Paul Kostin begins his eighth year as the head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University women’s tennis team in 2009 and is entering his 19th season overall at the university.
Kostin, who has built the Rams’ men’s tennis squad into one of the nation’s most prominent and successful programs over the course of his 17 seasons, immediately led the women’s team to new heights when he took over for the 2002 season. That year the Rams posted a 20-3 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history with a 4-3 upset over fourth-ranked Duke in the third round.
VCU was ranked as high as ninth nationally during the 2002 campaign and ended the year listed 17th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I team ratings, the program’s best-ever finish at the completion of a season.
The 2003 campaign brought even greater success for the Rams, as VCU completed the regular-season with a perfect 20-0 record, then won three more matches, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Colonial Athletic Association power William & Mary, to capture the first CAA championship in program history.
Despite a disappointing 4-3 loss to Kansas State in the second round of the 2003 NCAA tournament, Kostin’s Rams ended the year with an astounding 24-1 overall mark and a #15 national ranking by the ITA. VCU climbed to as high as eighth in the country during the course of the year and also established a new school record for wins in a single season.
In 2005, Kostin directed the Rams to a 17-7 mark that yielded a pair of All-Americans in Marianna Yuferova, who advanced to the NCAA Singles Tournament Quarterfinals, and Olga Borisova.
However, Kostin’s greatest work for the VCU women’s program came in 2006, when the Rams won their first 29 matches, setting a new school record, on the way to a NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16” berth and a No. 12 final national ranking. That season he directed the Black and Gold to its second CAA Championship in four seasons and also oversaw the individual success of 2006 All-American Tatsiana Uvarova, who reached the NCAA Singles Tournament quarterfinals. For his efforts, Kostin was selected as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) East Region Coach of the Year.
The rise of the VCU women’s tennis program over the last seven years coincides with the remarkable success Kostin has achieved during his coaching career.
He guided the Rams’ men’s squad to nine consecutive CAA titles from 1996-2004 and under his leadership VCU has earned 15 straight NCAA tournament berths, including an appearance in the national championship final during the 2000 campaign.
Prior to his arrival at VCU in 1990, Kostin served nine seasons as the men’s and women’s tennis head coach at his alma mater, Arkansas-Little Rock, where he led the women’s team to a string of dominance during the school’s affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Under his direction, the Trojan women won the 1984 and 1985 NAIA national championship tournament, which earned Kostin the organization’s National Coach of the Year award both seasons.
In 16 years as a women’s head coach, Kostin has amassed a 254-71 overall record, including an impressive 146-35 mark at VCU, and his Rams have only dropped six matches on their home court, the Thalhimer Tennis Center, since he took over the reigns of the program.
Kostin’s players have also gone on to a great deal of individual success under his guidance.
Former Ram standout Andrea Ondrisova was named an ITA singles All-American during the 2001-02 season, while VCU’s tandem of Silvia Urickova and Barbora Zahnova also attained All-America status after the pair reached the semifinals of the 2003 NCAA doubles championships. Additionally, Uvarova, Borisova and Yuferova have all taken home All-America honors. Borisova and Yuferova also reached No. 2 in the ITA Doubles Rankings in 2007 under Kostin’s tutelage, the highest in school history.
While at Arkansas Little-Rock, Kostin produced the NAIA singles national champion for three straight seasons (1984, 1985, 1986) and his doubles teams claimed four straight individual titles from 1984-87.
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Kostin received his undergraduate degree in physical education and psychology from Arkansas-Little Rock in 1978.