Liberty University Director of Athletics Ian McCaw has announced the hiring of Derek Schwandt as Liberty's new Head Men's Tennis Coach.
Schwandt comes to Liberty after serving as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech (2013-17), Fresno State (2011-12) and Virginia (2009-10). Schwandt helped his teams claim four conference titles and advance to the NCAA Men's Team Championship seven times.
"Derek is an ideal Liberty fit who is passionate about training champions for Christ, providing a world class student-athlete experience and achieving victory with integrity," said McCaw. "In addition to his experience as a Collegiate National Team coach with the United States Tennis Association, he has played an important role in building successful programs at Virginia, Fresno State and Georgia Tech."
During his five seasons with Georgia Tech, the team advanced to the NCAA Men's Team Championship the last three years, making second round appearances in 2016 and 2017.
The 2017 Yellow Jackets' squad reached a high of No. 12 in the nation and finished the year ranked No. 19. During the 2017 season, Georgia Tech posted a 17-7 dual match record, including wins over No. 16 Stanford, No. 21 South Carolina, No. 31 Florida State and two wins over No. 35 Duke.
"I would like to thank Liberty University, Ian McCaw and the hiring committee for the incredible opportunity to lead Flames men's tennis," said Schwandt. "I'm thankful for the love and support of my wife, Rachel, my parents and my coaching mentors. Thank you to all of the student-athletes who competed in several inspiring battles at Virginia, Fresno State and Georgia Tech. It's awesome to reflect on God's faithfulness in preparing me for this mission to train Champions for Christ at Liberty."
"My vision is to build a program that contends at the top national level. I will lead the Flames to an excellent standard each day in the way that we train and fight for the team in matches," continued Schwandt. "I'm looking forward to creating a culture of hard work, grit and enthusiasm at Liberty. It's an awesome experience to coach a team that fights for something bigger than each individual."
Schwandt helped garner some of the nation's brightest stars with Fresno State and Georgia Tech's recruiting classes ranked No. 12 in the country in 2012, No. 11 in 2013 and No. 14 in 2014.
Schwandt recruited and coached the 2016 and 2017 ACC Player of the Year Christopher Eubanks. The ITA All-American Eubanks is ranked No. 7 in the nation and made his third-straight appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship, reaching the quarterfinals in 2017.
Schwandt was named to the USTA Collegiate National Team staff during the summer of 2014 and 2015, coaching the top American college players on the ITF Futures pro circuit. He led Virginia standout Mitchell Frank to the 2014 Tulsa, Okla., Future title and a runner-up performance in Godfrey, Ill.
In his two years at Fresno State, the Bulldogs won two-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships and rose to No. 14 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings in 2012.
In 2012, Schwandt coached Fresno State to a win over No. 9 Stanford for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs went to their second-straight NCAA Tournament and fell to No. 27 San Diego in the first round.
In 2011, he led Fresno State to their first WAC Tournament title since 1999 and a No. 37 national team ranking. The Bulldogs defeated No. 19 Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Championship before falling, 4-3, to No. 14 Cal in the second round.
Schwandt served as the Volunteer Assistant Coach at Virginia during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. During Schwandt's time at Virginia, the Cavaliers won the 2009 and 2010 ITA National Team Indoor championship, the 2009 and 2010 ACC Championship and the 2009 and 2010 NCAA doubles title.
The Cavaliers also reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Team Championship in 2009, and the semifinals in 2010. He coached under Brian Boland, the 2008 and 2016 ITA National Coach of the Year and winner of four of the last five national championships (2013, 2015-17).
From 2005-08, Schwandt played ITF Futures and ATP Challengers around the world, including tournaments in South America, Mexico, Canada, Central America and India. He earned an ATP world ranking in singles and doubles. His top singles victory was over Marcus Fugate (587 ATP) 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in the 2008 Binghamton Challenger.
Schwandt is a 2005 graduate of the University of Richmond where he received his bachelor's degree in business administration, concentrating in economics. The two-time All-Atlantic 10 selection (2004 and 2005) helped the Spiders win three Atlantic 10 conference championships (2002, 2004 and 2005) and make three team appearances in the NCAA Men's Team Championship.
Schwandt completed his master's degree in sport psychology from Fresno State in May 2012 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Schwandt's book review on John Wooden was published in the June 2012 issue of The Sport Psychologist.
Schwandt is a native of Kennett Square, Pa., and is married to the former Rachel Eddy.
What They Are Saying about Derek Schwandt
"Derek Schwandt is a great hire for Liberty University. I have known Derek from his early days as a successful player and coach. Derek is a man of deep faith and integrity. He is the type of person that every parent wants their child to play for as he represents all that is right about college athletics. I am excited for everyone who loves Liberty Athletics, but most importantly, the student-athletes who have Derek as their coach and mentor. Derek has the leadership skills and knowledge to build a nationally competitive program at Liberty. He will lead Liberty to new heights and build a championship program on and off the court. Today is a great day for Liberty Men's Tennis."
Head of Men's Tennis for USTA Player Development
Former Head Coach, Virginia
"Derek is one of the most talented up and coming young coaches in the country in my opinion. Not only does he possess the tools to win at the highest level, his relationship with Christ is the most important thing to him in his life. For these reasons, I believe this is an incredible hire by Ian [McCaw] and a perfect fit for the future of the Liberty Men's Tennis program."
Head Coach, Arizona State
"Derek has done an incredible job at Georgia Tech, on and off the court. He brought an impeccable work ethic to recruiting and development. He has a passion for tennis, coaching and people and he is well deserving of this opportunity at Liberty. He represented Georgia Tech with the highest level of integrity and was a big part of our success over the past few years. We will definitely miss him here, but I know great things are ahead for Liberty. We all thank him for the time and effort he gave to Georgia Tech. We are better because of him."
Head Coach, Georgia Tech
"I'm excited to see Derek build an excellent tennis program for Liberty! He's an exceptional on-court coach that will create meaningful relationships with each of his student-athletes. Derek is a relentless worker whose character is second to none and he'll be a great role model for his teams."
Head Coach, Oklahoma State
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