|Last College:||10th Year|
Success is becoming commonplace for Cleveland State tennis coach Brian Etzkin. As he enters his 10th season with the men's tennis program, Etzkin is ready to lead the Vikings to their fifth straight Horizon League Championship and fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Last year, Etzkin led the Vikings to their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, after guiding the team to its fourth straight Horizon League Championship (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). Under Etzkin, CSU has posted 15 or more wins for the past five seasons, including back-to-back 20-win campaigns during 2009 and 2010.
Etzkin became the head coach at CSU in 2002-03, taking over a men's program that was in dire need of rebuilding. The change came almost overnight, as the Vikings won nine matches during Etzkin's first year, six more than the previous two years combined. In his time thus far, Etzkin has built a men's program that is one of the most consistent in the league. The team has finished third or better in six straight years and the four conference championships mark the first in program history.
The winningest coach in school history, Etzkin reached an impressive milestone during the 2008-09 season, recording his 100th career victory with the men's program. Entering the 2011-12 season, Etzkin has an overall record of 137-90 at the helm of the Vikings.
Thanks to his accolades, Etzkin is a three-time Horizon League Coach of the Year, earning the honor following the 2010, 2009 and 2007 seasons. In addition, he was named the 2009 ITA Midwest Regional Men's Coach of the Year.
Etzkin has mentored six all-league first team honorees, including four-time nominee Phil Orno (2007, 08, 09, 10) who was also named the Player of the Year as a sophomore. Two Vikings have earned Newcomer of the Year honors under Etzkin; Matt Kuelker last season and current assistant coach Jay Tee who won the award during 2003.
The Vikings are just as impressive off the court also, as Rob Fox, Jay Jones and Aris Spirtos were all named ITA Scholar-Athletes last year and the men's team has received ITA All-Academic honors twice, during 2009 and 2007.
Three Vikings have also been awarded the Horizon League Herb Foster Sportsmanship Award, including Fox who earned the honor last season. Steven Wipprecht (2009) and Brad Groleski (2006) also earned the accolade during their time at CSU.
Etzkin has also encouraged his players to become community leaders. Over the past 10 years three members of the men's tennis team have been involved with the Cleveland State Student-Athlete Advisory Council, including Wipprecht and Tee who each served as the council president. Wipprecht served in the role during the 2008-09 season, while Tee served as president during 2005-06. Groleski also served as the vice president during the 2006-07 season.
In addition, the Vikings have gotten involved in many community service projects over the years, including working at the Cleveland Food Bank and adopting a second grade class at Marion-Sterling Elementary school in downtown Cleveland. At the food bank, the student-athletes do anything from sort and package food to put together boxes that will be sent out to those in need. When the Vikings visit the elementary school, they assist students with their reading, comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Etzkin was born in Cleveland and raised in Wooster, but returned to Northeast Ohio after working as an assistant men's tennis coach at Michigan State. While with the Spartans, he assisted in every aspect of the program, including serving as recruiting coordinator.
He also worked as the assistant tennis professional at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in addition to being the Tennis Director and Head Pro at Walnut Hills Country Club. Prior to working with Michigan State, Etzkin spent two years as an assistant coach for the men's and women's teams at Western Illinois University from 1998-2000.
Etzkin also coached the 2002 Midwest Junior Davis Cup team to the national championship in Columbia, S.C. He is an active United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Certified Teaching Pro.
Etzkin played college tennis for four years at Southern-Illinois University-Carbondale, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. As a senior in 1998, he received GTE Academic All-American honors and was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference All-Academic selection.
He later returned to school, earning a master's degree in sport management from Western Illinois in 2000.