New UF tennis coach has high expectations

Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 14, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.

New Florida men's tennis coach Bryan Shelton has a clear vision for the Gator program.

“Number one, to be one of those programs that year-in and year-out are one of the top three or four programs in the country,” he said. “How we go about doing that is going to be very important in establishing the program and making sure we've got the standards in place from a recruiting standpoint, from a developmental standpoint, from a character standpoint — making sure that we do things the right way and don't cut corners.

“There's a high level of expectation here, and I have a high level of expectation for what I'd like to accomplish while I'm here. I'm here because I believe we can get it done and we can certainly meet — and exceed — some of the goals that we've set for ourselves.”

Shelton, 46, replaced Andy Jackson, who resigned May 25 following his 11th season with the Gators.

A former Georgia Tech All-American who enjoyed a nine-year pro career, Shelton came to UF following a highly successful, 13-year stint as head coach of the Georgia Tech women's team.

Prior to his arrival in 2000, the Yellow Jackets had never reached the NCAA Tournament. Under Shelton, they posted a collective 227-108 record, made the NCAA Tournament every year and won the 2007 NCAA title.

His newest challenge is to take a UF men's program that reached the NCAA Round of 16 in 10 of Jackson's 11 seasons — but has failed to go any farther in eight of the last 10 — to the next level.

Assistant coach Amer Delic and volunteer assistant Scott Perelman round out Shelton's staff.

The Gators are making their fall home debut this weekend by hosting the 2012 Bedford Cup at Scott Linder Stadium, featuring players from 11 state schools in individual singles and doubles competitions. Admission is free.

“Knowing that there's opportunity to move this program forward, that we can make an impact in doing some things that have never been done here before, is certainly attractive,” Shelton said. “That's a motivator every single day to get better.”

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