June 8, 2012
ATLANTA – After 13 years as head coach of the Georgia Tech women’s tennis program, Bryan Shelton announced Friday that he is leaving Georgia Tech to accept the position of head men’s tennis coach at the University of Florida.
“While we are sad to lose one of the finest collegiate tennis coaches in the nation, we understand that the opportunity to coach a men’s program at an institution such as the University of Florida was just too much for Bryan and his family to overlook. As a Georgia Tech graduate and former player we will support Bryan and wish him only the best in this new endeavor. We will forever be grateful to him for his years of service, his dedication to Georgia Tech and, of course, for bringing us our first team NCAA Championship in 2007,” said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich.
A national search for Shelton’s replacement will begin immediately.
“While filling Bryan’s shoes will not be an easy task, our women’s tennis position will be very attractive on the national landscape. The January (2013) completion of the Ken Byers Tennis Complex, I believe, makes ours one of the elite coaching jobs in America,” added Radakovich.
The Ken Byers Tennis Complex will be the new home of Georgia Tech’s men’s and women’s tennis programs. The facility will house coaches’ offices, locker rooms, a team lounge and feature six indoor courts and 10 outdoor courts. The Yellow Jackets 2012 signing class was recently ranked No. 1 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am leaving Georgia Tech, a place that has been home to me and my family for many years,” Shelton said. “It is a place that has been a huge part of me and I have always had tremendous support from the Georgia Tech family. These have been 13 of the best years of my life and I owe Georgia Tech an incredible amount. Kenny Thorne is my best friend and it has been very special to work alongside him. With the student-athletes, administration and coaches here, I know Georgia Tech is moving in the right direction and will remain strong. I was very blessed to lead Georgia Tech, it is a great institution and a place I have tremendous respect for. I will miss Georgia Tech and I look forward to watching and cheering for the Jackets, especially the student-athletes I have had the chance to work with.
“I want to say thank you to the Georgia Tech family for embracing me and my family, and for the opportunity to coach at my alma mater,” Shelton added.
During his tenure as head coach, Shelton amassed a 229-109 overall record and an 83-43 mark in ACC matches, and he was named the 2007 USTA/ITA National Coach of the Year. His 2007 Yellow Jacket team won the first NCAA title in school history and Tech won ITA National Indoor Team Championships in 2007 and 2008. All 13 NCAA Tournament appearances have come under Shelton and the Yellow Jackets have advanced to at least the round of 16 seven times.
Shelton coached 12 ITA All-Americans, two ITA National Players of the Year (Kristi Miller and Irina Falconi) and the 2008 NCAA Singles Champion (Amanda McDowell). His teams were equally successful in ACC play, winning four straight ACC regular season titles from 2005-2008 and four ACC Tournament titles (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). Shelton coached 23 All-ACC selections, two ACC Players of the Year (Kristi Miller and Irina Falconi) and two ACC Rookies of the Year (Kelly Anderson and Kristi Miller). Shelton was selected as ACC Coach of the Year in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
This season, the Yellow Jackets finished with a 16-12 overall record and were sixth in the ACC with a 6-5 record. Tech upset No. 9 Miami in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament before falling to No. 8 North Carolina in the semifinals. The Yellow Jackets added an NCAA Tournament upset at No. 8 Alabama to earn a trip to the Sweet 16 before falling to No. 9 Cal. Senior Jillian O’Neill earned a top-16 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship and finished the year ranked No. 12 to earn All-America honors. O’Neill and sophomore Alex Anghelescu earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Doubles Championship and finished the year ranked No. 23.
Shelton’s teams were successful in the classroom as well. This year’s squad boasted a 3.72 team GPA. Nine Yellow Jackets earned Academic All-America or All-District honors and 30 student-athletes earned 61 ACC Honor Roll selections.
Shelton is a 1988 graduate of Georgia Tech and was a teammate of current Yellow Jacket men’s head coach Kenny Thorne. As a player, Shelton helped the Yellow Jackets to a 70-38 overall record and a 20-7 mark in ACC matches. As a senior, he helped lead Tech to a school-record 26 wins. The Huntsville, Ala., native was the 1985 ACC Champion at No. 1 singles and earned All-ACC honors in each of his four seasons as a player. As a senior, he garnered All-America accolades and he currently ranks third on Tech’s all-time singles wins list with 101. Shelton was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.
Following his collegiate career, Shelton won his first tour title at the Hall of Fame Championships in 1991, becoming the first African-American to win an ATP event since Arthur Ashe in 1978. He repeated as the singles champion at Newport in 1992 and also claimed a pair of doubles titles, winning the 1994 Mexican Open with Francisco Montana and the 1997 Australian Hardcourt Championship with Patrick Rafter. In 1993, Shelton was a finalist in the Mixed Doubles at the French Open. A six-time participant at Wimbledon, Shelton defeated second-seeded Michael Stich in the first round of the tournament in 1994 en route to a berth in the Round of 16.
Shelton climbed as high as 55th in the ATP singles rankings and also played in seven U.S. Opens, six Australian Opens and four French Opens while posting victories against the likes of Andre Agassi, Thomas Muster, Richard Krajicek and Todd Martin. After retiring from the tour, Shelton coached MaliVai Washington, a 1996 Wimbledon finalist, until being named a USTA National Coach. With the USTA, Shelton assisted with the development of some of the top juniors in the Southeast, covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Fans are encouraged to follow Georgia Tech women’s tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, and like the Yellow Jackets on Facebook, GTWomensTennis, for an inside look at the program.
— RamblinWreck.com —