Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Career Coaching Record: 128-47, 53-12 ACC ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year (2010, 2012)
Ramsey Smith enters his seventh season as the Duke men’s tennis head coach. He was named the 11th head coach in program history in June, 2008.
Smith, a former Duke men’s tennis standout, returned to his alma mater in the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach. He served on the Blue Devils’ coaching staff for three seasons as an assistant and associate head coach prior to accepting the head coaching position.
In six seasons at the helm of the Duke program, Smith has compiled an overall record of 128-47 and a 53-12 Atlantic Coast Conference ledger with five straight 20-win seasons. He has taken the Blue Devils to the NCAA Championship in each of his six seasons, 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, one ITA Arthur Ashe National Sportsmanship and Leadership Award winner, seven All-America selections, three ITA Regional Seniors of the Year, three ITA Regional Rookies of the Year, two ACC Players of the Year, one ACC Rookie of the Year, 13 All-ACC selections and 24 named to the ACC All-Academic team.
Duke posted a program-record 10 ACC victories in 2014, fueled by a nine-match win streak in conference play that began with a 4-3 upset of No. 9 Notre Dame and also included a win over No. 8 North Carolina in the season finale. Under Smith’s direction, the squad finished the year 20-7 and made the program’s 23rd consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, falling in the second round to Tennessee. Fred Saba and Jason Tahir both represented the Blue Devils in the NCAA Singles Championship, while Saba also eclipsed the 100-win milestone in singles during the spring and closed his collegiate career the program record holder in ACC singles victories with 35 over four seasons. He was joined by Tahir, Raphael Hemmeler and Bruno Semenzato in earning All-ACC recognition.
The Blue Devils finished the 2013 campaign 25-6 to match the 1999, 2000 and 2012 squads for the second most wins in program history. The team completed the season ranked seventh in the final ITA rankings for the highest final team ranking since the 2006 season. The Blue Devils advanced to the quarterfinals for the eighth time overall and the second consecutive season. Henrique Cunha, Saba and Michael Redlicki competed in the NCAA Singles Championships, while Cunha and Hemmeler as well as Redlicki and Tahir competed in the doubles competition. Cunha and Hemmeler reached the semifinals of the competition to earn All-America honors and concluded the season as the nation’s top-ranked duo. The squad completed the regular season second in the ACC standings with a 9-1 ledger and finished with an undefeated 15-0 mark at home for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign. Cunha, Saba and Redlicki were selected to the All-ACC team, with Cunha earning ACC Player of the Year recognition for the second time in his four seasons. Hemmeler paced the squad with 35 singles wins, including a team-leading 25 wins in the dual season. Chris Mengel was named to the All-ACC Academic Team for the third consecutive season as Duke led the conference in representatives on the All-ACC Academic Team.
In 2011-12, the Blue Devils finished the year 25-6 and completed the season ranked eighth in the final ITA poll. The team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2001, while Cunha and Mengel also competed in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Duke concluded ACC play with a 9-2 ledger to finish second in the final regular season standings and reached the championship match of the ACC Championship for the third straight year. Both Cunha and Mengel were selected to the All-ACC team and 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 Championship finals. Smith also guided his squad to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Championship 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. 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. Duke finished the season with a 20-9 record and was second in the ACC with a 9-2 record. Smith coached Cunha to one of the best seasons in school history, as he earned ITA National Rookie of the Year and ACC Player of the Year honors while receiving the No. 1 seed in both singles and doubles at the NCAA Championships. Cunha made the semifinals in singles and teamed with 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. He also signed his third international recruit with Bruno Semenzato coming from Brazil in 2012.
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-Americans, eight All-ACC selections and one ACC Tournament MVP in just 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.
Smith started the Royal Blue Club while he was an assistant coach for Duke, a Duke tennis fan club that gives special promotions for men’s and women’s 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 third 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 mark 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 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 with their daughter Sofie.