Simon Earnshaw begins his fourteenth year as head coach of the highly successful Armstrong Atlantic State University tennis programs.
The Armstrong men's and women's tennis teams pulled off the double national championship at the 2012 NCAA Division II Spring Sports Festival in Louisville, Ky., with both teams completing undefeated seasons en route to the titles. The Armstrong men went 30-0, knocking off No. 2-ranked West Florida, 5-0, in the national championship match, giving the Pirates their third NCAA DII title in the last five seasons. The Armstrong women went 29-0, defeating No. 1 BYU-Hawaii, 5-2, in the national championship match for the fourth title for the Pirates in the last five seasons.
Since the 2003 season, Earnshaw has directed the Armstrong women's tennis team to an unprecedented 267-8 record, including a current unbeaten streak of 111 consecutive home matches. The Pirates are also unbeaten in Peach Belt play, regular season and tournament, since 2003. The Armstrong men are also on a similarly impressive run since 2006, compiling a 174-8 record in those seasons as well as stringing together 62 consecutive home wins. During this time, the Armstrong tennis program has won eight NCAA Division II national titles and has had five undefeated seasons, including last year's 59-0 combined record.
The Armstrong women's tennis program completed a "three-peat" in 2010, knocking off BYU-Hawai'i for a third straight NCAA Division II National Championship and a sixth overall title. The Lady Pirates went an undefeated 33-0, setting a new school record for victories and going wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the nation.
Earnshaw directed the Pirate tennis teams to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in 2009, becoming just the second program in tennis history to accomplish that feat. Each team responded from an in-season loss to capture the crown as the Pirate men overcame a 5-4 deficit to conference rival GCSU to defeat Barry, 5-4, in the national championship match, completing a 30-1 season. The women, meanwhile, suffered a 5-4 loss at Lynn University - a match they led 4-0 - during the regular season but came back to avenge that loss with a 5-2 win over Lynn in the national championship, capping a 28-1 season.
In 2008, Earnshaw led both the men's and women's tennis teams to NCAA Division II National Championships in the same season, the first time that has happened in NCAA since 2003. The Pirate men completed an undefeated season, going 31-0 and defeating Barry, 5-0, for the school's first NCAA National Championship in a men's sport. The Lady Pirates, meanwhile, went 32-1 en route to the program's fourth national title, defeating Lynn, 5-2, in the final.
The dual victory culminated a feat of two different approaches with his tennis programs. With the women's team, simply maintaining the status quo as one of the premier DII programs in the nation was not enough as Earnshaw had led the Lady Pirates to two NCAA titles in four seasons, adding to the program's first national championships back in the mid-1990s.
The men, meanwhile, steadily improved each season since Earnshaw took over the program. Each of the prior three seasons to the back-to-back run, the Pirates have been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, until breaking through in 2008 with the program's first ever No. 1 national ranking and eventually the National Championship win. Armstrong also won 61 of its last 62 matches during the two-year stretch.
The Armstrong women's tennis team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the last eight seasons under Earnshaw. The Lady Pirates have won 238 of 246 matches played in this stretch, including the four National Championships in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Armstrong has also not lost a home match in Savannah since 2003, a span of 101 consecutive matches.
In seven out of the last 10 years, the Lady Pirates have featured the top-ranked singles player in the nation - freshman Sona Novakova went undefeated with a perfect 23-0 dual match singles record in her debut season with Armstrong in 2009 . She followed in the footsteps of Iuliia Stupak (2007, 2008), Luisa Cowper (2006) and Zsofia Golopencza (2002, 2003, 2004). Novakova became the third Armstrong player to win the ITA "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis singles crown in the fall of 2009 as well while Muller-Wehlau and Krtickova teamed to capture not only the ITA "Super Bowl" doubles title in 2011 but also captured the consolation bracket title in the ITA National Indoor Championships.
Earnshaw succeeded Andreas Koth as the Pirates' head coach in 1999-2000 and has led the Armstrong women to 10 PBC Championships and 11 NCAA Quarterfinal appearances with six national championship match appearances. His women's players have earned 67 ITA All-America honors in twelve seasons and he coached the 2004 NCAA/ITA Division II Senior of the Year, Zsofi Golopencza, 2006 NCAA/ITA Division II Senior of the Year, Luisa Cowper and the 2008 NCAA/ITA Division II Senior of the Year Iuliia Stupak. He also coached the 2000 NCAA/ITA Division II Rookie of the Year in Stephanie Kovacic, the 2001 NCAA/ITA Division II Rookie of the Year [Golopencza], the 2009 Rookie of the Year in Novakova and the 2011 Rookie of the Year in Barbora Krtickova. In addition, four players have been named ITA's National "Player to Watch" - Luisa Cowper in 2004, Dziyana Nazaruk in 2005, Iuliia Stupak in 2006 and Alida Muller-Wehlau in 2010.
He has won three ITA National Women's Coach of the Year awards, in 2009, 2006 and 2004, and Earnshaw has six times been named the ITA Mid-Atlantic Region Women's Coach of the Year and nine times earned the Peach Belt Conference Women's Tennis Coach of the Year award.
As head coach of the men's squad, Earnshaw has directed the Pirates to the last seven PBC Championships in 2005-2011, as well as winning the title in 2000, and made twelve trips to the NCAA Championships. He was named the ITA Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Coach of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009, as well as earning PBC Men's Coach of the Year honors in four of the last five seasons and his men's players have earned 25 ITA All-America honors in 12 seasons, including Davor Zink, the 2006 ITA National "Player To Watch," and Bonet, the 2009 Rookie of the Year.
Both Pirate tennis teams have also maintained a high level of excellence in the classroom, earning ITA All-Academic Team honors from 2004 to 2009, along with numerous ITA Scholar-Athlete awards. The 2006 women's team had an unprecedented all eight members earn ITA Scholar-Athlete honors. Both the Armstrong men's and women's tennis programs have also advanced to the NCAA Championships for 17 straight years.
Earnshaw served as the Pirates' assistant coach in 1998-99 and was previously an assistant coach at Georgia College & State University for two seasons.
At GC&SU, Earnshaw helped coach the women's team to consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship appearances. Both the men's and women's teams were ranked in the Top 15 during his two seasons in Milledgeville and seven players earned All-America status.
Earnshaw competed for GC&SU from 1992-1996 and helped the Bobcats to four seasons in the Top 10 of the ITA Division II National Rankings. He received his Bachelor's of Science degree in chemistry in 1996 and completed his Master's of Education in health and physical education in 1998.
In his native England, Simon is a Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) qualified coach at the national level. He also worked extensively for the Nick Bolletieri Sport Academy during the summer months of 1993 to 1998.
Simon and his wife, Nichole, have two daughters, Abigail (11) and Ella (9), and two sons, Luke (8) and Lleyton (3). The family resides in Savannah.