Jan. 19, 2006
Now in the midst of his fourth year on the coaching staff for the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team, Todd Doebler has been promoted to associate head coach, it was announced recently by head coach Bob Bayliss. Doebler, the 2004 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year, is the first associate head coach in Irish tennis history.
“Todd’s promotion to associate head coach is a testament to the incredible job he has done in his time at Notre Dame,” said Bayliss. “I sent Todd to the ITA National Indoor Championships this past fall with our top two players, and he brought home the best overall finish we have ever had at that tournament. I also left him with those two players for the last three rounds of the ITA Midwest Championships, and he got them to the final of that tournament, which marked the first time in our program’s history that we had two players in that title match. His work ethic, personality and insight – as well as his loyalty – have been invaluable to me. I consider him one of our greatest assets, and I predict he has a bright future in the world of coaching.”
Doebler, who has turned down several Division I head-coaching jobs to both become and remain a part of Bayliss’ staff, joins an elite group of only five current Notre Dame associate head coaches in the university’s 26-sport department, along with Robin Davis (women’s volleyball), Sean Kearney (men’s basketball), Paul Pooley (men’s ice hockey), and Coquese Washington (women’s basketball).
“I feel very honored to be named associate head coach by coach Bayliss and the University of Notre Dame athletic department,” said Doebler. “Over the past three-and-a-half years, I have been fortunate to be a part of such an outstanding university and athletic department.”
Doebler, a 1996 graduate of Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, was instrumental in helping the Irish turn in one of their best falls ever last semester. Notre Dame advanced two players – junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) – to the singles final of the ITA Midwest Championships for the first time ever, returned to the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships for the first time in four years, and as one of just two schools to advance multiple players to the round of 16 in the season’s second grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. Doebler handled the lion’s share of on-court coaching in all three instances.
“I have enjoyed being a part of Irish tennis, and I am very excited for the upcoming dual-match season,” said Doebler. “We still have a young team, but the guys have been working very hard at developing their games and have done a great job of pushing each other to new levels. I am really looking forward to seeing how far this group can go this year.”
Doebler – a native of Hatfield, Pa., and graduate of North Penn High School – joined an Irish program that had lost six of nine starters from the 2001-02 team to graduation and has played a big role in recruiting and developing several talented players. In fact, Notre Dame will enter the spring portion of the 2005-06 season as one of only three Division I teams to have multiple players ranked in the national top 15 in singles. The Irish are the only squad to boast four different players that own national top-15 rankings in singles and/or doubles.
He came to Notre Dame in the summer of 2002 after spending two seasons as an assistant at Pepperdine University, where the Waves compiled a 43-14 record and finished in the national top 20 in both seasons (fifth in 2001-02). He coached three All-Americans there, including Al Garland, who ascended to the nation’s #1 ranking in singles. Prior to his tenure at Pepperdine, Doebler served as head coach for men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s squash at Connecticut College from 1998-2000. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Trinity (Conn.) College from 1997-98.
Doebler and the Irish, ranked 26th nationally, will begin the dual-match portion of their 2005-06 season on Saturday when they travel to regional rival #51 Northwestern for a 6 p.m. (CST) match in the Combe Tennis Center. That will lift the lid on a brutal early-season slate, which will see Notre Dame face a trio of top-10 squads in the first three weeks of the season. The Irish will take on #1 Virginia on Jan. 27 in Richmond and then head to #8 Duke on Feb. 5 and to #4 Illinois on Feb. 7. Notre Dame’s home opener comes on Sunday, Jan. 29 against #65 William & Mary at 10 a.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.