Highlights from the past week in Ohio State Athletics
Torpegaard named POY, Di Feo named FOY and Tucker named COY
Ohio State will serve has hosts of 2013 edition
Buckeyes host 2013 Midwest Regional Championships Oct. 17-21
Buckeyes face No. 1 seed UCLA in semifinals at 2 p.m. ET Monday
Ohio State/Career Record: 488-77 (.864)
Big Ten Record: 163-12 (.931)
Big Ten Tournament Record: 42-7 (.857)
NCAA Tournament Record: 44-17 (.721)
Ty Tucker, who became the head coach of the Ohio State men's tennis program in 1999, has turned Buckeye tennis into an elite program that has maintained consistent success, shattered program records and contended for Big Ten and national titles. Tucker's reputation for delivering exceptional results has not gone unnoticed as he was promoted to Director of Tennis in the summer of 2012. While also maintaining his role as head coach of the men's program, Tucker has provided oversight and assistance to the women's team.
Guiding the Scarlet and Gray to 11 consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles (2006-16) and nine of the last 11 conference tournament crowns, Tucker also has coached the program to 16 consecutive 20-win seasons. Ohio State has also won 30 or more matches in nine of the last 11 seasons.
For his career, Tucker has amassed a 488-77 (.864) record, which makes him the winningest head coach in Ohio State men's tennis history and the third winningest coach in any sport in Big Ten history. He passed his former coach John Daly (432 wins) during the 2014-15 season. Tucker has an impressive career mark of 163-12 (.931) in Big Ten matches. In addition, the Buckeyes' ran off an astounding 200 consecutive wins in Columbus, which was the longest home win streak in Division I sports history. Tucker and Ohio State have been ranked in the Top 20 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Associat ion (ITA) poll for 347 consecutive matches.
The 2009 ITA National Coach of the Year, Tucker has witnessed Ohio State make deep runs at the NCAA championships. As a team, the Buckeyes advanced to the final in 2009 before dropping a hard-fought 4-1 decision to USC in College Station, Texas. Ohio State has advanced to the semifinals two other times and the quarterfinals a total of 10 times, while making 17 consecutive trips to the national tournament in all (2000-16). He also guided the team to the 2014 Indoor NCAA Championship, the program's first indoor national title.
Perhaps one of Tucker's proudest moments as a head coach came when he mentored senior Chase Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola to the 2012 NCAA Doubles Championship title in Athens, Ga. The Buckeye duo not only owned the No. 1 doubles ranking throughout the 2012 campaign, but the pair made history when they became the only doubles team in NCAA annals to win all three major collegiate championships in one season - D'Novo/ITA All-America Championships, USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and NCAA Championships. He nearly had another doubles championship in 2014 when the duo of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka made a run to the finals before falling.
In all, Tucker has coached 15 individuals in the NCAA singles championship and 12 doubles teams. A continuing trend at Ohio State is success in doubles play. In 2004, Scott Green and Ross Wilson, Buckeye letterwinners from 2003-06, concluded their collegiate career as one of only three doubles teams in the nation to win three ITA national titles. Green and Wilson also became the first tandem in the 27 years of the ITA National Indoor Championships to win consecutive titles and the first doubles team in Ohio State history to win a national title. In 2013 Tucker again coached Rola to a national championship, this time in singles. Winning his second NCAA title in as many years and becoming the first Buckeye to capture the national singles title, Rola finished the 2013 season 32-1 overall. Kobelt finished his Buckeye career with the most doubles wins in school-history (142). Most recently, Mikael Torpegaard, who was the No. 1 seed in the singles champioinship, finished runner-up in 2016.
An 11-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and four-time ITA Region IV/Midwest Region Coach of the Year recipient, Tucker has led 14 All-Americans who have garnered a total of 33 All-America honors. In addition to Buchanan and Rola's claim to No. 1 in the doubles ranking, Tucker led Jeremy Wurtzman, the 2004 ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Co-Player of the Year, Steven Moneke (2007), Bryan Koniecko (2009), Peter Kobelt (2012) and Mikael Torpegaard (2016) to the No. 1 position in the ITA singles rankings. Moneke, who lettered for the Buckeyes from 2006-09, played his way into the 2009 NCAA Singles Championship final before losing 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to Devin Britton of Mississippi.
In the Big Ten Conference, 25 Buckeyes, including recent honorees, Chris Diaz, Hugo Di Feo, Ralf Steinbach and Mikael Torpegaard, have been named All-Big Ten recipients under Tucker's tutelage. Additionally, four student-athletes have earned Big Ten Athlete of the Year accolades - Vince Ng (2003), Koniecko (2008, '09), Buchanan (2010, '11) and Torpegaard (2016), while six were awarded with Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors - Joey Atas (2004), Koniecko (2006), Justin Kronauge (2007), Rola (2011), Torpegaard (2015) and Di Feo (2016).
Arguably, the most successful campaign in program history, 2009 proved to be a season of immense achievement. Not only did the Scarlet and Gray play for the national title, but they also recorded a 36-2 record for a .947 win percentage, the best single-season win percentage in program history. Two years later, Ohio State advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament to finish the season with just three losses compared to 34 victories (.919). In 2013, the Buckeyes appeared in the NCAA semifinals for the third time in program history thanks to a dramatic 4-3 victory over four-time defending champion USC in the quarterfinals in Champaign, Ill. Although Ohio State fell short of its bid to claim the national title, the Buckeyes finished the season with another 30-win season (35-3).
The 2006 season was the beginning of the Buckeyes' dominance in the Big Ten Conference. Recording a 28-2 ledger, Ohio State relinquished its second-place league standing from the previous five seasons and won the regular-season and tournament titles. The squad also received its seventh-consecutive bid to the NCAA team championship and hosted the first two rounds for the first time in team history.
Tucker is accustomed to success in tennis. A two-time All-American at Ohio State, Tucker earned three letters from 1989 to 1991 during his collegiate career. He captured the No. 1 singles position his freshman year and held it for three seasons, while also securing his place in the Buckeye record book with his dominating play, finishing with 64 career singles wins. In 2004, Tucker was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.
In 1992, Tucker decided to pursue a professional tennis career. He achieved a world ranking of No. 273 and in 1994 was ranked as high as No. 35 in the U.S. He earned significant wins over Tim Henman, Hendrik Dreekman and Sargis Sargisian and defeated Jimmy Arias to win the Novi Auto Mall Professional Tennis Challenge in Michigan. Tucker also played in more than 40 foreign tournaments between 1992 and 1995. After returning to Ohio State as an assistant coach, Tucker earned his degree in anthropology in 1998.
Tucker's success in tennis began at an early age. As a player on the junior circuit, he established himself by accumulating nine United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Junior titles and was a tournament finalist 11 times. Tucker notched victories over Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier. As a student at Zanesville High School, Tucker became the only student-athlete to win the Ohio High School state title as a freshman in 1985. In the spring of 2012, Tucker was inducted into the Zanesville City Schools Hall of Fame.