Shelton takes UF men's tennis job


Published: Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.

In his determination to elevate the Florida men’s tennis team to the elite level the Gator women’s program is on, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley has hired highly successful Georgia Tech women’s coach Bryan Shelton.

According to UF’s website, Shelton was highly recommended by UF women’s coach Roland Thornqvist, who just coached the Gator women to a second consecutive national championship.

UF announced Shelton’s hiring Friday.

Shelton, 46, is a former successful touring pro who took over a downtrodden Tech program in 1999 and turned it into one of the best in the nation, winning a national championship in 2007.

Shelton, who succeeds Andy Jackson, takes over a UF men’s program that has been successful, but has failed to reach elite status. The Gators have not advanced beyond the NCAA Round of 16 in eight of the last 10 seasons.

"One of my goals is to have Florida as one of the nation's top programs year in and year out," Shelton said. "Not something that is fleeting, but is lasting. We certainly have the resources. We have everything we need to be successful. There is no limit to what we can accomplish. Look at what Roland (Thornqvist) has done with the women's program here — that is certainly a model to follow and learn from."

His own model at Georgia Tech is also one to possibly follow. The women’s tennis team’s national title is the first and only in any sport in Tech history. When Shelton took over at his alma mater (where he was an All-American), the women’s team had never qualified for the NCAA Championships.

"We're extremely excited to have Bryan take over as the next head coach of our men's tennis program," said Foley. "His track record at Georgia Tech — which includes a national championship — and his success as a professional player speaks for itself.

“It is clear that Bryan has a proven plan in recruiting and the development of his players both on and off the court. He will make Florida men's tennis relevant in the national picture for years to come, and we welcome him and his family into the Gator Nation."

Shelton said he’s eager to get right to work.

"I'm excited about the future of Florida Gator tennis. I know that it is bright," he said. "I'm anxious to get down there and start recruiting for the University of Florida. It is in good shape now and there is a great nucleus of players on this team. There is plenty of talent coming back next season so I'm not only excited about what we are going to do in the future, but what we are going to do in the immediate future."

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