Baylor men's tennis adds coach

Baylor men's tennis adds coach
Posted at 11:35 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 00:35:05-04

Baylor Director of Tennis and Men’s Tennis Head Coach Brian Boland announced Tuesday the addition of Izak van der Merwe to the 2018-19 coaching staff.

“I am both humbled and honored to announce that Izak will become part of our coaching staff at Baylor,” Boland said. “Izak is one of the finest collegiate tennis players ever and went on to become a top competitor on the ATP tour in both singles and doubles. What is most impressive about Izak is he is a man of impeccable integrity and character. A true gentleman on and off the court, Izak is going to have an enormous impact on our student-athletes and the entire Baylor community.”

“I’m very thankful for this wonderful opportunity given to me by Brian Boland and the Baylor tennis coaching staff,” van der Merwe said. “I couldn’t be more excited to move back into tennis at a program and university as well respected as Baylor. I believe that my passion for mentoring and coaching college athletes, as well as striving for success on the tennis court aligns with the values and vision of the Baylor University athletic department.”

Izak van der Merwe (pronounced EE-zah-k vun dur Mer-vuh) competed on the ATP World Tour from 2005 to 2014, earning a career-high No. 94 doubles ranking and No. 113 singles ranking and winning a total of 17 ATP Challenger Tour singles and doubles titles. He was a singles semifinalist at the SA Open in 2011 and a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Grass Court Championships a year later.

He also competed as part of Team South Africa in 13 Davis Cup ties from 2006 to 2014 where the team made four World Group Playoff appearances. 

A Johannesburg, South Africa native, van der Merwe played collegiate tennis at Old Dominion and was the school’s first two-time ITA Collegiate Tennis All-American and the only Monarch to reach the national semifinals in the NCAA, All-American and & ITA Indoor national championships.

He earned All-America status in doubles (2004) and singles (2004, 2005) and capped off his Monarch career with a 73-27 singles record and 73-33 doubles record. He was inducted into the Old Dominion Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

“It is my hope to add to the program my own experience as a collegiate tennis player as well as adding lessons learned from the professional tour and participation in several Davis Cup competitions,” van der Merwe said. “At the same time, I hope to learn as much as I can from the wealth of knowledge that Coach Boland brings to the program and can’t be more energized by the culture he creates around his tennis teams.”

Van der Merwe earned a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from ODU in 2005. He graduated with his masters of business administration degree from University of Texas at Dallas in 2015.

Van der Merwe will serve as a volunteer assistant coach alongside Boland and third-year assistant coach Michael Woodson.

He joins a Baylor program that has won 13 Big 12 Conference regular season titles and eight tournament crowns over the 22-year history of the league. The Bears begin their first season under four-time national championship coach Brian Boland, who was announced as the program's ninth head coach on May 24.