Vargas, Fernandez Take over NM State Tennis ProgramsCourtesy: New Mexico State Athletics
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston didn’t have far to search for the new tennis coaches. Longtime tennis assistant coaches Carlos Vargas and Ivan Fernandez are tasked with leading the Aggies following Don Ball’s retirement.
Vargas becomes the new men’s head coach after he spent the previous 19 seasons as an assistant while Fernandez is in charge as the women’s head coach following his eighth season with the Aggies.
“Being the head coach has always been my goal,” Vargas said. “I’m thankful to coach Ball for giving me the opportunity to work with him and turning my life passion of playing tennis into a coaching career. I’m looking forward to being in charge of the men’s team.”
In addition to his coaching duties, Vargas serves as an instructor in the School of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at NM State, and he gives lessons to Las Cruces area tennis players at the NM State Tennis Center.
Along with his coaching responsibilities, Fernandez continues to give private and group lessons and he has been charged with managing the day to day operations of the NM State Tennis Center.
“After nine years as an assistant coach, it’s great to get the opportunity to run my own program,” Fernandez said. “It’s a really exciting time, and I’m looking forward to this next endeavor.”
In 2010, the Aggie men were ranked for a school-record 11 weeks in the ITA national rankings, and they were ranked as high as No. 51. NM State advanced to the WAC Championship quarterfinals for fourth time in five seasons and concluded the season with an 11-8 record. The Aggies defeated three ranked teams including No. 42 Hawai’i, No. 57 New Mexico and No. 58 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Vargas has coached 13 different singles players to all-conference accolades and 10 of his doubles teams have received all-league honors. In 2009, he was named the ITA Mountain Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
He helped the Aggies succeed in the classroom as well with Gustave Diep earning ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s At-Large first team honors in 2010 and second team honors in 2009, a first in program history.
In the 1999 season, Vargas led the Aggies to a program-record 17 dual match victories and was named the Region Seven Assistant Coach of the Year. Vargas has twice led the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament, first in 1997 and again in 2000.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Vargas came to the United States in 1980 to play tennis at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. As a sophomore at NMMI, he was named the Broncos’ Most Valuable Player when he played at the No. 3 singles position.
After two years with the Broncos, Vargas accepted a scholarship at Arkansas State. There he played both No. 1 singles and doubles for two seasons. He graduated from Arkansas State in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Vargas resides in Las Cruces and has two sons, Emilio and Estefano.
Fernandez first began his career at NM State in the 2000-01 season and returned to Las Cruces in 2006, after a two-year absence.
In 2010, the Aggie women recorded their 19th-straight season with at least 10 victories. NM State finished the year with an 11-14 record that included a victory over Fresno State for the first time since joining the WAC. Sophia Marks was a second team All-WAC selection in singles. Marks along with Manon Sylvain were named second team All-WAC in doubles.
After his first three years with NM State from 2000-03, Fernandez spent the 2003-04 season as a women’s assistant coach and college instructor at Florida International in Miami, Fla. There he was responsible for the development of practice plans and conditioning routines for both in and off-season practices, in addition to his numerous other duties at FIU.
Following his stint at FIU, he was the assistant coach for the men’s team at East Tennessee State. That season he coached the Buccaneers to a 2005 Southern Conference Championship and a NCAA bid, following a perfect 13-0 conference record.
Fernandez is a Certified Tennis Professional with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and has been a member of the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR) since 1995. He has been teaching tennis since 1990 and coaching in the collegiate ranks since 2000.
In addition to his coaching duties with the Aggies, he is Red Cross CPR and First Aid certified and has been a USRSA (United States Racquet Stringers Association) member since 2004.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas. Fernandez and his wife, Lausanne, reside in Las Cruces.