July 27, 2012
Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced today that Chuck Merzbacher has been selected as the next head coach of the University of Minnesota women’s tennis program. His first day on the job in Gold Country will be Aug. 8.
Merzbacher replaces Tyler Thomson, who after coaching the Gophers for 11 seasons, moved to the same post at William and Mary. Merzbacher returns to Minnesota, his alma mater, from fellow Big Ten member Ohio State to continue the tradition of the Maroon and Gold.
“We are certainly excited to welcome back Chuck Merzbacher to the Golden Gopher family,” said Teague. “Not only will he come to Minneapolis with a working knowledge of the program, having competed against Minnesota for many years, but also the understanding of what it means to be a Gopher. His resume speaks for itself and I am confident that he will continue to build the Gopher Tennis brand.”
During his 16-year tenure with the Buckeyes, Merzbacher coached his squads to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and a total of 209 victories, becoming the winningest coach in program history and leading Ohio State women’s tennis to national prominence.
“It is a great time to return to the University of Minnesota for many reasons,” said Merzbacher. “It is an exciting time at the ‘U’. I am looking forward to working with Norwood Teague in continuing to build the Gopher Tennis program. I believe that a lot of great things are about to happen within Gopher Athletics and Minnesota Tennis.”
The Findlay, Ohio native graduated from the University of Minnesota as the all-time career wins leader with 137, a record that still stands today. He also holds the No. 3 and No. 11 spots for victories in a single season. Merzbacher finished his Gopher career as a three-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time NCAA national qualifier. As a freshman in 1984, he established his collegiate credibility with a Big Ten Conference No. 4 singles title. During his Gopher career, Minnesota won Big Ten titles in 1984 and 1986 and amassed a record of 42-7 in conference play.
After a brief stint as Minnesota’s assistant coach in 1987, Merzbacher tried his hand on the professional circuit. He was ranked as high as No. 354 in singles and No. 335 in doubles, making international showings in both the Australian Open and the Wimbledon qualifier in 1989.
Merzbacher launched his head coaching career with the men’s program at Northern Illinois University, staying for three seasons and earning back-to-back Mid-Continent Coach of the Year honors. He then moved to coach the women’s side at the University of Kansas from 1992 to 1996, gathering four consecutive Big Eight Conference championships, two Big Eight Coach of the Year titles (1993, 1994), one Central Region Coach of the Year award (1994), and an impressive 39-1 conference record (983-29 overall) with the Jayhawks.
Merzbacher earned the head coaching assignment at Ohio State in 1996 and began building the program to its success both on and off the court.
With more than 21 years of coaching experience under his belt, Merzbacher has totaled 342 career wins and coached six individual All-Americans. Collectively, his teams have claimed seven conference titles and have made 12 postseason appearances.
Merzbacher will guide Golden Gopher women’s tennis beginning with the Gopher Invitational tournament this fall. He takes over a squad that began the season with a program-best 12-1 start to the season and finished the year ranked No. 39 according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
The Merzbacher File:
Born: Jan. 31, 1965
Hometown: Findlay, Ohio
High School: Findlay High School
College Education: University of Minnesota '87 (B.S., sociology)
College Tennis: Three-time All-Big Ten honoree at Minnesota... played on two Big Ten Conference
championship teams (1984 and 1986)... qualified for the NCAA tournament in singles and doubles in 1985
Professional Tennis: Played professionally from 1987-89
1987: Assistant Men’s Coach, Minnesota
1989-92: Head Men’s Coach, Northern Illinois
1992-96: Head Women’s Coach, Kansas
1996-2012: Head Women’s Coach, Ohio State
Coaching Career Highlights: Won two Mid-Continent Conference Titles at Northern Illinois... led team to four Big Eight Conference Titles at Kansas... won the Big Ten regular season title at Ohio State in 2000, led 10 teams to the NCAA tournament.
Children: Chad & Caitlyn