Michael Woodson Named Head Men’s Tennis Coach At Baylor

May 6, 2021

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WACO, Texas – Baylor University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Thursday the promotion of Michael Woodson to head coach of the Baylor men’s tennis team.

Woodson, who has served as interim head coach to this point in the 2020-21 season and was previously the associate head coach, becomes the 10th head coach in program history.

“Michael has done a tremendous job leading the men’s tennis program as our interim head coach, both on and off the court, and we’re excited to officially name him our head coach,” said Rhoades. “Michael’s leadership has helped the team win Big 12 regular season and tournament championships and reach a No. 1 national ranking, and he’s fully embraced our mission of Preparing Champions for Life. We look forward to watching the program’s continued growth under his direction.”

Woodson took over as interim head coach in July 2020 and guided the Bears to a 29-4 overall record in his fifth season with the program. The Bears won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title after going 4-1 in conference play, then captured the league’s postseason championship with wins over No. 7 TCU and No. 2 Texas at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco.

Following the Big 12 titles, Baylor earned its first No. 1 national ranking since the end of the 2005 season.

“I first want to congratulate our players on what has been nothing short of a remarkable season. I’m beyond thankful for their love and support as we all have transitioned to different roles and a new dynamic this year,” said Woodson. “The positivity, maturity and discipline they have brought day in and day out has led to a laundry list of accomplishments that they have earned and deserved. They have leaned into this program and squeezed every bit of enjoyment and development out of this season and I’m thrilled to be able to continue on this journey with them into the postseason.”

In addition to the team’s No. 1 ranking, Baylor also currently holds two spots in the Oracle/ITA top-125 singles rankings with Matias Soto at No. 11 and Adrian Boitan at a career-high No. 28. BU’s Constantin Frantzen/Sven Lah check in at No. 14 in the doubles rankings, followed by Soto/Nick Stachowiak at No. 75 and Lah/Charlie Broom at No. 88. 

This season under Woodson, BU has tallied a 14-4 record against ranked opponents and a 13-4 mark against the top-25. Three different Bears have been awarded Big 12 Player of the Week in Broom (Feb. 16), Boitan (March 23) and Soto (April 20), in addition to earning five spots on the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team in Boitan (No. 1 singles), Lah (No. 4 singles), Broom (No. 5 singles), Spencer Furman (No. 6 singles) and Broom/Finn Bass (No. 3 doubles). 

Woodson also guided the Bears to the 2021 ITA National Team Indoor Championship finals for the first time since 2005, where they ultimately fell to then-No. 2 North Carolina.

During his time on the coaching staff at Baylor, Woodson helped BU reach its 13th NCAA quarterfinal appearance and earn the program’s ninth Big 12 postseason title in 2019. He has mentored six total All-America selections in Juan Benitez (2017 singles), Juan Benitez/Will Little (2017 doubles), Johannes Schretter (2019 singles) and Jimmy Bendeck/Sven Lah (2019 doubles).

“To the incredible staff surrounding this program, thank you. I’m lifted up day in and day out by the tireless efforts of these men and women. The pursuit of excellence is no small task and we would not be where we are today without the elite staff we have surrounding our team,” said Woodson. “I’m so excited to be able to continue learning from and working alongside each and every one of them moving forward.”

Woodson has also carried on Baylor’s tradition of excellence in the classroom, seeing BU bring home 17 ITA Scholar-Athlete honors and three ITA Scholar-Athlete team awards throughout his tenure in Waco.

Since Woodson’s arrival in August 2016, the Bears have amassed a 111-31 (.781) record. Earlier this year, Woodson saw fifth-year senior Constantin Frantzen, a player who arrived at Baylor on the exact same day as Woodson, break the school’s all-time record for career doubles victories with his 105th to pass three-time All-American and 2004 NCAA singles champion Benjamin Becker.

Now under Woodson, the Bears have booked their 23rd-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed for the 2021 postseason.

“Baylor means so much to my family and I. We have had five incredible years here and are so blessed to call Waco home now and into the future,” said Woodson. “I want to thank Mack Rhoades, Kenny Boyd and the entire administrative team for their consistent trust and support throughout this transition. To be named Head Coach at such a prestigious private institution, with undoubtedly the strongest athletic department in the nation, is both humbling and inspiring. I am beyond excited to settle into my new role with the team and work hard to continue all of the positive momentum we have built.”

Prior to coming to Waco, Woodson had been a member of the Valparaiso men’s tennis coaching staff since the 2012-13 season, after concluding a three-year career on the court for the Crusaders. In May 2015, Woodson was promoted to associate head coach and went on to help Valpo set a school record for wins (22-6), claim conference regular-season and tournament titles and earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship appearance.

In his four years as a Crusader assistant, Woodson’s teams racked up a 73-34 record. He had five players earn first-team All-Horizon League accolades and three more card second-team honors. Nineteen times Valparaiso players won conference Player of the Week honors under Woodson. Individually, Woodson helped Jeffrey Schorsch become the winningest singles player in school history and win back-to-back Horizon League Player of the Year honors. He also guided Charlie Ernhardt to break the all-time doubles win record at Valpo. Meanwhile, Woodson’s student-athletes also secured a pair of league Freshman of the Year awards during his Valpo tenure.

During his playing career with the Crusaders, Woodson was a three-year starter who split time between No. 5 and No. 6 singles, while appearing at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles for the Brown and Gold. For his senior season, Woodson was named a team captain for the Crusaders. He was recognized with the Bill Steinbrecher Sportsmanship Award and the athletic department’s Laurel Award, which honors the graduating senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Woodson graduated from Valparaiso in May of 2012 as a triple major in biology, chemistry and exercise science. He also earned a master’s degree in sport administration from Valpo in December of 2013.

Woodson married his wife, Vanessa, in July 2017. The couple has two children, Jordyn and Kiley.

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