Sept. 25, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As the Irish gear up to enter ACC play, the Notre Dame men’s tennis team welcomes new volunteer assistant coach Cris James to its staff to help with the transition.
James comes to Notre Dame after a six-year stint as the head coach of Illinois State University’s men’s tennis team. Under his charge, the Redbirds appeared in the national rankings (2010) for the first time since 2001. The year culminated in James being named the Missouri Valley Coach of the Year after leading the squad to the regular season championship.
Before leading the ISU program, James got his college coaching start as an assistant tennis coach at his alma mater, Purdue University.
As a player at the collegiate level, James was a three-time all-Big Ten and academic all-Big Ten performer and a three-time team MVP. A team captain, James reached a high of No. 26 nationally in singles and No. 7 in doubles. He won three professional futures doubles tournaments and earned professional rankings in both singles and doubles.
James owns two degrees from Purdue, a Bachelor of Science in political science in 1999 and a Master of Science in sports management in 2007.
Following graduation, James served as the assistant tennis professional at the University of Alberta Tennis Center for seven years before returning to Purdue.
The Irish left their old conference last year as BIG EAST tournament champions, and James looks to help the Irish maintain this level of success as they move to the ACC this season.
“Notre Dame is a tremendous place with great tradition and opportunity,” James says. “I am excited to work with coach [Ryan] Sachire, coach [Adam] Schaechterle and all of our players to achieve our goal of being among the elite college tennis programs year in and year out.”
This is the first year that the team will play under head coach Ryan Sachire, who took over for Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Famer Bobby Bayliss when he retired following last season after leading the Irish for 26 years.
“We couldn’t be more excited to add Cris to our coaching staff,” Sachire says. “Throughout both his playing and coaching careers, Cris has consistently demonstrated the knowledge, passion, and ability necessary to help our program compete at the elite level of our sport. Cris comes to Notre Dame with an extremely solid reputation for his player development and on-court coaching skills, and he will be a tremendous asset to Adam and myself. We are thrilled that Cris, his wife Emily, and their son Jack are now a part of the Notre Dame family.”
The Irish continue their season Sept. 28 in Tulsa, Okla., with the ITA All-American Championships.