Thursday, March 30, 2017

Boland, longtime Virginia coach, takes USTA post

   Assuming Collin Altamirano of Sacramento returns for his senior year at two-time defending NCAA champion Virginia in the fall, he will play for a new coach.
   Brian Boland, who built the Cavaliers into the nation's top men's collegiate program, announced on Wednesday that he will leave after this season to become the USTA head of men's player development.
   Boland will oversee all training and coaching of male pro, collegiate and junior players by USTA player development and manage all USTA men's national coaches. He replaces Jay Berger, who has served in the position for the last nine years and will remain with the USTA through June.
   "Brian brings a unique skill set to player development, a combination of management and coaching expertise, which enabled him to build a championships culture at the University of Virginia," said Martin Blackman, the USTA's general manager of player development and a former Stanford star. "He's long been an innovative leader in the world of college tennis and athletics and is the right person at the right time -- a person who can build on the great foundation that has been laid by Jay Berger and our men's coaches and take us to the next level."
   Boland faces a big challenge. Although the future looks bright for the United States with nine men age 21 or younger in the top 250, no American man has won a Grand Slam singles title since Andy Roddick in 2003. With the retirement of Robby Ginepri in 2015, no active U.S. man has reached a major semifinal. And the United States won the last of its record 32 Davis Cup titles 10 years ago.
   Boland has amassed a 436-57 (.884) record in 16 seasons at Virginia with three NCAA team titles in the last four seasons. He has been named the ITA National Coach of the Year twice (2008 and 2016) and the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year 10 times. He has produced three NCAA singles and three doubles champions and 42 All-Americans.
   Under Boland, Virginia won 140 consecutive ACC matches over a decade. It's the longest streak in conference history in any sport.
   "For the past 16 years, my family and I have considered it a privilege and a blessing to call Charlottesville our home and the University of Virginia men's tennis program our life," Boland said. "From day one, we believed in the university, and the university believed in us. I will forever be indebted to our athletics director, Craig Littlepage, for taking a chance and granting me the opportunity to lead this program in 2001 at the age of 29. I am also appreciative of every administrator, assistant coach, student-athlete, staff member, donor and fan whose unwavering support and commitment allowed our program to be successful. For this, my family and I will always be truly grateful.
   "After much consideration and many conversations over a long period of time with my wife Becky, I have decided to resign at the end of this season and accept the role of head of men's tennis for USTA player development at the newly constructed USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. I consider this next step in my career to be the absolute highest honor and the ultimate responsibility that can be bestowed upon any tennis coach in the United States. I plan on doing everything in my power, together with the entire USTA and the private sector, to make sure American men's tennis regains its position as the global leader on the ATP Tour, in the Davis Cup and in the Olympics. Lastly, with the recent move of my parents to Florida, where several other of our family members currently reside, this decision gradually developed into the right one for not only my career, but most importantly for my family as well."
   Altamirano, who won the 2013 USTA national 18-and-under title, has split time with senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski at No. 1 singles for the Cavaliers this season.
   Virginia will conduct a national search for Boland's successor. Littlepage has not specified a timetable for filling the position.

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