John Currie made his first hire Friday as the new Tennessee athletic director.
Fortunately for Currie, he didn’t have to look far. Assistant tennis coach and Knox native Chris Woodruff was promoted to head coach, replacing Sam Winterbotham, who Currie fired a few weeks ago.
The Chris Woodruff era has officially begun on Rocky Top 🍊🎾
— Tennessee Tennis (@Vol_Tennis) May 19, 2017
A lifelong resident of Knoxville, Woodruff won an NCAA singles championship as a Vol in 1993 and has been a member of the UT coaching staff since completing his professional tennis career in 2002.
Under Woodruff, Tennessee has had a lot of success. Former players like John-Patrick Smith (2010), Rhyne Williams (2011) and Mikelis Libietis (2013) all reached No. 1 rankings in their college careers. Also, the pair of Libietis and Hunter Reese won the NCAA doubles national championship in 2014 under Woodruff’s guidance.
Currie may have stayed within house on this hire, but Woodruff is a proven coach and player. I mean, the guy defeated Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in his professional career, both of whom reached No. 1 world rankings. I’m sure that’s at the top of Woodruff’s resume.
While tennis is not a power sport at Tennessee, it’s had a lot of success in the last decade. They brought home a national championship three years ago, but no one really knows that. The point is, Currie ran off a highly successful coach in Winterbotham and replaced him with another winner. You can watch Currie’s first hiring press conference here.
Recently, head baseball coach Dave Serrano said he was stepping down, but we all know that most likely, Currie decided to not renew his contract. He has made some interesting moves within the administration and it looks like he wants to get his own people, which is refreshing to see. It seems Currie wants UT to be successful and is the type of guy that would be competitive in getting the most proven people he can. It’s all wait-and-see from here.