Both SIU tennis teams to be led by one head coach


By Ted Ward

Following a year when the university considered cutting its tennis programs, SIU women’s tennis coach Audra Anderson will have her hands full with an extra team this upcoming season.

Anderson will now coach the men’s and women’s programs as SIU’s Director of Tennis Operations, the university announced today.

The move comes after men’s tennis coach Dann Nelson on Thursday accepted the head coaching position at Texas Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Texas.


Then-SIU men's tennis coach Dann Nelson draws a diagram for his players Sept. 17, 2013 during practice at University Courts. ( file photo)
Then-SIU men’s tennis coach Dann Nelson draws a diagram for his players Sept. 17, 2013 during practice at University Courts. ( file photo)

Nelson leaves as the second all-time winningest coach in program history, with 122 victories across 11 seasons. He coached the Salukis to a share of the conference title last season with a 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference showing.

The change also comes after a semester when SIU President Randy Dunn said the tennis programs may be on the chopping block in response to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

But in late April, Director of Athletics Tommy Bell said the teams will be around for at least this upcoming season.

In Anderson, the men’s and women’s tennis programs retain an accomplished coach. Her teams have posted winning records in seven of the last nine seasons.

In MVC play, the Salukis are 44-22, placing third or better in six seasons.

MORE: Tennis coach talks immigration, transferring and his final countdown as a Saluki

During Anderson’s time as the women’s coach, eight players were named to all-conference honors in singles play and four doubles teams gained all-conference honors.


“This is an exciting time as both teams have just come off great seasons and have nearly everyone returning,” Anderson said. “I can’t ask for a better scenario.”

It’s unclear if Anderson will make more money in her new position.

Former Saluki tennis standout Jonny Rigby will serve as a graduate assistant for both teams.

Rigby finished his four years in a Saluki uniform last season with the second-most combined singles and doubles wins in program history with 144.

Staff writer Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TedWard_DE.

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