Days after the Texas Longhorns men’s tennis team defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 4-1 to win the program’s first national championship, interim head coach Bruce Berque earned the job permanently.
Guess who our next head Men’s Tennis Coach is...maybe the one who just won the National Championship?! Yeah, that seems about right! Congratulations @bberque! pic.twitter.com/BBpyyBumnD— Chris Del Conte (@_delconte) May 23, 2019
“It was a no-brainer,” Del Conte said. “We actually made the decision before we left for the National Championship. We had done our due diligence around the country, and we had the very best right in our own backyard. Sometimes you might think the grass is greener somewhere else, but with where we are right now and what Bruce has done with the program, from the time he took it over, we knew he was the right man to lead our program, the championship was just the icing on the cake.”
”It’s the absolute thrill of a lifetime to be entrusted to lead this program,” Berque said. “So many great men have been a part of it as both players and coaches, and it’s an absolute honor to be the fifth men’s tennis coach in the history of the program. I want to thank Chris Del Conte for entrusting me with that, and I’m truly excited about where we are and our future.”
The fifth head coach in the program’s 74-year history took over for longtime head coach Michael Center in March when Center was implicated in the nationwide college admissions scandal. Center faces 15-21 months in prison after agreeing to a plea deal with the government for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
The team responded quickly to Berque’s leadership — a day after Center’s termination, Texas beat No. 1 Ohio State. Ultimately, the Longhorns only lost two of the final 17 matches on the way to the title in Orlando. As a result, Berque earned recognition as the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Texas has had plenty of success since Berque arrived as a volunteer assistant in 2014 after a decade as the Michigan head coach. In 2016 and 2018, the Horns made the NCAA Quarterfinals and made the Sweet 16 in 2017, years during which Berque served as the associate head coach.
A New Jersey native, Berque also served as an assistant at Florida, Ohio State, and Illinois before earning his first head coaching job in Ann Arbor.