Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber has announced the hiring of Jeff Maren as Liberty's new head women's tennis coach.
Since the inception of the women's tennis program in 2000-01, the position has been jointly held with the head men's tennis coaching position.
Now after 12 years of competition on the tennis courts, Liberty will be separating the coaching roles into two positions, allowing specific head coaching focus for each program. Flames current head coach Chris Johnson, who just completed his sixth season at Liberty, will transition into the role as head men's tennis coach.
"We are thrilled to welcome Coach Maren to the Liberty family as he brings great experience, passion and commitment to Liberty tennis," said Barber. "Through our nationwide search, it quickly became obvious that he is the perfect fit to lead our program. I believe great days are ahead for the women's team and feel blessed to have Jeff join our dream of building a national caliber tennis program."
Maren comes to Liberty after six successful seasons as associate head coach of the women's tennis program at North Texas.
During his time with the Mean Green program, Maren helped North Texas transition from a 2-19 program in 2007 to win a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships (2010 and 2012).
During his first three seasons at North Texas, Maren served as assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach of the program for the last three seasons.
Following an 11-win improvement during his first season with the program, North Texas finished the 2008 season ranked No. 13 in the final ITA Southwest Region rankings.
The Mean Green continued to improve the following season, posting a 17-6 record and made a run to the Sun Belt Conference Championship semifinals in 2009.
In 2010, North Texas captured its first-ever Sun Belt Conference title, upending No. 49 Florida International, 4-3, in the conference's title match.
Following another conference semifinal run in 2011, North Texas claimed its second Sun Belt title and NCAA Women's Tennis Championship berth with a 4-2 win over Florida International in 2012.
During his last five seasons at North Texas, Maren helped the Mean Green post a 75-41 record and gain a national ranking as high as No. 40 during the early part of the 2012 spring season.
Maren helped coach four all-conference women's tennis players and two nationally ranked players at North Texas, along with adding a combined 38 nationally ranked opponents to North Texas' schedule during his six seasons with the program.
North Texas success was not limited to the court during Maren's time with the program, as the Mean Green finished five out of six seasons with ITA All-Academic team honors.
"I am truly blessed to be the head women's tennis coach at Liberty, and am thankful to Jeff Barber and Meredith Eaker [Senior Woman Administrator] for giving me this opportunity," said Maren. "Combining my love for Christ and my passion for tennis has created a life-long path for me. I look forward to bringing my vision to the Liberty program, so that we can continue to rise to new heights."
Prior to his days at North Texas, Maren taught and managed tennis clubs in Kentucky for nearly two decades, along with beginning a pair of collegiate tennis programs.
Maren started the men's tennis program at Brescia University in 1991 and posted a 44-38 record at the NAIA program. During his five seasons with the program, Maren coached three all-conference athletes and two national qualifiers at the Owensboro, Ky., school.
Three years prior to starting the men's program at Brescia, Maren started a women's tennis program at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky. Maren posted a 19-17 record during three seasons at the NCAA Division III program and coached three all-conference players.
Maren's professional instructing career spans three different clubs during a 17-year timeline. He was the Director of Tennis at Owensboro County Club (1991-95), the Director of Tennis and Fitness at the Executive Racquet Club in Owensboro, Ky. (1991-95) and the Director of Tennis and Fitness at the Country Club of Paducah in Paducah, Ky. (1998-06).
At each club, Maren instructed between 150 and 200 members and was named the "Kentucky Pro of the Year" by the USTA in 2005. Maren has been a United States Professional Tennis Association certified instruction since 1997.
Maren is a 1989 graduate of Thomas More College, where he received an associate's degree in psychology and a bachelor's degree in business administration.
During his days at Thomas More as a player, Maren posted an 81-20 singles record and qualified for the NAIA national championships all four years (1985-89). He was a three-time district champion in both singles and doubles and was nationally ranked as a senior. Maren was honored in 2010 when he was inducted into the Thomas More Athletics Hall of Fame.
After graduation, Maren continued to play in open and professional events and was ranked nationally as high as No. 23 in 2002 in the men's 35 and over singles grouping. He has played tournament tennis every year for the past 27 years.
Maren and his wife of 14 years, Julie, have one son, Zachary.
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