UT hires assistant Chris Woodruff as new men’s tennis coach

UT hires assistant Chris Woodruff as new men’s tennis coach

By Jimmy Hyams

Chris Woodruff, who has served as a Tennessee men’s tennis assistant or associate head coach for 15 years, has been hired as head coach, sources said.

Woodruff is the first head coach hired by new UT athletic director John Currie, who was hired Feb. 28.

Woodruff, 44, replaces Sam Winterbotham, who was fired last Thursday.

Woodruff has worked as interim head coach for the past week. A press conference announcing his promotion is expected to be held at 4 p.m.

Woodruff will get a four- or five-year contract. The financial arrangement is unknown.

Winterbotham had one year left on his contract that paid $181,000.

Woodruff, a Knoxville native, is the only Tennessee player to ever win an NCAA singles title (1993). After a two-year UT career, he turned pro and reached a high ranking of No. 29. He won two ATP events.

After a pro career cut short by a knee injury, Woodruff was hired in 2002 was as assistant to Chris Mahoney.

When Winterbotham was hired in 2006, Woodruff was promoted to associate head coach. He helped UT win back-to-back SEC championships in 2010-11 and the SEC Tournament. He also helped the Vols make the NCAA finals and quarterfinals.

During Woodruff’s tenure as an assistant, he helped UT produce three No. 1 ranked singles players and three top-ranked doubles teams. One doubles team, Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, won the 2014 NCAA title and the 2014 Knoxville Challenger, a pro event. Two other doubles teams and two singles players made the NCAA finals.

Tennessee had 22 All-Americans and 32 All-SEC players while Woodruff was on staff.

Woodruff is a member of the ITA and Greater Knoxville Sports halls of fame.

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