AASU Head Coach Simon Earnshaw Earns 500th Collegiate Coaching Victory
Courtesy: Armstrong Atlantic Athletics
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Armstrong Atlantic State head men's and women's tennis coach Simon Earnshaw reached his milestone 500th career head coaching victory today as the top-ranked Pirate men defeated No. 21-ranked Drury, 9-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Bacon Park.
The victory kept the Pirates (17-0) undefeated on the 2010 season, while Drury fell to 4-2 on its young campaign. Between the men's and women's teams, which Earnshaw has coached since the 2000 season, the AASU head coach has now a combined 500-100 record in 600 career matches with the Pirates.
AASU notched three doubles victories to earn a quick 3-0 lead after doubles play. The fourth-ranked duo of Rafael Array and Mikk Irdoja defeated Ramon Gonda and Lukas Zielen, 8-2, at No. 1 doubles while Matus Mydla and Daniel Regan knocked off Alex Kacamakis and Ivan Marevic, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles. Reigning PBC Player of the Week Eudaldo Bonet and Paul Fitzgerald then defeated Jesus Ramon Garcia and A. Garcia Santos, 9-7, at No. 3 doubles.
Regan defeated Kacamakis, 6-0, 6-3, at No. 5 singles, then 38th-ranked Fitzgerald came up with the match-clinching point in a 6-3, 6-1 win over Zielen at No. 6 singles. Bonet notched a 7-5, 6-3 win over Gonda at No. 1 singles, with the other three matches going to third sets.
Mydla won a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 decision over Marevic at No. 4 singles and the Pirates took the remaining two singles matches in 10-point tiebreaks - seventh-ranked Irdoja bested Garcia, 7-5, 2-6, (10-2), at No. 2 singles and fifth-ranked Array beat 23rd-ranked Santos, 6-4, 3-6, (10-3), at No. 3 singles.
With the victory, Earnshaw improved to 220-71 with the men, while his women's record is an impeccable 280-29. In his now 11th season with the Pirates, he has led AASU to three NCAA Division II women's tennis championships in 2005, 2008 and 2009, as well as two NCAA Division II men's tennis championships in 2008 and 2009.
After the match, Earnshaw reflected on the win as well as the last 11 years as head coach of the Pirates and Lady Pirates.
On there being a standout win among the 500: "I lost my first two matches [in 2000, a dual match with Winthrop], so I don't really even remember the first win I had, but certainly when we won the 2005 National Championship with the women, that was a memorable victory breaking BYU-Hawaii's streak. We had been so close for so long up until that point."
On the memorable moments with the men's team: "There's a lot of things in the 2008 year with the men that were memorable - winning close matches over teams, for example, as well as being No. 1 for the first time and then winning the National Championship with men for the first time. You try to enjoy each win as it comes but you also enjoy certain individual moments over the years."
Earnshaw and the Pirates return to action with a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader against nationally-ranked Francis Marion on Sunday, March 28, at 2:00 p.m.