Bruce Berque is in his sixth season as head coach of the University of Michigan men’s tennis program. With five experienced letterwinners returning and the addition of two incoming freshmen that make up the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation, Berque has the Wolverines in prime position to make a run at their first Big Ten Conference title in 14 years and continue their rise to national prominence.
U-M will look to build on its strong finish to the 2008-09 season, which saw the Maize and Blue win eight of its final 11 matches, including a 4-3 upset of No. 11 Illinois. The late-season surge allowed the Wolverines to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championship, where they fell in a very competitive match to eventual runner-up Ohio State. Earlier in the year, Michigan claimed convincing victories over No. 25 California and Virginia Commonwealth to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship for the first time since 1989. The fall campaign was highlighted by Jason Jung and Mike Sroczynski’s doubles title at the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championships, which was a first for the U-M program.
Michigan enjoyed one of its most successful seasons ever in 2007-08, completing its second straight 20-win campaign (20-7) and advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years. The Wolverines won 16 of their first 19 dual matches, including victories over No. 16 Pepperdine and No. 17 Wake Forest, and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation. More importantly, U-M was selected to host an NCAA Regional Championship for the first time in program history. Michigan concluded the season with a No. 16 national ranking -- its highest final ranking since 1988. Matko Maravic (2005-08) was U-M’s first four-time All-Big Ten selection since 1994, while Jung claimed the program's 22nd Big Ten singles title in the fall.
The 2006-07 season proved to be a monumental year for the Michigan program. U-M finished the year with an overall record of 20-7 -- its first 20-win campaign since 1988. The Maize and Blue’s 8-2 mark in the Big Ten and No. 2 seed in the league tournament were both firsts since 1999. Michigan earned a 5-2 home victory over No. 12 Texas, which was the program’s first win over a top-25 opponent in nearly five years. The Wolverines went one step further, claiming a 5-2 home win over No. 8 Illinois to end the program’s 12-match losing skid to the Fighting Illini dating back to 1997. U-M capped off the year with 4-0 win over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Championship -- its first victory at the national tournament since 2000.
Michigan was once again well represented at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, as Maravic tallied the program’s first singles win since 1992 and teamed with Brian Hung (2004-07) for the pair’s second straight doubles appearance. The fall season proved to be just as successful for the Wolverine duo, with Maravic claiming the Big Ten Singles Championship title in November after teaming with Hung for a runner-up finish at the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Championships and a semifinal appearance at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships earlier in the year. For their efforts, the tandem was listed at No. 2 in the national doubles rankings in January.
The Maize and Blue completed the dual-match season listed No. 21 in the country -- its highest final ranking in 19 years. Hung and Maravic earned a No. 10 final national doubles ranking, giving the program its first ITA All-Americans since 1994.
The 2005-06 season saw Berque and his program reach a significant milestone, as Michigan secured its first NCAA Championship bid since 2002. The Wolverines, who finished at 13-12 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten, were also represented well at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Maravic was U-M’s first singles qualifier in six years, while Maravic and Hung recorded Michigan’s first NCAA doubles victory since 1986.
Berque made an immediate impact during his first season in Ann Arbor, leading the Wolverines to a 15-10 record and a third-place showing in the Big Ten at 7-3, which was U-M’s highest finish in the league standings since 1999. Hung reached the singles final at the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championships and teamed with Ryan Heller (2004-07) to reach the doubles semifinals at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships the following month. Maravic became the first U-M freshman since 1997 to be named to the All-Big Ten team at the conclusion of the dual-match season. He also earned a conference-record four Big Ten Athlete of the Week citations during the regular season.
Berque has stressed the importance of success in the classroom as well as on the court, with 14 Wolverines earning a combined 24 Academic All-Big Ten nominations in his first five seasons at the helm. Eleven of Berque’s student-athletes have also been named ITA Scholar-Athletes.
Michigan will once again face some of the toughest competition in the country this season, with the Wolverines set to face seven opponents that were listed in the top 25 of last year’s final ITA national rankings. In addition to the continuous upgrading of the competitive schedule, Berque continues to work hard to establish a network with alumni and the surrounding tennis community in Ann Arbor. Fan interest has drastically increased since his arrival, with U-M finishing among the top 10 schools in the nation for average attendance the past two seasons.
A native of Old Tappan, N.J., Berque was a member of the University of Illinois coaching staff for six seasons prior to his appointment at Michigan. After joining the Fighting Illini as a volunteer assistant coach in January of 1999, Berque served as the associate head coach under Craig Tiley for the next five years. During his tenure, Illinois captured four NCAA championships (one team, one singles and two doubles), two ITA National Team Indoor championships, six Big Ten regular-season titles, five league tournament titles and an NCAA-record 64 consecutive dual-match victories. Tiley and Berque brought Illinois its first-ever No. 1 ITA national ranking on February 27, 2002.
Following the 2002-03 campaign, which saw the Illini go undefeated at 32-0 and claim the NCAA and ITA National Team Indoor team titles, Berque was honored as the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year. He is also a two-time ITA Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year (2000, ‘03).
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Berque has worked as a personal coach for a number of ATP and WTA professionals, including Mark Merklein, who was ranked among the top 160 singles players in the world, and U.S. Open junior doubles champion David Martin. He was also a USA Player Development Coach from 1998-99, coaching players in national and international junior and professional events, including the Grand Slams. A USPTA and USPTR certified professional, Berque is a member of the USA Tennis High Performance Coaching program.
Berque graduated from Haverford College in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology.
THE BRUCE BERQUE FILE
Born: April 28, 1966
Hometown: Old Tappan, New Jersey
High School: Northern Valley Regional
College: Haverford College (Pa.), 1988
Bachelor's Degree: Sociology and Anthropology
Collegiate Coaching Experience: University of Michigan (Head Men's Coach), 2004-present. University of Illinois (Associate Head Men's Coach), 1999-2004. Ohio State University (Volunteer Assistant Men's Coach), 1997-98. University of Florida (Assistant Men's Coach), 1990-96. Haverford College (Assistant Women's Coach), 1988-90.
Collegiate Coaching Highlights
• Coached Michigan to NCAA Sweet 16 (2008)
• ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year (2003)
• ITA Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year (2000, '03)
• Coached Illinois' 2003 NCAA championship team and 2003-04 ITA National Team Indoor championship teams
• Coached two NCAA singles champions (1994, 2003) and three NCAA doubles champions (1993, 2000, '03)
• Coached Illinois to NCAA Final Four (2004)
• Coached four teams to NCAA Elite Eight finishes (1991, '99-2000, '02)
• Coached Illinois to six straight Big Ten Conference regular-season championships (1999-2004)
• Coached Illinois to five Big Ten Conference tournament championships (1999-2000, '02-04)
• Coached Illinois to an NCAA-record 64 consecutive dual-match wins
• Coached 15 players to 30 ITA All-America nominations
• Coached three Big Ten Conference singles champions