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Drake Named Dartmouth Men's Tennis Head Coach

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletic Communications

HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth College's Acting Director of Athletics and Recreation Bob Ceplikas announced today the hiring of Chris Drake as the head coach of the Big Green's men's tennis program. Drake, who played professionally and at Brown University as an undergraduate, served as the assistant coach at Northwestern University for the past three years.

"We're thrilled to be bringing Chris Drake on board as our next head coach of men's tennis," Ceplikas said. "His outstanding background as a player both in the Ivy League and professionally, and as an assistant coach helping turn Northwestern's program around, make him an excellent choice to lead our program. We look forward to watching him develop and inspire our tennis student-athletes with his excellent skills, teaching ability and passion for the sport.???

The 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year, Drake was an instrumental force in elevating the men's tennis program at Northwestern as the Wildcats' recruiting classes in 2008 and '09 were ranked 12th and eighth in the country, respectively, by tennisrecruiting.net. This past March, Northwestern achieved its highest national ranking in five years at No. 34.

In his second season with the Wildcats, Drake helped the squad improve to a 6-4 mark in the Big Ten to tie for fourth place. Overall Northwestern went 18-9 on the season, earning a national ranking as high as 48th, and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were successful on and off the court during Drake's tenure, posting a team GPA of 3.5 in 2009 and a 1.000 APR in 2008 and '09.

Drake also spent time coaching the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles team of Eric Butorac (U.S.) and Ashley Fisher (Australia) in May and June of 2008 at the French Open and Wimbledon Championships. At Wimbledon, Butorac and Fisher won a five-set match in the first round. Each player went on to win ATP Tour doubles events the following month -- Butorac in Los Angeles and Fisher in Indianapolis.

"I would like to thank Bob Ceplikas, Megan Sobel and everyone at Dartmouth athletics for giving me the opportunity to come back to the Ivy League and coach the men's tennis team," said Drake. "Throughout the interview process, I was impressed by the department's enthusiasm and commitment to the continued development of the tennis program, and I am honored to have been chosen to lead the team. This is a great opportunity for my family and me, and I look forward to getting up to Hanover to start working with the guys."

Before embarking on his collegiate coaching career, Drake was an accomplished player on the ATP doubles tour, achieving a world doubles ranking of 92, which made him the 10th-highest ranked American at the time. He registered doubles wins over Marcos Baghdatis and Jo Wilfried Tsonga -- each of whom advanced to the Australian Open finals in 2006 and '08, respectively -- and Gilles Simon, who has been ranked as high as sixth in the world. In all, Drake defeated 12 players who have been ranked in the top 50 of the ATP world doubles rankings and won six ATP Challenger doubles titles. In addition, he was the top seed in "The Championships Wimbledon" doubles qualifying event in 2006.

Drake began playing on the Futures Tour in 2004, earning an ATP ranking in both singles and doubles play in his first year on tour.

A 2003 Brown graduate with a degree in modern American history, Drake was a two-time unanimous selection to the 2002 and ???03 All-Ivy teams. He was a two-time captain, leading the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances each year he captained the squad, plus guided the team to its first Ivy League title in the program's history in 2002. The two-time Academic All-Ivy performer was the 2003 ITA Region I Rafael Osuna Award winner, given to a player who displays sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and has outstanding tennis accomplishments."

Drake is replacing Chuck Kinyon, who retired after 30 years at Dartmouth, 27 of which were spent as the head coach of men's tennis.