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Michael Hegarty named ITA Central Region Coach of the Year

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Michael Hegarty named ITA Central Region Coach of the Year

In six seasons as Arkansas head coach, Michael Hegarty has returned the Razorbacks to national prominence, earning the program’s first-ever Southeastern Conference West title in 2008 and repeating the feat in 2009. Hegarty also guided the Razorbacks to their first NCAA Tournament appearances since the 2000-01 season.

In 2007-08, his most successful season at Arkansas, Hegarty and the Razorbacks posted a school-record 18 wins, finishing the season with an 18-10 overall record and the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight. Not surprisingly, Hegarty was recognized as the SEC Coach of the Year and the ITA Central Region Coach of the Year in 2008.

Under Hegarty’s tutelage, the Razorbacks began compiling individual honors in 2007-08, highlighted by junior Aurelija Miseviciute’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championship title in 2007. Consistently ranked in the top three in the country, Miseviciute repeated as ITA National Indoor Champion in 2008.

Arkansas’ most decorated women’s tennis player, Miseviciute, with the help of Hegarty, won an astounding 126 singles matches in her career, earned two All-America and three All-SEC honors and was a finalist for the Honda Award in 2008 and 2009.

Ella Kaluder also garnered conference and regional honors while playing for Hegarty. As a sophomore, Kaluder was named the 2007 ITA Player to Watch, an honor that proved prophetic in 2009 when Kaluder was named the ITA Central Region Senior Player of the Year. She also earned first team All-SEC honors in 2007 and 2008.

Not content for his players to succeed only on the court, Hegarty has instilled a strong academic work ethic into his players, believing tennis should go hand-in-hand with a college education. Leading the way in the classroom was Miseviciute who was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in both 2008 and 2009.

Since 2004, 14 of Hegarty’s Razorbacks have been named to the SEC Honor Roll, six of the players appearing on the conference honor roll multiple times.

After a successful college and professional career, Hegarty began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Auburn University, in 1994. After two seasons with the Tigers, Hegarty took his first job at Arkansas, assistant coach of the men’s tennis team under current men’s head coach Robert Cox for a year before taking an assistant coaching position with the Kentucky Wildcats men and women’s programs.

Hegarty took his first head coaching job at Fresno State in 1997 where he took the west coast by storm. The Bulldogs spent three seasons in the Top 25 with Hegarty and were crowned Western Athletic Conference champions in 1999. For this, Hegarty was named WAC and Region VII Coach of the Year.

Before returning to Arkansas, Hegarty served as an assistant coach for the University of Florida men’s tennis team from 2001-2003, helping transform Florida men’s tennis into a national powerhouse. For his work with the Gators, Hegarty was named the ITA Southeast Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 200X.

While playing at Auburn, Hegarty broke the Top 20 in singles in both 1992 and 1993. He was named a two-time academic All-SEC honoree and graduated with a degree in journalism. After graduating and entering the pro circuit, Hegarty was ranked as high as 284th in the world and competed in several world-renowned tournaments including the 1994 US Open, the Australian Open and the NASDAQ Open.

Hegarty and his wife, Mary McDonald, currently reside in Fayetteville with their infant son, Theo Bruce Hegarty.



Sports Category : Tennis (W)