Horns face Roddick-coached OU in NCAAs
Oklahoma men's tennis coach John Roddick, brother of pro star Andy Roddick, has led the Sooners to a No. 20 ranking.
May 21, 2010
John Roddick has coached his famous younger brother Andy on the ATP tour, and has worked with top juniors at his San Antonio tennis academy.
He likes what he's doing now best of all, though.
A year ago, Roddick sold his Roddick Total Tennis facility to five investors and moved from Austin — where he commuted to work — to Norman, Okla., to become the Sooners men's tennis coach.
Today, his 20th-ranked Sooners will face No. 3 Texas in the round of 16 at the NCAA championships in Athens, Ga.
"Of everything I've done in coaching, this is the most fun," Roddick said. "It's going real well, as well as we could have hoped."
This will be the second time the two teams have played each other this season. Texas won earlier this year, 6-1.
"We understand we can hang with them. It's a matter of finishing off matches," Roddick said.
Their first match was in Austin, two months ago. Oklahoma's coach may feel some home court advantage today, though; Roddick, who was a four-time All-American at the University of Georgia, helped lead Georgia to a national championship and another final round as an assistant coach there in 2001 and 2002.
That runner-up finish looked like it would be Roddick's farewell to college tennis. Later in 2002, he opened his tennis academy to work with talented young players, including Kellen Damico, now a junior singles and doubles player at Texas.
In 2006, Roddick left the day-to-day operations to others and began traveling the pro circuit to coach Andy, the 2003 U.S. Open winner who at the time was trying to get back to the top of the sport. He remained Andy's coach after Andy hired Jimmy Connors, and stayed until 2008.
He was living in Austin, commuting to his San Antonio academy a few times a week and was mulling his future last spring, when Sooners coach Paul Lockwood resigned after a 22-year career at Oklahoma.
"These college coaches tend to stay around forever," Roddick said, adding that he may also go that route.
Oklahoma once dominated the old Big Eight, but has won only two conference titles in the last 32 years, and this is its first trip to the round of 16 since the NCAA adopted that format in 1996.
Oklahoma, however, does have championship-quality facilities, with 12 outdoor courts built within the last decade and a six-court indoor complex that opened last year.
Like many college teams, Oklahoma is a mix of U.S. and international players, including three from Romania and another from Georgia — the country, not the state.
Before playing college tennis, Roddick starred as a junior, winning several Texas championships and reaching the semifinals of the Wimbledon junior championships. When he was 10, in 1986, his family moved from Nebraska to Austin, then to Florida in 1994.
Born in Nebraska. Raised in Austin. Not exactly the ideal pedigree for an Oklahoma coach.
"It's been a pretty easy adjustment. I'm kind of Midwest guy," said Roddick, who has also adapted to Oklahoma's sometimes violent weather. "We've got a basement. We had to use it the other day.
"I've lived in Florida. I'd rather deal with tornadoes than a hurricane. Tornadoes are pretty isolated. With a hurricane, if you're in the way, it's not a good thing."