July 3, 2012
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech hired Rodney Harmon Tuesday as the seventh head women’s tennis coach in school history.
Harmon brings 25 years of player development to the Yellow Jackets with prior experience in both junior and college tennis. Most recently he served as the director of tennis at the Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.
“We are very excited to announce Rodney Harmon as the head women’s tennis coach,” Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich said. “I am confident those who support Georgia Tech will agree Rodney is the ideal candidate for this position. Rodney joins us with a wealth of tennis knowledge, a commitment to academics and he is a family man with strong integrity. The future is exciting for Georgia Tech women’s tennis.”
Harmon was the men’s tennis head coach at the University of Miami from 1995 until 1997 where he brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in 1996, led by No. 1 recruit Michael Russell. Harmon was the 1996 and 1997 Big East Conference Coach of the Year during his time with the Hurricanes.
“I am extremely excited to join the Georgia Tech staff,” Harmon said. “Georgia Tech is an outstanding institution with its strong academic profile and rich athletic tradition. The Yellow Jackets have a history of great teams, especially the 2007 team which won the national title. My goal is to continue to build on the ground work Bryan Shelton built and for our team to excel both in the classroom and on the court.
“I want to thank Dan Radakovich and Theresa Wenzel for the opportunity to join Georgia Tech,” Harmon added. “This is one of the best jobs in the country. With the addition of the Ken Byers Tennis Complex and the support of the administration and the fans, we will continue to have a team to be proud of.”
The Ken Byers Tennis Complex will have six state-of-the-art indoor courts, replacing the three indoor courts in the old facility. The indoor facility will be located on 10th Street, will house men’s and women’s coaches’ offices, men’s and women’s locker rooms and a team lounge. Six competition courts will go in near Griffin Track and four practice courts will be constructed between the indoor facility and the competition courts.
Harmon left the Hurricanes to re-join the United States Tennis Association training center headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., where he advanced to director of men’s tennis. During his tenure at the USTA, Harmon served as the head coach of the U.S. men’s tennis team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Before joining Miami, Harmon spent four years as the USTA national coach where he coached future pros including Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington and Alex O’Brien. During his first stint with the USTA, Harmon served as the U.S. men’s tennis head coach at the 1993 World University Games in Buffalo, N.Y.
Harmon began his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Southern Methodist University where he graduated from with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast/Film in May, 1983. He was the 1980 NCAA Doubles champion at Tennessee with Mel Purcell and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. Harmon and Purcell were the 1980 ITA Doubles Team of the Year and Harmon won the SEC No. 2 singles title.
After transferring to SMU, Harmon won the 1982 and 1983 Southwest Conference No. 1 singles title. He was inducted into the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010.
While still a student-athlete at SMU, Harmon advanced to the quarterfinals at the 1982 U.S. Open with a win over 1980 Australian Open Champion Brian Teacher before falling to eventual champion Jimmy Connors. Following his successful collegiate career, Harmon played professionally where he reached a career-high ranking of No. 56 and made the third round at Wimbledon in 1983.
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.