Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year
Ramsey Smith is in his fifth season as the Duke men's tennis head coach. He was
announced as the 11th head coach in Duke men's tennis history in June, 2008.
Smith, a former Duke men's tennis standout, was on the Blue Devils' coaching
staff for three seasons as an assistant coach and associate head coach prior to
accepting the head coaching position. He started back at his alma mater in the
2005-06 season as an assistant coach. After just two seasons he was promoted to
associate head coach for the 2007-08 campaign.
In four seasons at the helm of the Duke program, Smith has compiled an 83-34
overall record and 34-10 ACC ledger with three 20-win seasons. He has taken the
Blue Devils to the NCAA Tournament in all four years, winning the first round
match each time. Under his watch, Duke has had one ITA National Doubles Team of
the Year, one ITA National Rookie of the Year, five All-Americas selections,
two ITA Regional Seniors of the Year, two ITA Regional Rookies of the Year, one
ACC Player of the Year, one ACC Rookie of the Year, seven All-ACC selections
and 16 named to the ACC All-Academic team.
under the direction of Smith, the Blue Devils finished the year 25-6 to match
the 1999 and 2000 squads for the second most wins in program history. The team
completed the season ranked eighth in the final ITA rankings for the highest
final team ranking since 2006. The Blue Devils advanced to the quarterfinals of
the NCAA Championship for the seventh time overall and the first time since
2001, while Henrique Cunha and Chris Mengel competed in the NCAA singles and
doubles championships. The squad also
concluded ACC play with a ledger of 9-2 to finish second in the final regular
season standings and reached the championship match of the ACC Tournament for
the third straight year, falling to Virginia by a 4-1 score. Both Cunha
and Mengel were selected to the All-ACC team, with Cunha picking up his third
consecutive all-conference honors. Fred Saba paced the squad with a 10-1 record
in ACC singles play, joining teammates Mengel and Luke Marchese as the only
Blue Devils in program history to reach the 10-wins mark.
In 2010-11 Smith led the Blue Devils to a 22-10 overall record, the school's
highest win total since 2006. Duke went 9-2 in ACC play to tie for second in
the conference and made the ACC Tournament finals for the second straight year.
Smith also guided his squad to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and the
semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. He coached three players
to 30-win seasons in singles, marking just the third time it has happened in
school history. Both Reid Carleton and Cunha received All-America honors in
singles and doubles. The two players advanced to the quarterfinals in the NCAA
doubles championships while Cunha also made the quarterfinals in singles and
Carleton the round of 64.
In 2009-10 Smith was named the ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year after
leading Duke to its best season since 2006 when he first came to Duke as an
assistant coach. The Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 and made the
finals of the ACC Tournament for the first time since winning the title in
2006. Overall Duke finished the season with a 20-9 record and was second in the
ACC with a 9-2 record. Smith coached Henrique Cunha to one of the best seasons
in school history earning ITA National Rookie of the Year and ACC Player of the
Year while earning the No. 1 seed in both singles and doubles at the NCAA
Championships. Cunha made the semifinals in singles and teamed with Reid
Carleton to earn All-America status by reaching the quarterfinals in doubles.
The duo was named the ITA National Doubles Team of the Year after ranking No. 1
in each of the final five polls.
In his first season as the Blue Devils' head coach, Smith guided Duke to a 16-9
record and 7-4 mark in the ACC. The first-year head coach turned things around
for the program, posting a .640 winning percentage after the team went 11-14
(.440) in 2007-08, its first losing season since 1970. The Blue Devils advanced
to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the year ranked No. 23
nationally. Kiril Dimitrov was named to the All-ACC squad.
Smith has excelled on the recruiting front in his four seasons. His first year
he brought in Cunha, who earned National Rookie of the Year honors. The second
class under Smith was the No. 1 rated recruiting class in 2010-11 according to
Tennisrecruiting.net. The three players in the class combined to win 62 singles
matches as freshmen, led by Mengel who went 33-11 and earned ITA Regional
Rookie of the Year honors. In the third signing class, Smith picked up his
second international recruit with Raphael Hemmeler coming from Switzerland and
also signed blue chip recruit Jason Tahir, a top-10 player from New York. The
two combined for 52 wins in singles as freshmen and Hemmeler won a team-high 30
matches in doubles. In his fourth class, Smith brought in the third ranked
recruiting class according to Tennisrecruiting.net. The class was headlined by
Michael Redlicki, a native of Chicago, who was a blue chip recruit ranked sixth
by Tennisrecruiting.net. Smith also signed his third international recruit with
Bruno Semenzato coming from Brazil.
During his three seasons as an assistant coach, Smith helped lead Duke to a
49-31 overall record and 23-10 mark in the ACC. Under his tutelage the Blue
Devils produced five All-Americas, eight All-ACC selections and one ACC
Tournament MVP in just three seasons. In the three seasons, Duke made the NCAA
Tournament each year, advancing as far as the round of 16 in 2006. That season
the Blue Devils also captured the ACC Tournament Championship with a 4-3 win
over Virginia after trailing 3-0 in the match. Led by five seniors, Duke was
ranked in the top-10 the entire 2006 season and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the
polls on two occasions.
Smith also started the Royal Blue Club while he was an assistant coach for
Duke, which is a Duke tennis fan club that gives special promotions for men's
and women's tennis matches. Smith has also helped the Blue Devils raise money
for new indoor and outdoor courts and scoreboards as well as a new video system
with cameras on all six indoor and outdoor courts.
A native of Hilton Head, S.C., Smith lettered four seasons at Duke from 1998-2001
and ranks second all-time in school history with 119 career singles victories.
He helped the Blue Devils to four-year records of 96-11 overall and an
undefeated 32-0 in conference regular season action. From 1998-2001 Duke
claimed four ACC Championships, four Top 10 national rankings and three NCAA
Tournament quarterfinal appearances. Smith finished his career with a 119-37
singles record and 103-47 doubles ledger. A staple in the ITA singles and
doubles rankings, Smith was ranked as high as No. 5 in singles in 2001 and No.
5 in doubles in 2000 with Doug Root. He was ranked in the top-10 in singles for
four consecutive rankings during his senior season.
Smith was a two-time All-America earning the honor in 2000 and 2001. He was
named All-ACC three times in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Smith was named the ACC
Tournament MVP in the 2000 and 2001 ACC Championship victories. In addition, he
was a two-time recipient of the Tennis Magazine/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award
and was named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.
After receiving his bachelor of arts degree in economics from Duke in 2001,
Smith played one year of professional tennis. He posted an ATP world ranking of
603 in singles and 723 in doubles before suffering a career-ending shoulder
injury in September of 2002. He reached the semifinals at Futures Tournaments
in Malibu, Calif., Chetumal, Mexico, and Little Rock, Ark.
Following his professional career, Smith worked with the Stan Smith Billy
Stearns Tennis Academy, where he served as a coach, camp organizer and academy
secretary for three years. He also spent three summers (2003-05) as a
full-time fly fishing guide with Alaska West Sportfishing.
Smith successfully completed the USTA High Performance Coaching Program in
Carson, Calif. in 2007 and is a USPTA certified Teaching Professional.
Born September 4, 1978, Ramsey and his wife Kathy currently reside in Durham.