Friday, May 25, 2012

Andy Jackson Resign as Men's Head Coach at University of Florida

Andy Jackson, who was head men's coach at Florida for 11 years, resigned today, according to this release from the Florida athletic department.

The word started circulating late Friday evening among the college coaches still in Athens, and those I spoke to acknowledged the domino effect of such a high-profile opening will be substantial.  Like all Florida athletics, the head coaching job there is considered one of the nation's best, and although there are several high level coaches who would not consider it, it would be a lot easier to name those; the list of those wishing to interview for the position is certainly a long one.

Jackson, who was hired by current Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, had a perennial top 10 program while he was at Florida, but has had no Final Four appearances since 2005, and no national titles. The athletic accomplishment bar is very high in Gainesville, and the success of the women's program, which has reached the NCAA finals the past three years and won the last two team championships, has raised that bar even higher where tennis is concerned.

On a personal note, I've interacted many times with Jackson both in college tournament situations and junior tournaments where he was recruiting and have always appreciated his candor and his obvious love of the game. I look forward to seeing him in future tennis travels.


Austin said...

With absolutely no knowledge my initial thought was that it's a force out. Let him resign instead of being fired. I dont know if this is true or not, but we all know about the transfer plague at Florida. To me Florida ranks right there with the top programs. With a coach who can keep and develop the local talent they are a Top 5 program year in and year out. Perfect weather, recruiting base, good academics, etc.

I wonder if we see Jackson pop up at a smaller school in the next couple years and try and do what he did at Miss State again.

Also, does anyone know if Missouri is going to have a mens program again? They would be the only SEC school without one. I would think the conference would require them to have one.

wild guess said...

John Roddick next coach at Florida????

College Tennis Fan said...

Wild Guess- Are you kidding me?!! In fact, I was just speculating as to whether Roddick will be fired from his present job at Oklahoma. His team was upset in the NCAA tournament on their home court 2 years in a row by Tulsa, a team right in the same state!

Also, his recruiting appears to be abysmal as his starting line-up is almost entirely composed of underacheiving foreign players. Can't he attract any top U.S. players besides Dane Webb?

Wild guess said...

Sorry. I thought they won the big 12 for the first time in a million years. Plus last name has a bit of cache. Not an endorsement but seems like a possibility. Look at the rankings ahead of no. 10 Oklahoma. Who would leave current position? Steinberg? Maybe. Tucker turned it down last time. What's your guess?

Austin said...

What are you talking about? Oklahoma tennis was non-existent three years ago until Roddick took over. Yes they have been upset two years in a row, but they were never even in that position prior to Roddick being coach.

more guesses said...

Totally agree...Roddick was my first thought also (as well as his assistant). And a list of others such as Billy Pate, Brad Dancer and maybe some USTA coaches?? I gather the line at Foley's door will be long.

russ said...

Roddick was my first thought as well after glancing at the ITA rankings. The only coach in the top ten who might possibly be interested would be Steinberg of Pepperdine, who would want to get out of socal and into a better recruiting position. But, he's been there ten years, won a championship there, and I would imagine the offer would have to be huge to entice him.

The guy I would look at would be USC's assistant, Husack. With three straight championships, Smith's recommendation, and (from what I've seen and heard from his on court coaching) good coaching skills with a good rapport with his players, I think he brings more to the table than many established head coaches at other schools.

Austin said...

Billy Pate cant recruit worth a darn at Alabama, he may not last there too much longer, much less get the Florida job.

Speaking of Alabama, Steinberg left there to take over at Pepperdine, dont know if he wants to move back to the SEC.

Roddick is the obvious choice, even though he grew up in Nebraska and Texas, plus played for Florida's biggest rival, UGA, but other than him here is a list of realistic names I came up with:

Vince Westbrook from Tulsa. He may actually be the top choice at Oklahoma if Roddick went to Florida.

Chris Woodruff from Tennessee. He was thought to be the lead candidate at UT a couple years ago, but was passed over and remained the top assistant there.

Bruce Berque of Michigan. Good recruiter to a tough place to get tennis players.

Bo Hodge from Oklahoma. He has been an assistant at Alabama and now at Oklahoma. He is 30yrs old, played #1 for UGA for two years, was on tour for awhile, hitting partner of Venus and could probably recruit a ton of talent to Florida. This would be a flyer pick, but could pay off big time. And he would only leave Florida if Diaz retired one day.

I could also see them hiring a current USTA coach. Jay Berger said he likes being a pro coach better than college, he used to coach at Miami, but Florida may be a job he couldnt pass up.

Mike Sell may also be someone. He played for UGA like Roddick, but would probably be a great recruiter.

tony said...

Billy Pate to Princeton, so you don't have to worry about him leaving for Florida. Who would've thought two high profile coaching jobs in the SEC would open up the same summer?

heard it thru the grape vine said...

john once said, "the only reason he would leave oklahoma, was if georgia would become available"

Austin said...

I heard that as well about Roddick, but you never know.

Wow, interesting about Pate. Maybe trying to outrun the mob. Just looked it up, in 10yrs at Alabama he has made two Sweet Sixteens, one with all of Steinbergs players, the other in 2007. Outside that Alabama has only won 1 NCAA tournament match, and that year they lost to #25 in a second round loss. They have missed the tournament the past two years, and another year during his term. Alabama should be better than that. A coach that can come in and recruit could make that a consistent Top 15-20 program. Now the battle is on with them and Florida to see who can get the coach they want. I vote for Chris Woodruff as the leading candidate for Alabama.

College Tennis Fan said...

I've heard mixed reports on Berque of Michigan. He should be given credit for dramatically turning the program around almost as soon as he got there. He is also good at getting some top recruits. However, the problem is that he often does not get enough or doesn't welcome enough recruits and so the team roster is often dangerously low with sometimes only 7 players total and so when one gets injured they really have to stretch to throw someone into the line-up. Also, several good players over the years have left the team with no explanation which probably also explains why the roster is often so noticeably small.

With regard to John Roddick perhaps he should get some credit for putting Oklhoma's program on the map. But I ask how much of that was due to name recognition and/or new support from the Athletic Director which might have been a condition for Roddick to accept their offer. I've seen many examples over the years where a tennis program is not supported by money, etc. until they hire a bigger name coach. Then that coach immediately turns the program around but that could be primarily due to a combination of new money for scholarships, facilities, etc. thatthe previous coach didn't have. Florida doesn't need a coach that can achieve this, they already have the money and the name recognition. They need someone who can execute at a program which is already well-funded and well known.