University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione announced today the hiring of John Roddick as OU's new head men's tennis coach.
"It is rare to find someone with a background as impressive and varied as the one that John brings to Oklahoma," Castiglione said. "He has been a fixture in the national junior program, has experience in two successful Division I programs, has coached the game at the highest level in the world and was an accomplished player in his own right.
"We are impressed that John not only has the ability to recruit good players to our program, but also a reputation for player development. It takes both of those qualities to build a strong program and we believe in John's ability to build a high caliber program at OU."
Roddick is a former professional tennis player and coach. Most recently he was director of Roddick Total Tennis, a high-performance boarding academy in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, which he operated from 2002-09.
Also during that time, from 2006-08, he coached his brother, Andy, a former No. 1-ranked player in the world, on the ATP Tour. In 2006 and again in 2008, John was the Team Captain for the United States' World Team Cup squad.
"There are a lot of positives at Oklahoma and I am excited about this opportunity," Roddick said. "Winning is the culture there and I have a sense that our vision for the program is one and the same. I am committed to developing a strong program that also stresses excellent academic performance."
Recent improvements at the tennis facilities including the Headington Family Tennis Center and the Gregg Wadley Tennis pavilion provide OU with $9.2 million in new or recently built facilities.
"They've made a commitment on the facility side of the tennis program that is amazing. I won't have to spend a lot of time convincing recruits that we're worth a look. It's a huge leg up."
Roddick's Division I experience came as an assistant coach at Florida State for the 1999-00 school year and then at his alma mater, Georgia, from 2000-02. Georgia dominated college tennis during that time and won the 2001 NCAA team title. The Bulldogs also reached the 2002 NCAA Team Final.
He said balance will be the focus of his recruiting efforts.
"Tennis is such an international sport and we're going to have some international players, but what I really want to have is a healthy mix of international and American players," he said. "That approach is good for a tennis program because it introduces different styles to the team, and that will only make us stronger."
Born in Omaha, Neb., Roddick was a world-class player. He was a four-time All American at Georgia from 1995-1999 and was named UGA Athlete of the Year in 1998. Also at Georgia, he was a three-time SEC All-Academic selection.
A top U.S. junior, he was a member of the 1993 and 1994 National Teams. He was ranked as high as No. 6 internationally in singles and No. 3 internationally in doubles.
Roddick's academy was a hot bed for top talent. Marquee players at the academy included Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt, now at Roddick's alma mater Georgia, Kellen Damico at Texas and Uladzimir Ignatic of Belarus, who was the 2007 French Open Junior champ.
As a coach, Roddick has worked with top touring pros including his brother, Mardy Fish and Wayne Odesnik.
"I like to keep players calm and clear in their thinking," Roddick said of his coaching style. "Every day is an opportunity to go out and work on something, and I am very big on the fundamentals. When players are disciplined in those areas their confidence grows because they're not making silly mistakes any more.
"I think the players will be excited to train that way. The one thing you can control is the process of getting better. After that, the results take care of themselves as long as the players compete as hard as they can and that's something that will be emphasized in our program."
Roddick expects to be in Norman this weekend and will begin his duties immediately.
|| What They're Saying About John Roddick
Mardy Fish, professional tennis player:
"Coach Roddick is a great fit for the University of Oklahoma. John was instrumental in getting my pro career started and I feel he will have a lot to offer his student-athletes."
Andy Roddick, professional tennis player:
"John not only is my brother but also has helped guide me throughout my career. His enthusiasm for collegiate sports is unparalleled and he has a wealth of knowledge to share with these kids."
Manuel Diaz, Georgia Head Men's Tennis Coach:
"This is a tremendous hire for Oklahoma because John is a terrific coach. He's a winner. John has won at every level from his days as a player in the juniors, his All-America career at Georgia, then as a professional and now as a coach. He was a valuable assistant on our 2001 NCAA National Championship team. John will be a great addition for Oklahoma. I expect their program will make great strides under his leadership as he is extremely dedicated and a tireless worker."
David Mullins, OU Women's Tennis Coach:
"John has a lot of expertise at the pro game, college level and with junior development that will ensure he makes an immediate impact at the University of Oklahoma. I'm thrilled to begin working with John on a daily basis."