Starting his eighth season at The Citadel and seventh as head coach, Toby Simpson has the tennis program become a force to be reckoned with in the Southern Conference. Simpson continues to develop cadet-student-athletes into winning tennis players and winning teams. Under Simpson’s guidance, The Citadel has reached the quarterfinals (or further) in the Southern Conference Tournament four of the last seven seasons.
The Bulldogs finished their 2008 season in the Southern Conference Quarterfinals. The Citadel finished fourth in the SoCon and a 15-10 overall record.Daniel Dossetor, James Eason and All-SoCon freshman Yufo Sutantio were the top players in 2008. Simpson continued to build student-athletes as James Eason became the first tennis player at The Citadel to receive SoCon’s Dave Hart Graduate Scholarship.
The Bulldogs struggled in 2007 but James Eason and Danny Dossetor proved once again to be among the best players in the Southern Conference. The duo made school history by being the first nationally ranked doubles team, ranking as high as 20th. Dossetor became the first singles player ever nationally ranked in school history at 118th in the nation.
The Bulldogs finished sixth in the league in 2006. James Eason finished the year as the only player in the SoCon to go undefeated in conference singles play, earning All-SoCon Second Team honors. Eason and Daniel Dossetor paired up to bring home All-SoCon First team honors in doubles. Simpson’s teams excelled in the classroom as well as two Cadets- Eason and Nick Medica. They were named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team and Medica was named Academic All-American Second Team.
Prior to the 2006 season, the Bulldogs posted two fourth-place finishes in the league’s final rankings. During the 2003-04 campaign, the Cadets started with an impressive SoCon record of 6-0. In his five years at The Citadel, Simpson has taken the Bulldogs from 11th in the SoCon to fourth.
Along with the team’s success, Coach Simpson has had many team members gain individual honors on the courts as well. In 2004-05, he coached Danny Dossetor to the First Team All-Southern Conference team as well as receiving the SoCon Freshman of the Year Award. James Eason was also tabbed Second Team All-SoCon and Dossetor and Eason claimed First Team All-SoCon selection in doubles. In 2003-04, under Simpson, Matt Stubbs was a First Team All SoCon selection and John Williams was the recipient of the league’s Sportsmanship Award. Stubbs was also a First Team All So-Con pick in his sophomore campaign, Simpson’s first year at The Citadel. Williams was awarded The Citadel Brigadier Foundation’s Senior Athlete of the Year Award as the top senior cadet-student-athlete at The Citadel as voted by fellow seniors.
Simpson stresses classroom perfection from his team as well. In four of out seven seasons as head coach, tennis has led the men’s athletics in overall GPA. In 2002, 04’, 05’ and 08’, the tennis team achieved the honor as an NCAA/ITA All-America Team with an overall GPA of 3.2 or better, the best of 3.6 in 08’. Juniors Alberto Diaz and Frederic Petrilli were selected to the Southern Conference Spring Academic All-Conference team in 2008. Also in 2008, James Eason, Alberto Diaz, Frederic Petrilli and Yufo Sutantio qualified ITA Academic All-Americans.
Simpson has coached over 14 NCAA/ITA Academic All-Americans and has had 20 team members on the Southern Conference All-Academic Team and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
Simpson is no stranger to success at the collegiate level, on and off the court. As a player at the University of Southern Mississippi, he garnered many athletic and academic awards. Simpson was a three-time All-Conference USA selection while at USM and was a member of the first team in school history to reach the NCAA tournament. He concluded his senior year with a final NCAA singles ranking of No. 52 nationally, the highest in school history. During his senior campaign, Simpson posted wins over the No. 1 and No. 7 players in the NCAA, respectively.
Upon the completion of his collegiate career, Simpson played professionally for a summer before returning to his alma-mater to begin coaching. During this time, Simpson played club tennis in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as many futures and money tournaments throughout Europe. After returning from Europe, Simpson joined the coaching staff at USM as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons.
After completing his work on his master’s degree, Simpson became an assistant coach at Penn State for one season. While coaching for the Nittany Lions, Simpson helped guide players to two All-Big Ten selections as well as national rankings before coming to The Citadel.
In addition to collegiate coaching, Simpson has taught and worked with many current collegiate players and nationall-ranked juniors, and is certified at the Professional Level of the United States Tennis Professional Registry (USPTR). Simpson has served as a hitting partner for some of the best players in the world, such as Jennifer Capriatti, Venus and Serena Williams, Conchita Martinez and Justine Hennin-Hardenne at The Family Circle Cup held in Charleston for the past four years.
Simpson was selected to serve as a clinician as the NCAA Y.E.S. Clinic in May of 2003. As a player, Simpson won a USTA National Championship in 2003 in Las Vegas, Nev. He is very active in Charleston Tennis, South Carolina Tennis and has been selected to the USTA High Performance Coaching Program.
Simpson is married to the former Kelly Lasher of Weaverville, N.C. She is currently the Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator in The Citadel Department of Athletics. They have a first born son named Lasher LaRue Simpson.