It was late October five years ago when I began touring colleges, trying to find which campus of brick facade and maple trees was the right place for me. If you’re a high school student hoping to play college tennis, now may be the time that you’re looking for your own maple tree-studded campus. Below, MyTennisLessons has listed some of the best schools for college tennis at the Division I, II and III levels, so you’ll have an easier time comparing stats as you make the difficult choice that it is finding the school and tennis program right for you.
The Vanderbilt University tennis courts are home to a 20th ranked men’s team and 11th ranked women’s team.
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Men’s ITA Ranking: 6
Women’s ITA Ranking: 1
Every year the past 15 years, the men’s tennis team at Emory has advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA National Championships, claiming the title three of those years and finishing with a final national ranking in the top-5 all but two years. Coach John Browning has led three players to win national championships in singles and in seven seasons holds a record of 297-74. Browning was named ITA Coach of the Year for his region four times and he and his staff were named Coaching Staff of the Year for their conference eight times.
Head Women’s Coach Amy Bryant, also in her 15th season at Emory, led her team to the finals of the NCAA National Championships nine times, claiming the title five of those years. Four of those titles were won consecutively, making Emory the first Division III team ever to do so. Bryant coached a doubles team to win four consecutive NCAA titles and led three players to a combined five singles championship titles. One of those titleholders includes the first African-American woman to win an NCAA National Singles Championship in any division.
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Men’s ITA Ranking: 7
Women’s ITA Ranking: 4
In the past 10 years, the Johns Hopkins men’s team has captured the conference title nine times and advanced the the National Championship quarterfinals twice. The program has produced a total of 33 All-Americans and an ITA National Rookie of the Year. The women’s team had its most successful season to date last year, placing fourth at the National Championship and capturing its eighth conference title.
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Men’s ITA Ranking: 17
Women’s ITA Ranking: 12
Both men’s and women’s teams are coached by Jay Tee, now in his third season at Chicago. The women’s team reached the NCAA tournament quarterfinals two years ago and the round of 16 last year. The women’s program has produced a doubles team who won the NCAA individual tournament twice and the men’s team has nine All-Americans in its record book.
The Emory University men’s tennis team celebrates their NCAA National Championship title in 2012.
Barry University, Miami, FL
Men’s ITA Ranking: 3
Women’s ITA Ranking: 1
In its 21 straight NCAA tournament appearances, the men’s tennis team at Barry won national championships in 2010 and 2013 and was runner-up five times. The program boasts 40 All-Americans and is led by coach George Samuel, who was named National Coach of the Year twice and conference Coach of the Year 14 times.
Under two-time National Head Coach of the year Avi Kigel and two-time National Assistant Coach of the Year Maria Lopez, the women’s team won national championships in 2011 and 2014. The program’s accolades include 23 NCAA tournament appearances, 40 All-Americans and five straight conference titles.
Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, HI
Men’s ITA Ranking: 2
Women’s ITA Ranking: 6
In his two seasons with the HPU Sharks, Head Coach Hendrik Bode has led the men’s team to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals twice and was named ITA West Region Coach of the Year in as many seasons. Heading into her third season, head women’s coach Lauren Conching has won the region Coach of the Year award two times, and led the team to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last year.
Rollins College, Orlando, FL
Men’s ITA Ranking: 13
Women’s ITA Ranking: 9
Under coach Ron Bohrnstrecht the men’s tennis team has made nine appearances at the NCAA National Championships and once advanced to the tournament semifinals. The women’s team made its 21st appearance at the championships last year, with two players earning national singles rankings of no. 18 and no. 36, respectively.
Ari Davis, former Rollins College player and current assistant coach for the men’s team, is also an instructor at MyTennisLessons.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Men’s ITA Ranking: 1
Women’s ITA Ranking: 15
In five of the past six seasons, the USC men’s team has captured the NCAA National Championship, which has been won by the school a record number of 21 times. In 2013, a USC men’s player won the singles tournament for the second year in a row, while Head Coach Peter Smith was named ITA National Coach of the Year. In his 20 seasons as the head coach of the women’s team, Richard Gallien has led the Women of Troy to seven NCAA quarterfinal appearances and 18 top-20 rankings, including 10 top-10 rankings.
University of Texas, Austin, TX
Men’s ITA Ranking: 8
Women’s ITA Ranking: 22
In his 20 seasons as the coach of the UT men’s team, Michael Center has led the Longhorns to three final four appearances in the national tournament and four conference titles as well as coached 16 All-Americans. Under Interim Head Coach, then assistant coach, Darija Klaic, the women’s team won the conference championship in 2012 and 2013. Klaic has also helped the team earn three top-10 finishes in her eight seasons at Texas.
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Men’s ITA Ranking: 20
Women’s ITA Ranking: 11
The Vanderbilt men’s team made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2013, with their best finish being runner-up in 2003. Head Coach Ian Duvenhage, in his 10th season at Vandy, has coached several men to earn All-SEC honors and in his own career in college coaching, spanning 26 years, was named SEC Coach of the Year three times. Similar to the men, the women’s team made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last year, with their best finish also being runner-up in 2003. Since becoming head coach in 1994, two-time SEC Coach of the Year Geoff McDonald transformed the Commodores from a team that had never ranked higher than no. 28, to a squad that finished made top-20 finishes in 16 of his 20 seasons.
USC Associate Head Coach West Nott is also an instructor at MyTennisLessons.