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Patrick Sullivan was named the University of Houston head women's tennis coach on June 6, Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades announced. Sullivan becomes the eighth head coach in program history after spending two successful seasons as head coach at Stephen F. Austin.
Sullivan took over the reins at Stephen F. Austin following a 9-11 season and led the Ladyjacks to the two greatest seasons in school history, compiling an overall record of 43-10 (.811).
"Patrick is one of the nation's top young talents who is well respected in the college tennis industry, and we feel he'll be an excellent fit within the Houston Athletics family," Rhoades said. "He has demonstrated the ability to take programs to new heights and is a dynamic recruiter who truly cares about his student-athletes. We are very excited to have Patrick, Caroline and Vera join our family."
The Ladyjacks set school records for both wins and winning percentage in Sullivan's inaugural season in 2010-11, going 20-5 overall while earning their first-ever team national ranking, first top-10 regional finish, first nationally ranked player and highest individual regional ranking.
Sullivan followed up his successful first season by signing the top-ranked recruiting class of 2011 among mid-major programs and the 23rd-highest class nationally, marking the first time that a Southland Conference recruiting class had been ranked among the nation's top 25.
Sullivan's youthful 2012 squad, which featured four freshmen in the lineup, captured the school's first-ever Southland Conference regular-season and tournament titles en route to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
SFA finished the regular season tied for fourth nationally with 23 wins, setting a new program record for victories. Along the way, SFA rattled off a program-best 14-match win streak and had six players earn All-Southland Conference honors, including four First-Team selections. In addition to his players, Sullivan was tabbed the SLC Coach of the Year.
The `Jacks were rewarded for their challenging 2012 slate, which saw wins over programs from the BIG EAST, Big 12, Conference USA, Pac 12, and SEC, as SFA climbed as high as No. 35 in the national rankings before closing out the regular season ranked 45th.
Not only did the `Jacks find success on the court under Sullivan, they also excelled in the classroom, earning their second consecutive ITA All-Academic team honors for GPAs of 3.5 or higher following the 2010-11 season.
Sullivan came to SFA after two separate stints at the University of Arkansas. He served as graduate assistant before moving to assistant coach for the Razorbacks from 2004-07 and returned as assistant coach for the 2009-10 campaign.
While at Arkansas, Sullivan coached the Razorback's most decorated women's tennis player ever, Aurelija Miseviciute, who won an astounding 126 singles matches in her career, earned two All-America and three All-SEC honors, was a two-time ITA National Indoor Champion and was the nation's No. 1 ranked player in back-to-back years.
In between his time in Fayetteville, Ark., Sullivan served as assistant coach at SMU from 2007-09 as the program reached unprecedented heights.
Sullivan helped guide the Mustangs to an all-time best 28-3 record in 2008-09 and their first top-25 finish in 20 years. In his two years at SMU, three of Sullivan's recruits garnered national rankings in singles and four different doubles pairs appeared in the top-50 including Marta Lesniak, who would eventually reach as high as No. 2 nationally in singles and become an All-American during her SMU career.
At both SMU and Arkansas, Sullivan played an instrumental role in turning the programs from unranked to the top 25 in three years or less.
Well known for his recruiting prowess, 18 players signed under Sullivan since 2004 have reached a national ranking in either singles or doubles.
Sullivan, a Houston native, earned his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and also obtained a law degree while serving as graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas.
Sullivan and his wife Caroline recently welcomed their daughter, Vera, into the family.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT PATRICK SULLIVAN
"Patrick is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the country. I've been able to watch his career progress and it's amazing how it's all come together. He possesses great integrity and this is an excellent hire for Houston."
"I am very happy for Patrick and his new position and I know he will be a great addition. Patrick always shared his knowledge and outstanding positive attitude and support with us. I enjoyed his personality and respected his ability to build relationships with players while motivating them to always perform and compete at the highest level. I wish Patrick and the University of Houston tennis team all the best."
"Houston has made a fantastic hire with Patrick Sullivan to lead the women's tennis program. What he accomplished at Stephen F Austin was remarkable and here in Fayetteville we are not at all surprised by his rapid success there. Patrick has a great ability to identify talent and more importantly to develop it. I expect Houston to become an NCAA Tournament team very soon."
"I have known Patrick for over 10 years and can tell you from experience working with him that he is one of the best coaches and recruiters in college tennis. His experience building nationally ranked teams as both an assistant and head coach will bring an immediate impact to the UH Tennis program. I believe his strong moral values, ability to analyze talent and desire to succeed will elevate UH tennis back into the national spotlight very soon."