Wednesday June 8, 2011Roland Thornqvist Named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year
University of Florida women’s tennis coach Roland Thornqvist has been named the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Coach of the Year, the ITA announced Wednesday.
It is the first such honor in the 15-year coaching career of Thornqvist, who guided the young Gators to the 2011 NCAA Team Championship in May with a competition roster that featured one junior, three sophomores and three freshmen.
Thornqvist has compiled a 324-80 record during his career, including a 249-30 ledger in 10 seasons at Florida, where he also led the team to the 2003 national championship.
During the 2010-11 season, Thornqvist’s squad amassed a 31-1 overall record and ended the year riding a 21-match winning streak, a run tied for the 10th longest in program history, highlighted by Florida’s stunning 4-3 victory against Stanford in the NCAA title match that snapped the Cardinal NCAA-record 184-consecutive home-match win streak.
“Roland truly cares about each and every one of us and our development both as tennis players as well as people,” junior captain Joanna Mather said. “He works us very hard but makes sure that we all enjoy it as well. He has made my love for working hard and for the game grow over the years and I could not imagine being anywhere but the University of Florida with Roland!”
“Ro is amazing,” said sophomore All-American Lauren Embree, who provided the clinching heroics in the 2011 NCAA Title victory. “If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been as successful as I've been in the past two years. He cares about all nine of us like we’re his own and I'm so lucky to have him as my coach!”
“Roland is not only a wonderful tennis coach, but an amazing example of class and integrity,” sophomore All-American Allie Will said. “He leads by example with strength, dedication and true devotion to his family, team and the entire Gator nation. No one is more deserving of this award and I feel blessed and honored to have him as my coach, mentor and friend!”
Florida won the 2011 Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships, while finishing as runner-up at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, during which Thornqvist collected his 300th career coaching victory with a 4-1 decision against Miami.
Thornqvist has guided the Gators to seven SEC regular-season and tournament titles in his 10 years, while taking Florida to the NCAA Final four times and finishing as a semifinalist three other years.
Georgia Tech’s Kenny Thorne was the recipient of the men’s national coaching award.