Lenoir-Rhyne head men's and women's tennis coach Tom Rees has announced his resignation to become an assistant women's tennis coach at a Division I Power 5 program. Rees led both programs at L-R to record-breaking win totals and national rankings during the 2018-19 season in just his third year at the helm.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to be the head tennis coach at Lenoir-Rhyne for the past three years," said Rees. "I will be forever grateful to our players and support staff for all their hard work in building the programs into what they are now; it's been an incredible journey. Lenoir-Rhyne and the Hickory community will always have a special place in my heart and I know the future is very bright for the Bears."
Both the men's and women's tennis programs finished in the top four in the conference standings for the first time in history and each ranked inside the top 40 in the nation. The men's program finished tied for second and ranked 21st in the nation.
Rees led the men to a historic upset of No. 5 Wingate, their first win over a team ranked in the top 10 in program history. Both the men and women's teams also advanced to the South Atlantic Conference Tournament semifinals, which notched another important milestone for the programs. Each team recorded a GPA of 3.58 or higher and Paul Lenz won the SAC Elite 20 award.
Before Rees took over, the programs totaled 12 wins during the 2015-16 season as compared to the 36 combined wins this past year.
"Tom has done an unbelievable job developing the tennis programs into conference contenders," said Athletic Director Kim Pate. "I knew Tom would do great things at L-R and it was only a matter of time before a Division I opportunity came his way. We are excited for him and extend our appreciation for all he has done for the programs, the department and providing our student-athletes a great experience. He elevated our tennis programs to new levels during his three years and had some memorable victories along the way. His student-athletes always competed with tremendous class, character and passion while also performing at a high level in the classroom."
Matt Frost will assume the interim head coach role after serving as an assistant coach under Rees during the Bears' standout season. Frost played at Drake University and was the hitting partner/travel coach for world No. 1s Simona Halep and Novak Djokovic. He traveled and coached with multiple International Tennis Federation juniors, played on the ITF Professional Tour and was a nationally-ranked NCAA DI singles and doubles player in his time on the court. He also coached one year as a full-time assistant at Drake University following his collegiate playing time.