NMSU Women's Tennis Begins New Era
POSTED: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 4:48pm
UPDATED: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 4:54pm
The NM State women's tennis team has a familiar face taking over the reigns as head coach this fall.
Ivan Fernandez, an eight-year assistant under longtime coach Don Ball, will head the women's team next season and hopes to use what he learned from Ball to keep the program successful.
"Coach Ball was great, he took me under his wing," said Fernandez. "He taught me how to run a successful program and made me the coach that I am today."
Fernandez began his career at NM State in the 2000-01 season and returned in 2006 after a two-year absence. After his first three years with the Aggies from 2000-2003, Fernandez spent the 2003-04 season as a women's assistant coach and college instructor at Florida International in Miami, Fla.
In 2005, Fernandez moved on to become an assistant men's coach at East Tennessee State. That season Fernandez led the Buccaneers to a 13-0 conference record, 2005 Southern Conference Championship and an NCAA bid.
Since returning to NM State for the 2006 season, Fernandez has been in charge of recruiting and has brought an international flavor to the team. The women's team currently consists of three players from France and one each from the Netherlands, Brazil, England, Venezuela and Mexico.
"Having international players helps us stay competitive in the league," Fernandez said. "I'd love to have athletes from the U.S. and I will continue to work on that."
Some of Fernandez's coaching accomplishments at NM State include the 2002 squad's 17-6 record, which stands second all-time for most wins in a single-season and marks the fewest losses in a year in program history. The new head coach has also helped to extend the team's streak of consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories to 19 in a row after an 11-13 record last year.
In addition to team accolades, Fernandez's athletes have achieved numerous individual honors. The 2009 women's doubles team of Aleksa Costa and Sophia Marks became the first nationally ranked Aggie duo in school history while earning second team All-WAC honors. In 2010, Marks ended a spectacular career under the direction of Fernandez by collecting five career conference accolades - tied for second-most in NM State history. The Aggies tallied 11 All-WAC athletic honors and were recognized as All-WAC academic selections 27 times since Fernandez returned five years ago.
"I want to win the right way," said Fernandez of his coaching philosophy. "I want good student-athletes that excel on the tennis court and in life off of the court."
In addition to his coaching duties with NM State, Fernandez is a P1 Certified Tennis Professional with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). He is also Red Cross CPR and First Aid certified and has been a USRSA (United States Racquet Stringers Association) member since 2004. Fernandez earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Edwards in Austin, Texas, and currently lives in Las Cruces with his wife, Lausanne.