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Monday, July 26, 2010Lipscomb University Athletic Director Philip Hutcheson has announced that Andrew Harris will become the new women’s tennis coach for the Bisons athletic program.
Harris also serves as the men’s tennis coach and as the director of the Lipscomb Racquet Club.
“I think that it is important to note that Andrew approached the University during the search process about this opportunity,” Hutcheson said. “While coaching here, he has had an inside view of both programs and the potential that lies within each of them. He has a vision and passion for what both programs can be, and during this search, he came to us with a plan to work with both to help make this vision a reality.
“We interviewed several candidates both locally and from places as far away as Texas and Maine by telephone and in person, and at the end of the process; we found that the right person for the job was one we already had. As one who has been able to see its strengths and weaknesses from the inside over the past few years, we felt like he has an understanding of what it takes for us to be successful on and off the court.”
Harris served two years as the associate head coach for men’s tennis. He also spent one season as a graduate assistant in 2006. Harris played both No. 1 and No. 2 singles for the Bisons during his tennis career. He was a second team All-Atlantic Sun selection for two seasons.
"I am very excited about this opportunity for the tennis programs,” Harris said. “Under this structure we will be able to create a system of continuity and stability over the coming years"
"With recruiting continuously improving for our men's program we are looking for the same type of success on the women's side. This structure will enable more focus on recruiting for our women's program to give a competitive edge in the years to come."
Hutcheson plans to hire the first assistant coach for the women’s program to assist Harris.
“Instead of having two graduate assistants as we have had in the past with the tennis programs we are in the process of hiring the programs first women's assistant coach,” Hutcheson said. “Similar to any NCAA Division I tennis program, his or her responsibilities will be facilitating practices, individual work, and on-court training as well as traveling.
“This position will be vital to the continuous development of the day to day operations of the women's program. Thanks to the growth in clinics, camps, leagues and lessons within the Lipscomb Racquet Club, we will be able to hire an assistant that can help with our women and help with the LRC as well.”
Harris and the women’s assistant coach will have a common goal of spending more one-on-one time with players on the court.
“One of the things that he and I have discussed is the need for both programs to have more face time with their coaches during practices and matches, and we feel this is the first step in that process,” Hutcheson said. “Down the road, we would hope to add a men’s assistant with a similar role as well, but it was Andrew’s suggestion that we start with an assistant for our women in order to give them a jump start with our plan.”
Harris served as head coach for the Bisons tennis team for the first time this past season. He has quickly gone to work on improving recruiting efforts.
“Coach Harris has done a tremendous job in his initial efforts to build a competitive men’s program,” Hutcheson said. “In fact, this coming year, based upon national and USTA rankings, we anticipate him bringing in the strongest recruiting class in Lipscomb men’s tennis history. He and I both anticipate that through similar efforts on behalf of our women’s program, he will be able to achieve similar results in continuing to improve the quality of the teams.
“Through his coaching and recruiting efforts, Coach Harris will continue to help us move forward competitively. But along with that, he has already helped to cultivate new interest in Lipscomb tennis through his work with our clinics, camps, leagues and lessons within the Lipscomb Racquet Club. We are experiencing an interest in Lipscomb tennis from people and places that we've never reached before and we feel that with his involvement with both the men's and women's programs that interest will continue to grow.”
Harris is a native of Atlanta, Ga., and is a graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School. He is married to the former Emily Ellis who played tennis for the Lady Bisons. Emily is director of campus recreation.
“Above all else, Coach Harris has kept the Christian character part of our program front and center throughout his efforts,” Hutcheson said. “He has proven that he can lead a program that is improving in all areas without sacrificing the core values that make it stand out from most all other Division One programs and we are confident that we will enjoy more of the same for years to come with him leading both programs.”
Harris became director of the Lipscomb Racquet Club in April of this year.
“Since the completion of the new tennis center and the racquet club, we will continue to be forward thinkers in the way we introduce the city of Nashville to our university and our tennis programs,” Harris said. “Our athletes will not just be tennis players but true ambassadors for the game of tennis and furthering the mission of the university."