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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Berque Out at Michigan; Washington, Oregon Seeking New Women's Coaches; ITA Regional Winners Announced


The University of Michigan announced late Monday that Bruce Berque, the Wolverines' men's  coach for the past ten years,will not return for the 2014-15 season, and the school will be conducting a national search for a successor.

Berque was the the ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2012, and the Wolverines made the NCAA tournament for nine straight years under his leadership, including an Sweet 16 appearance in 2008.

Much like the University of Florida, however, which accepted Andy Jackson's resignation in 2012, the expectations at Michigan are high for all the athletic programs, and Berque was unable to break the stranglehold that Ohio State has had on the Big Ten conference, despite going 66-25 in the conference, and 159-104 overall.

The Buckeyes have consistently been the conference's top program for years now, and the current athletic director at Michigan, David Brandon, who started in 2010 and did not hire Berque, chose to look elsewhere for a coach to change that. An excellent recruiting class for this fall will be part of Berque's legacy, yet as always in situations like this, it is difficult for those student-athletes, who are committed to Michigan, but do not know now who their coach will be.

Berque, who was an assistant at the University of Illinois for six years prior to taking the top job at Michigan, told me he currently doesn't have any plans as far as future employment.

The next two weeks in Athens will be rife with speculation about possible candidates to replace Berque, but as was the case with Bryan Shelton replacing Jackson at Florida, the names that come immediately to mind may not be the person who ultimately takes over the program. 

Two other major conference positions that have opened up in the past week include the women's programs at the University of Washington and the University of Oregon.  Jill Hultquist is no longer coaching the Huskies, and Paul Reber has stepped down as Ducks head coach.  The Pepperdine women's head coaching position is also open, with the Waves announcing the retirement of Gualberto Escudero last month, after 37 years in Malibu.

The ITA today announced the Division I Regional Award winners, with the the National winners being named next Tuesday at the annual awards luncheon prior to the NCAA team finals.

13 comments:

Homie said...

Its great to see three former Georgia Bulldog players, Bo Hodge, Jamie Hunt and Drake Bernstein, earning awards as assistant coaches of the year in there respective regions. The more Manny Diaz influence in college tennis, the better.

Ivy Tennis said...

Surprised to see Howie Endelman of Columbia did not get it for the Northeast based on his contribution to their season which is still in play.

russ said...

Good luck to Bruce in the future. Enjoyed meeting and talking with him a few years back. Don't know how excellent the other four players are, but Cameron Norrie does have some impressive results. Does he know snow and cold though?

I also see the USTA has released their plans for the Lake Nona facility. I still don't get it. I really don't.

Speculation said...

You have to think West Nott will get one of those jobs should he choose to leave Southern California. Oregon and Washington both in the Pac-12- no brainer there. And Pepperdine in his backyard...I bet he gets one. Let the coaching carousel begin...im sure its just the beginning.

5.0 Player said...

Speculation- that is interesting speculation about West Nott, but even more interesting if you realize that he grew up in Michigan and used to live in Seattle.

Austin said...

Michigan was terrible before he got there. They are being a tad greedy, unless they truly think they can become elite.

steve said...

How was not eligible to receive the regional asst. Coach award this year as he won the award last season (the rule states an asst. Cannot win the award in two consecutive seasons). I don't really agree with the rule but it's there for a reason.

GMC H.F. said...

All the Best to Coach Berque.
Bruce recruited my son and we have all the Respect for Coach Berque. We wish him the Best.

dan - GA said...

ITF ranking of 10 coming into Michigan next year and the guy is getting fired? Mindblowing.

possibilities said...

For Michigan I would guess Steinberg would have a chance, as well as the UVA assistant coach. Im sure Tony Bresque from Wake would look into it as well. Maybe Merklin from Florida, after being the assistant for a couple years would have a shot. Michigan has a ton of advantages but also some disadvantages to becoming an elite program.

Speculation said...

To 5.0 player---interesting indeed. I'd bet heavily on a move to one of those three schools. We know Coach G at USC isn't going anywhere in the near future. And as much as Nott I'm sure loves it there, I'd "speculate" he wants a head job in very near future.

nails said...

@Ivy Tennis and Steve...
Howard will be up for National Assistant of the Year even though the rule prevented him from regional.

Mere Speculation said...

Mere speculation, but I believe Michigan will hire someone w/ previous head coaching experience.

They will look to someone who has a track record of success. Expect a large number of applicants.

However, if I were Michigan and wanted to make an immediate impact I would consider Todd Martin or Mal Washington.