Stephen F. Austin director of athletics Robert Hill announced that Patrick Sullivan has been named the new head coach of the women’s tennis program. Sullivan replaces Bret Arrant who retired after 17 seasons following the 2009-10 season.
“Patrick brings a wealth of experience to the position and has a proven record of signing good players,” SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill said. “He has accepted my challenge of improving our tennis program and I fully expect him to succeed based on what he was able to do at SMU and Arkansas.”
Sullivan is assuming head coaching duties for the first time in his career, coming to SFA after stints as an assistant at SMU and most recently at Arkansas.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the SFA family and proud to be the head tennis coach,” Sullivan said. “We have challenges in front of us, but we also have great opportunities with everything SFA has to offer – a great university, outstanding community, supportive administration, and thanks to the generous contributions of the Schlief family, a terrific new tennis facility that is one of the best in Texas. Everything is in place to help us take SFA tennis to new heights and we are up to the challenge.”
Sullivan spent two separate tours at Arkansas, most recently in 2009-10 where he helped lead the Razorbacks to an 18-10 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Hogs knocked off No. 42 Oklahoma in the first round before falling to top-seeded Texas one round later.
Sullivan had previously served as a graduate assistant coach with head coach Michael Hegarty and the Razorbacks from 2004-06 before taking over as the assistant coach during the 2006-07 season. In his first season, the Razorbacks achieved their first .500 record since the 1990s and broke their 49-match Southeastern Conference losing streak with a win at Auburn.
In his second season, Sullivan helped guide Arkansas to an NCAA Tournament berth, on the heels of a five-match conference win streak, the Razorbacks’ longest since 1997. During his tenure at Arkansas, four of Sullivan’s players achieved national rankings, including two players in the top 25. In 2007, Sullivan’s final season, the Razorbacks fielded the ITA Central Region’s top-ranked singles player and two of the region’s top-five doubles teams.
Before his latest season at Arkansas, Sullivan was in Dallas serving as assistant women’s tennis coach at SMU for two seasons, assisting in all aspects for the Mustangs’ program and helping the team to a school all-time best 28-3 record in 2008-09 and their first top-25 finish in 20 years. In his two years at SMU, three of Sullivan’s recruits garnered national rankings in singles and four different doubles pairs appeared in the top-50. Sullivan’s teams dominated on the court as well as in the classroom, earning nine all-conference athletic and academic awards, conference newcomer of the year, freshman of the year, and player of the year awards, as well as earning the highest GPA of any team on campus in back-to-back years.
Prior to Arkansas, Sullivan worked as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s tennis team at his alma mater, Texas A&M University. His coaching responsibilities at Texas A&M included working with the strength and conditioning coaches and supervising the team’s summer conditioning program. During his time in College Station, Sullivan was also the head coach of the boys and girls tennis teams at the Brazos Christian School.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sullivan recently relocated to Nacogdoches with his wife, Caroline.