|Men's Tennis Head Coach
SEC Championships, top 10 national finishes and a winning percentage of .637 are the result of Ian Duvenhage's brilliant 13-year stewardship of the University of Florida men's tennis program from 1988-2001. Duvenhage carefully constructed a program which utilized the university's natural strengths of a strong academic reputation, first-class facilities and warm weather and stood amongst the elite both in the prestigious Southeastern Conference and the nation. Through hard work and dedication, Duvenhage made the Gators a fiercely competitive team that no one wants to see on their upcoming schedule.
As Duvenhage entered his 13th and final season at the helm, the look of a champion is how the University of Florida men's tennis program appeared on the national scene. Florida was just one of three schools in the nation to finish each year from 1991-2000 in the Top 16 of the final Rolex Collegiate rankings after finishing the 2000 season ranked No. 2 by the ITA. The Gators made their first final four in school history in 2000 as UF reached the NCAA semifinals in its 10th consecutive trip to the postseason. UF also made its 10th straight finish in the upper division of the Southeastern Conference as it claimed a share of the league's regular season title and won the conference tournament for the school's sixth SEC Championship. For Duvenhage, the ability to focus solely on tennis afforded to him by UF was crucial to the team's success.
"I've always thought that the best thing about coaching at the University of Florida is the whole environment, and it starts with the facility and the support you get from everybody who is on staff," according to Duvenhage.
There was as little secret to Florida's success as there is a secret of the success itself in the collegiate tennis realm. Florida was one of only seven schools to earn berths in each of the 11 NCAA Tournaments from 1991-2001 and UF's eight appearances at the NCAA Championship finals site during that span tied for the third best total in the nation. In 1994, Duvenhage led Florida to its first outright SEC title in 25 years and the Gators again won the championship of the country's most challenging conference in 2000.
He tutored NCAA champions in 1993, 1994 and 1999, and seven Gator players earned 20 All-America honors over the last nine years of his tenure alone. He coached nine Gators to 25 All-SEC honors and 31 times a UF player has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Consecutive SEC Players of the Year (Jeff Morrison - 1999 and Justin O'Neal - 2000) were Florida Gators, playing under Duvenhage's tutelage.
The 2000 campaign saw the Gators set a school record for most wins as they posted a 28-4 record en route to the NCAA semifinals. Boasting two Top 10 players in Morrison and O'Neal, UF won 20 matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. O'Neal was named the SEC Player of the Year and was cited as the National Senior Player of the Year by the ITA. Morrison was named both the National Player of the Month in April for singles but also in doubles with Nathan Overholser.
In 1999 Duvenhage coached sophomore Morrison to the NCAA singles title, UF's third NCAA crown since 1993. Morrison, O'Neal and Overholser all earned All-America recognition, giving UF a school-record five All-America honors, a sum which the trio would equal in 2000. The three, including SEC Player of the Year Morrison, also received All-SEC accolades and Florida had a school-record five players named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. In 1997 O'Neal become the first freshman in school history to garner All-America recognition. O'Neal accomplished the amazing feat while playing number one singles for the majority of the season. O'Neal, who was also named the Region III Rookie of the Year and second-team All-SEC, set the school record for most singles wins by a freshman with 28, which was broken by Morrison in 1998.
The 1994 Gators captured the SEC's triple crown as regular season, tournament and overall champions. The Gators roared to a 13-1 mark in conference play and tied for ninth place at the NCAA Championships. Pacing the Florida attack was All-American Mark Merklein, who completed a sensational career by defeating top-ranked Wayne Black and winning the NCAA singles title. Merklein is one of three NCAA champions to benefit from Duvenhage's coaching expertise. In 1993 David Blair teamed with Merklein to claim the NCAA doubles championship and Morrison claimed last year's singles title.
Duvenhage's resume as a Gator includes eight top-five finishes in the SEC, the nation's premier tennis conference, and SEC Coach-of-the-Year honors in 1993, 1994 and 2000. Duvenhage joined Florida's Bill Potter and Georgia's Dan Magill as the only coaches in SEC history to win the honor in back-to-back seasons with his first two citations. He was also named the Region III Coach of the Year and was one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year in both 1999 and 2000.
"We are very pleased to have someone like Ian Duvenhage as a part of the Gator coaching staff," Associate Athletic Director for Men's Spring Sports and Compliance Jamie McCloskey said. "Like most coaches he is an intense competitor who expects nothing but the best from himself and his athletes. But what really makes Ian unique is his attitude about athletes as people. He wants them to be quality individuals on and off the court."
In 1989, his first season as the Gator mentor, the South African native took Florida to a 14-11 finish. This is especially significant for a squad that had finished 3-20 the season before. The next season things continued to improve for Duvenhage and the Gators as Florida finished the year 17-9.
There is nothing coincidental about the success Duvenhage has brought to the Gator tennis program. As a player and as a coach, success has followed him everywhere he has gone. Before arriving in Gainesville, Duvenhage was the head women's coach at the University of Miami from 1982-88. In his seven years as the head coach, he took the Hurricanes to the NCAA tournament each season while compiling an impressive 131-44 record for a .749 winning percentage. The Hurricanes placed in the top five nationally in four of those seasons, including a runner-up finish in 1985. The next season, Duvenhage guided Miami to a third-place finish and for his efforts he was honored as Wilson Intercollegiate "Coach of the Year." He coached eight All-Americans who earned a total of 19 All-America honors.
Equally impressive is his players success at the academic level. Florida was one of only 11 schools to attain ITA All-Academic team status for the 1998-99 season. The Gators were one of only two schools in the nation to achieve this academic achievement in addition to being ranked in the final ITA top 10 rankings. In his 11 seasons at Florida, Duvenhage has had 20 players named 23 times to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, including a school-record five honorees in 1999. Before he came to Florida, the Gators had only earned six Academic All-SEC honors. Also, one of his players at Miami, Jami Yonekura, was an Academic All-American as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, which is the highest and most selective honorary a Liberal Arts and Sciences student can achieve.
During the summer of 1999, Duvenhage served as a coach for the USTA Collegiate Tennis Team. Duvenhage also served as a personal coach to numerous professional players. Duvenhage's pupils include, men's pros John Ross, Shaun Stafford and Christo Steyn, who was ranked 39th in the world in 1986, along with 1986 NCAA doubles champions Lise Gregory and Ronnie Reis, who have both gone on to professional careers under Duvenhage's guidance. In 1986, Gregory and Reis finished the season 29-0. Gregory has been ranked in the world's top 20 in doubles play, and Reis has cracked the top 100 in singles. As a player, Duvenhage was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Miami where he graduated in 1980 with a B.A. degree in finance and later added an M.B.A. in 1983. During his four-year career, he compiled a 52-17 record, which included a 20-2 slate as a freshman. He made the NCAA tournament as a junior.
During his short time on tour, he won the USTA Doubles Circuit. He earned a top-300 world ranking in singles play, and a top-200 ranking in doubles before he concluded his competitive career.
The Florida coach has also been a winner with local charities. Along with women's head coach Andy Brandi, Duvenhage plays a key role in the Children's Miracle Network Pro-Am, which benefits pediatric programs at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. The tournament has raised more than $28,000. For his work in initiating the Pro-Am Duvenhage was awarded the 1990 Volvo Tennis Coaches Community Award for Region III men's coaches.
Duvenhage has also conquered some obstacles off the tennis court. Duvenhage, who is an avid runner, has completed six marathons over the last few years, including the San Francisco, Philadelphia and Disney (twice) marathons. It was in perhaps this aspect of Duvenhage's profile that we saw in him the dedication, persistence and competitive fire he so highly values in a recruit.
"I look for people with sound mechanics, who compete well," says Duvenhage of his ideal Gator. "You look for something that just intangibly jumps at you, gives you the feeling that this is the type of player who will function well in our program. Oftentimes with me in the past, that has been a visible passion for what they are doing. That frequently has been a telling factor."
Name: Ian Duvenhage
Date of Birth: January 10, 1959
Hometown: Kuruman, South Africa
Began at Florida: August 1, 1988
College: University of Miami, 1980 (B.B.A. Finance) 1983 (M.B.A)
Coaching Record: 221-126 (.637) at Florida, 352-170 (.674) overall
Playing Experience: Four-year letterman for Miami playing No. 1 in 1979; Played in the NCAA Singles Championships during junior year; Possessed world rankings in 300's in singles and 200's in doubles; USTA doubles circuit winner in 1983.
Coaching Experience: Head Men's Coach, Florida, 1989-2001; Head Women's Coach, Miami, 1982-88; Head Tennis Professional, Innes Arden Golf Club, Old Greenwich, Conn., June-August 1984-86; Assistant Tennis Professional, Tokeneke Beach Club, Darien, Conn., June-August 1980-82.
Coaching Honors: 1986 Wilson Intercollegiate Coach of the Year, 1991 Co-Region 3 ITCA Wilson/Coach of the Year, 1993 SEC Coach of the Year, 1994 SEC Coach of the Year, 1999 Region 3 Coach of the Year, 2000 SEC Coach of the Year, 2000 Region 3 Coach of the Year.
|Duvenhage Year-By-Year at Florida|
|Year||Overall||SEC||Final Rank||NCAA Finish||SEC Finish||All-Am. Honors||All-SEC Honors|