Over the past seven years, the Vanderbilt women's tennis program
has gone from a .500 program to competing for a national championship.
There is no coincidence that the turnaround occurred over the seven-year
period since Geoff Macdonald took over the program. One of the top
coaches in the country, Macdonald has transformed the program into
one known for players' rapid improvement, commitment to coaching
and an unrivaled academic excellence.
type of success is not new to Macdonald. He has built similar programs
at academic institutions like Duke and Louisiana State. Yet it has
been at Vanderbilt where he has had some of his finest moments as
a coach, including leading last year's squad to the NCAA finals.
Before Macdonald, Vanderbilt had never been ranked higher than
No. 28 in the nation. Under his guidance, the Commodores have finished
no lower than No. 15 in each of the past five years including a
school record No. 4 ranking at the end of the 2001 season. Vanderbilt
has ranked in the top three of the prestigious Southeastern Conference
four of the past five years with several nationally ranked players
and doubles teams.
year, Macdonald led the Commodores to one of the most successful
seasons in the history of any Vanderbilt athletic squad. When the
Commodores took to the courts against Stanford last May, it was
the first time any Vanderbilt team played for a national championship.
The squad ended the season with a 26-5 record and a No. 4 national
ranking while three singles players and two doubles teams to the
NCAA championships. In Macdonald's first year at Vanderbilt, the
Commodores proved that they had quickly developed into an elite
team. They finished the year 16-8, including an 8-3 mark in the
SEC, and advanced to the NCAA Championships Team Tournament for
the first time in school history. Once Vanderbilt began its rise
to the top, the achievements kept coming. In 1996, the Commodores
posted a 24-7 record, finished second in the SEC, advanced to the
SEC Tournament Championship match for the first time ever and once
again, earned a berth in the NCAA Championships, advancing to the
Round of 16. The team's 24 wins were the third most in the nation
that year, following only Duke and 1996 national champion Florida.
In 2000, Macdonald led his Commodores through the third best season
in Vanderbilt history. The team finished No. 11 in the rankings
with four singles and one doubles team ranked as well. Vanderbilt
advanced to the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth
time in six years and three Commodores competed in the Singles and
Doubles Champion-ships. Following the season, Macdonald earned his
third conference Coach of the Year honors, following one at LSU
and another at Duke.
"If a student-athlete wants the best of everything, then they should
come to Vanderbilt," he said. "They receive plenty of individual
attention here on the court, while Vanderbilt can also offer the
best academics, facilities, conference and put forth an unparalleled
Macdonald's coaching philosophy is a simple one-its foundation
is hard work with each player receiving hours of individual attention
each week. Macdonald's method have paid tremendous dividends; in
his 12 years as a head coach, he has developed ten All-American
players, including an individual and doubles team last season.
In Macdonald's 13 years of collegiate coaching, he has earned an
outstanding 257-90 match record and is one of the top coaches in
Macdonald began his collegiate coaching career in 1988 at Louisiana
State. He spent three years with the Tigers, during which he managed
to reverse the program's fortunes. He inherited a team which had
finished last in the SEC prior to his arrival, and he took them
to the NCAA Championships as the No. 13 seed in just three years.
Following the Tigers' 1991 season, he was named the SEC Coach of
the Year. The NCAA berth was the first in school history for LSU.
As a player at the University of Virginia, Macdonald capped off
a successful collegiate career by winning the ACC singles title
in 1981. He advanced to the NCAA Championships, where he defeated
David Pate in the first round.
Macdonald was named the ACC's Most Valuable Player and also won
the league's Sportsmanship Award. He finished second to basketball
great Ralph Sampson in the Athlete of the Year voting at UVA in
After his career at UVA came to an end, Macdonald played professionally
for three years. He achieved ATP rankings of No. 200 in the world
in singles and No. 130 in the world in doubles while winning tournaments
on four continents. During his playing career, Macdonald scored
wins over David Pate, Wally Masur, Jacob Hlasek and Juan Aguilera.
He also gained Grand Slam experience, playing in the United States
Open. Among his victories was the Florida State Closed Men's Singles
Following his pro playing career, Macdonald became a private instructor,
a position he held until being offered the LSU job in 1988. Macdonald
believes the climate at Vanderbilt is ripe to produce national championship
"All the elements are here for a player to have the greatest experience
of her life. She can get a world-class education, become a great
tennis player and develop into the best possible person."
Macdonald is married to the former Kate Daniels, an Associate Professor
of English at Vanderbilt, who has also taught at Wake Forest, LSU,
Virginia, UMass and Bennington College. They have three children
- Sam, age 16, Gus, 11, and Jane, eight.
Vanderbilt Coaching Statistics
-Led Vanderbilt to the Finals of the NCAA Championships in 2001
-Of his 13 scholarship recruits so far, ten have earned an ITA ranking.
-Took Commodores to first NCAA Championship in school history in
-Since 1995, has taken Vanderbilt to seven consecutive NCAA tournaments.
-VU's 26 wins in 2001 is a school record
-In his first five years at Vanderbilt, Macdonald's teams won more
matches than the previous 11 teams did prior to his arrival.
-Named 2000 SEC Coach of the Year
Duke University (1991-1994)
-Led Duke to first NCAA Final Four appearance
-Led Duke to 1992, 1993 and 1994 ACC titles
-Named 1992 ACC Coach of the Year
Louisiana State University (1988-1991)
-Named SEC Coach of the Year oLed LSU to its first ever NCAA team
-Took over team that was last in SEC and earned a No. 13 seed in
NCAA Championships three years later
As a Player (1978-1984)
-1981 NCAA Tournament selection
-1981 ACC Singles Champion at Univeristy of Virginia
-1981 ACC Most Valuable Player
-Winner of the ACC Sportmanship Award
-Competed on ATP Tour (1981-1984), World Top 200 ranking
-Competed at 1982 U.S. Open