Illinois Fighting Illini women's tennis head coach, Evan Clark, announced that Melissa Kopinski will reinforce his coaching staff, signing her as the new assistant coach. Kopinski, who is a former Illini All-American, spent the last 2 seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Texas Tech University, and now she is heading back home to start a new journey in her coaching career. She helped Texas Tech Red Raiders to finish 2016-17 season as the leading Big 12 Conference team, with an 8-1 Conference record, also advancing to the last 8 in the NCAA Championships.
Palos Hills, Illinois native, had an amazing season in 2013 with Rachael White, reaching the NCAA Doubles quarter-final and finishing the season ranked 15th on the ITA/Oracle ranking list. Also, they scored 28 doubles wins that season, which makes them the 7th most successful pair in terms of the win in the single season.
Melissa ended her career at Illinois with 88 doubles wins, the third best result in program history and she was named the Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week twice during her senior year. This 24-year-old was ranked 522nd on the WTA doubles list in April, advancing to 3 ITF finals.
"I am thrilled to welcome back Melissa to the Illini family," said head coach Evan Clark. "She understands what a special place the University of Illinois is and she brings an unmatched level of passion towards seeing our program succeed.
Melissa is one of the most decorated players in Illinois women's tennis history and I know she is equally excited to be given the opportunity to leave her mark as a coach. Our program is on the cusp of doing great things and with her experience at Texas Tech we know that will only translate into helping our program take the next step.
Above all, Melissa is a tremendous person with high character qualities. I know she will set a positive and professional example for our team on a daily basis. We are excited to her back to the orange and blue."
"I am so excited to be returning to Champaign," said Kopinski. "Coach Clark has done a phenomenal job these past few years building this program and I am extremely eager to continue that as an assistant coach."SOURCE: CLARK ADDS KOPINSKI TO FIGHTING ILLINI STAFF ALSO READ: Tulane promotes Mark Booras to Director of Tennis