell vs. Millie Nichols. Both won titles this year as Kimbell and her New braunfels team moved to 5A. Horter beat Samantha Adams, who had beaten top-seed Blair Shankle the round before.

Click here for the tournament homepage.

Pro Circuit News-Sactown, Brownsville; Website changes

Not a whole lot to report for the most except for the Pro Circuit news across the country. I hope I can keep up daily updates on this through the summer. I am working on a series of articles related to college tennis and some theories I have on how to fix the game or problems within the game. I will continue to research and write until I think they are worthy to publish. I am also writing a recap of the Texas and Texas A&M recruiting classes for TennisRecruiting.Net. Both of these classes are in the top-20 and should be investigated more in depth. I should be done by the end of the week and will let you know when it will run.

SACRAMENTO

Several players with ties to the Lone Star state are competing. Like I mentioned yesterday, Conor Pollock received a wild card into the main draw. He won’t play until Wednesday, it seems. Baylor’s Denes Lukacs qualied in with a 6-1 2-6 6-3 win over Matt Reid. Jordan Rux fell to Carlton Fiorentino, 6-4 6-2 on Sunday. Austin Krajicek made it to the qualifying round before falling to Jun-Chao Xu, 7-5 6-4 today. Former Longhorn and LSU player Michael Venus also qualied in. He beat Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe, 6-3 6-3.

Garanganga actually has ties to Texas, as his father got an engineering degree or something like that at Texas A&M. I saw him play in the U. S. Open Juniors last fall and think he has a ton of talent, he just needs to learn to manage it.

In the main draw, Pollock will face PC veteran Nick Monroe. That is a huge opportunity for Conor to test himself against someone who has been out there for a few years.

Also in the draw, via a wild card is Ryan Harrison, who plays Daniel Yoo of South Korea. I looked it up a few months back and want to say Yoo is the second or third highest ranked Korean in the world (I really find strange ways to amuse myself).

Lukacs finds an interesting first rounder in Phillip Simmonds. Speaking of someone who has been out there awhile, Phillip is now up to 387 in the world.

Former Aggie Lester Cook also is in the draw, as the third seed.

Here are the draws and OOP.

BROWNSVILLE

The draw in Brownsville seems real weak, with lots of opportunity for some younger players to grab some points.

Austin’s Ashley Weinhold is third seed in singles and the top seed in doubles with Sacha Jones. An interesting matchup in the first round will be Sofia Montemayor, who lives in Matamoros, but somehow has a ranking in Texas and had an article written about her today in the local paper against Brittany Augustine.

Here are the draws and OOP.

WEBSITE CHANGES

If the site looks different over the next few days, please don’t freak out. I am going to try and update the theme a bit and will be experimenting. If you particularly like (or hate) something, please let me know.

Pollock, Krajicek win Loomis Dubs; Women in Brownsville

Aggies Conor Pollock (www.conorpollock.net) and Austin Krajicek captured the doubles title at the Loomis $15k today in California. The pair defeated Alejandro Gonzalez and Eduardo Struvay of Columbia (the country, not the university), 6-2 7-6 (1).

“We played well”, was about all I got out of Conor in a text exchange after the match. I am sure he will fill us all in a day or two on his new blog. I spoke with him on Saturday and he was very excited about doing so well in his first pro tournament.

For their win, they get 25 doubles entry points and split $945.

Click here for a complete look at the draws

The next stop is Sacramento. I haven’t seen the results for today just yet, but will add them when I can.

On the women’s side, Brownsville began this weekend with a sparce draw. With the Summer Grand Slam (biggest jr. tournament in Texas) going on, no Texas juniors are playing. I will have updates on that later in the week. El Paso finished today. Austin’s Ashley Weinhold fell in the quarters to Kimberly Couts.

ConorPollock.net; Loomis Final

Just a quick note that I have started handling a new site, ConorPollock.net. It is a blog where Conor will be updating us on his progress as he attempts to make it on the professional tour. It is a work in progress and I look forward to working with Conor on this endevour.

He and TAMU teammateAustin Krajicek have not wasted any time. The Aggie pair has earned the finals of their first event this summer, the Loomis $15k. They will face Alejandro Gonzalez and Eduardo Struvay of Columbia Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Krajicek and Pollock defeated Todd Paul and Tim Smyczek, 6-1 6-4 in the semifinals. Krajicek reached the second round of the singles main draw before falling to the second seed.

The draws in Loomis and next week’s Sacramento are extremely tough. Pollock has a WC into Sacramento, while Krajicek got by old friend Jarmere Jenkins 7-6 7-6 in his first round of qualies. Baylor Bears, Denes Lukacs and Jordan Rux, also won their first round matches today.