Aug. 6, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's tennis head coach Bruce Berque announced Friday (Aug. 5) the hiring of Mark Merklein as the new assistant coach for the Wolverine program. Merklein spent the last six years as a national coach for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Player Development Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
I'm very excited that Mark has decided to join our program here at the University of Michigan," Berque said. "Mark was undoubtedly the hardest worker that I have ever coached. He brings with him tremendous success, both collegiately and professionally. His coaching experience and ability to relate to our players will no doubt provide a big boost in our goal to elevate this program to be one of the very best in the country."
"I am looking forward to working alongside Bruce and taking Michigan to the top of college tennis," Merklein said. "We have our sights on some lofty goals and we are very excited to get started on the journey."
Merklein is a former ATP tour professional, competing from 1994-2005. He achieved career-high rankings of No. 35 (doubles) and No. 160 (singles) in the world, capturing four doubles titles during his career. Merklein coached tennis professional James Blake (ranked as high as No. 4 in the world) for two years, and was responsible for Blake's complete fitness and nutrition program in addition to coaching.
Merklein played at the University of Florida from 1990-94. He was joined in Gainesville by Berque, who was an assistant coach for the Gators from 1990-96. Berque coached Merklein during his four years at Florida, and then joined him on the professional circuit for two years after his eligibility expired.
As a member of the Gators' men's tennis team, Merklein won the NCAA doubles championship in 1993, following that up with an NCAA singles championship in 1994. He was a four-time NCAA All-American at Florida, and was the 1994 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Merklein returned to Gainesville in 1998, serving as a volunteer coach for the Gators until 2000. He was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame in 2005.
Merklein also has international playing experience, competing for the Bahamas at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia (quarterfinalist), and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He also played for the Bahamas' Davis Cup team from 1999 to 2005.
Merklein, 39, and his wife, Giulia, have two daughters, Gina (18 months) and Olivia (three months).
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423