The coaching staff of Dartmouth’s men’s and women’s tennis squads was recently shaken up after acting Athletic Director Bob Ceplikas announced the hiring of Chris Drake as the new head coach of the men’s tennis team and David Jones as the new women’s assistant coach.
Jones will transition to his new position after serving as the assistant men’s tennis coach for 23 years.
Drake, who will replace Chuck Kinyon, will arrive at Dartmouth after serving as an assistant coach at Northwestern University for the last three years.
Drake also had a successful tennis career, playing for Brown University and then professionally.
“He’s a young and upcoming coach, so we’re very excited about this,” Michael Laser ’12, a member of the men’s tennis team, said. “I know Drake and he’s incredibly qualified, both with his experience as a professional player and a coach and mentor.”
During his coaching stint with the Wildcats, Drake was named the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. A total of eight assistant coaches around the nation were honored.
“We’re so fortunate to have him be a part of this program,” team member Michael Jacobs ’13 said. “He was part of a process that brought Northwestern out of the bottom of the Big Ten conference and transformed them into a contender.”
During Drake’s first season at Northwestern, the Wildcats were winless in conference play and had an overall record of 7-18.
In his second season as assistant coach, Drake led the team to an overall record of 18-9, an improved conference record of 6-4 and the Wildcats’ first NCAA berth in four years.
Even though the Wildcats finished the 2010 season with a losing record of 10-14, Northwestern was ranked as high as No. 36 during the season — the program’s highest position in national rankings since 2005.
While playing for the Bears before graduating from Brown in 2003, Drake was a two-time unanimous selection for the 2002 and 2003 All-Ivy teams. He also served as the team captain for two seasons during which the Bears made NCAA Tournament appearances.
In 2002, Drake drove Brown to its first Ivy League title in school history.
He also excelled off the court and was honored with two-time Academic All-Ivy accolades. In 2003, Drake received the ITA Region 1 Rafael Osuna award which is given to “a player who displays sportsmanship, character and excellent academics and has outstanding tennis accomplishments.”
Prior to his arrival at Northwestern, Drake played a three-year stint in professional tennis, achieving ATP rankings in both singles and doubles. Drake began playing on the Futures Tour in 2004 and earned an ATP ranking in both singles and doubles play during his first year on tour.
While playing professionally, Drake earned a career-high 92nd world ranking in doubles and became the 10th highest-ranked American in doubles at that time. In 2006, he was the top seed in the Wimbledon doubles qualifying event.
During his career, Drake earned victories against Marcos Baghdatis and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who made it to the finals of the Australian Open in 2006 and 2008, respectively. Drake also defeated 12 players who were ranked in the top 50 of the ATP world doubles, including Gilles Simon.
“This is going to be great for us from a hands-on point of view,” Jacobs said. “There is going to be an immediate effect on the team, because Drake will add a lot of energy and he should fit in perfectly with us.”
Switching over from the men’s side, Jones will now work under women’s head coach Bob Dallis. Jones also has experience coaching the women’s team, having stepped in as interim assistant coach in 2002.
Under the leadership of Kinyon and Jones, the 2010 men’s team was ranked No. 60 — Dartmouth’s highest ranking in history. Jones was also awarded the 2010 ITA Northeast Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.