Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hansen Leaves Santa Cruz for Middlebury; Williams, Sock, Domijan Advance at Aptos; Witten Ponders Retirement; WTA Mercury Opportunity Winners

Late last week Division III Middlebury College announced that Bob Hansen, who coached at UC-Santa Cruz for 30 years, had accepted their men's head coaching position. Hansen led the Santa Cruz men to seven NCAA titles, the most recent in 2009, and it is no exaggeration to say he is one of the legends of college tennis. Middlebury was coached this past season by Rob Barr, who was serving as the interim coach after last year'sdeparture of Dave Schwartz for Brown University. I have no idea if the current crisis in California high education funding has anything to do with his departure, but there's no question the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which is already extremely strong as evident by 2011 NCAA champion Amherst's recent success, just got even more competitive. Although it isn't mentioned in the Middlebury release, according to the Tennis Recruiting team page, Hansen will be joined by three-time NCAA D III Individual champion at Santa Cruz Matt Seeberger, who will serve as his assistant coach.

Rhyne Williams, the 2011 NCAA finalist from Tennessee, advanced to the second round of the $100,000 Aptos Challenger yesterday as a lucky loser, beating Robby Ginepri 6-2, 6-4. In this article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Williams says he is "leaning toward going pro."

Virginia's Alex Domijan, a qualifier, also advanced to the second round, beating Toshihide Matsui of Japan 6-3, 6-4. Jack Sock was the only wild card to reach the second round, as he beat qualifier Andre Dome 6-2, 7-6(5). Second seed Donald Young, who was a wild card, and Steve Johnson and Bradley Klahn, the other two wild cards, dropped their first round matches Tuesday.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

I tweeted this link yesterday, but for those of you who don't follow me on twitter, I wanted to pass along this lengthy piece on former University of Kentucky star Jesse Witten. Witten, who is getting married in the spring, is contemplating retirement from professional tennis.

And the WTA Mercury Insurance Open in La Costa, which begins at the end of the month, has held two Opportunity Tournaments, with one more beginning today, to award wild cards into the qualifying there. Stanford's Stacey Tan, an NCAA finalist this year, won the first one, and USC recruit Zoe Scandalis captured the second event this past weekend.


Former D3 player said...

As a former D3 player, this is an incredible announcement for Middlebury. During my playing career, I played against Hansen's teams on a number of occasions and he is both a great on-court coach and an incredible player developer. Hansen created national championship teams from nothing; he brought in one and two star players--kids with little experience and talent--and turned them into all-americans. Dave Schwarz created the Middlebury program--the tennis team was a joke before he came there--and Bob Hansen will certainly continue to help this program dominate D3 tennis. My prediction is 2 to 3 ncaa championships for Middlebury in the next 10 years