May 18, 2004
Notre Dame’s Todd Doebler was named the Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association when the annual regional awards were announced Monday. Doebler, who helped the Irish jump more than 20 spots in the national rankings this season, is the fourth Irish assistant to win the award in the eight years since it was established. It was the first year Doebler was eligible for the honor, which requires candidates to have been at their current school for at least two seasons.
“Todd’s infectious enthusiasm and keen on-court strategic analysis have been invaluable in the progress and improvement shown by this year’s team,” said two-time national coach of the year Bob Bayliss, who has seen three of his former assistants at Notre Dame go on to be head coaches. “I have no doubt that Todd will take his place among the all-time great coaches in college tennis before his career ends.”
Doebler is now eligible, along with the winners from each of the other seven regions, to be named National Assistant Coach of the Year, which will be announced May 26 in Tulsa, Okla.
Doebler joins Andy Zurcher (1997), Michael Morgan (1999), and Billy Pate (2002) as Irish assistants who have gained the honor. Morgan is the head men’s and women’s coach at Colby College in Maine, his second head coaching job, while Pate, who won the national award, is in his second season leading the University of Alabama’s program.
In his second year at Notre Dame, Doebler has turned down a number of Division I head coaching jobs to become and remain an assistant for the Irish. He previously served as an assistant coach for two years at Pepperdine after heading up both the men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s squash programs at Connecticut College from 1998-2000. Doebler, who also has extensive coaching experience at the camp, club, and professional levels, began his coaching career as an assistant at Trinity College in Connecticut, one of the top-ranked Division III programs.
Despite mentoring teams that had lost 10 monogram winners to graduation over the past two years, Doebler has helped the Irish to be ranked among the national top 30 in both of his seasons at Notre Dame. In 2003-04, the Irish won the BIG EAST championship and improved 24 spots from their final ’03 ranking, bowing out of the NCAA tournament with a 15-9 record and national ranking of 30th. The accomplishments of the most recent Notre Dame squad were further enhanced by the fact that Notre Dame had five freshmen on its roster, including three in its regular lineup.
During his tenure at Pepperdine, the Waves compiled a 43-14 (.754) mark, reached the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2001 and advanced to the quarterfinals the following season. Both of those squads finished in the national top 20, with the latter ending up No. 5. Doebler coached three All-Americans at Pepperdine, including Al Garland, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation for a time in 2002.
The other regional assistant-coach-of-the-year awardwinners were Sacred Heart’s Jim Biggs, Virginia’s Tony Bresky, LSU’s Mark Booras, Oklahoma State’s Chris Milliron, Rice’s Shaheen Ladhani, Boise State’s Jared Burnham, and Washington’s Gordon O’Reilly.