A preview of the U-M women's tennis team's season, which kicks back up this weekend at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor.
Ronni Bernstein is in her sixth season as head coach of the University of Michigan women's tennis program in 2012-13. Bernstein has a wealth of experience, having achieved great success as an All-American collegiate player, touring professional, private instructor and head coach.
Bernstein has made a significant impact since arriving in Ann Arbor, compiling an overall record of 106-31 (.774) while winning three straight Big Ten Championships (2010, '11, '12). The Wolverines have gone 48-3 in Big Ten action during Bernstein's tenure.
The Wolverines have strung together the best three-year span in program history from 2010-12, posting three straight seasons with 20-plus wins, including similar 24-5 records in 2010 and 2011, while winning three Big Ten championships. For her efforts, Bernstein garnered Big Ten Coach of the Year in all three seasons and was twice named ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year (2010, '11).
U-M has claimed the bulk of the Big Ten specialty awards for the past three seasons, as Denise Muresan won back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year honors (2010, 11) while Mimi Nguyen (2010), Brooke Bolender (2011) and Emina Bektas (2012) have been named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in successive seasons. Whitney Taney (2010, 2011), Sam Critser (2011) and Sarah Lee (2012) have also earned All-Big Ten honors during this time.
Michigan made its third consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2012, ending the year as the No. 14-ranked team in the country. The Wolverines compiled a 21-8 record,going 10-1 in Big Ten Conference play to capture its third consecutive league title. Bektas became the first Wolverine rookie to earn All-America honors in singles.
The Wolverines ended 2011 as the No. 10-ranked team in the country, going 24-5 (10-0 Big Ten) while hosting the ITA Kick-Off, the Big Ten Championships and an NCAA Regional at the Varsity Tennis Center. Muresan became the first Wolverine to ever win All-America honors in both singles and doubles in the same year, ending the year ranked No. 6 in singles and No. 11 in doubles. Bolender also earned All-America status in doubles, the first freshman to garner the accolade.
In 2010, the Wolverines shot up in the rankings all season, earning a program-best mark of No. 3 following U-M's first win over Northwestern since 1997. U-M, which went 24-5 (10-0 Big Ten), made its first-ever appearance at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and knocked off its first top-10 opponent in Miami at the tournament. The Maize and Blue ended the year with a No. 8 ranking, the highest season-ending ranking ever. Muresan, Taney and Rika Tatsuno all participated in the NCAA Individual Championships. Muresan became the second player in school history to earn All-America honors after finishing the season ranked No. 18.
In her first two years in Ann Arbor, she guided the Wolverines to a pair of runner-up finishes at the Big Ten Tournament, as well as two second-round appearances at the NCAA Championship. Chisako Sugiyama (2005-08) earned back-to-back trips to the NCAA Singles Championship under Bernstein's tutelage, becoming just the third player in program history to make two appearances at the national tournament twice in a career.
Bernstein arrived at Michigan after a decorated 10-year head coaching career at Florida International University (Miami, Fla.) from 1997-2007. The winningest and longest-tenured head coach in the history of the FIU women's tennis program, Bernstein compiled a career record of 165-71 (.699) as the leader of the Golden Panthers. She guided Florida International to the Sun Belt Conference tournament title in each of her final three seasons, and FIU earned a bid to the NCAA Championship in five of her final seven years.
The four-time Sun Belt Coach of the Year had her most successful campaign in 2000-01, when the Golden Panthers finished with a program-best 23-3 record and made their first-ever NCAA appearance. Florida International put together an 18-match winning streak during the year, and a 4-0 victory over Penn State in the opening round of the NCAA Championship gave the school its first-ever win at the national tournament. FIU knocked off 11-of-14 nationally-ranked opponents en route to its program-best No. 24 final national ranking. The Golden Panthers were listed as high as No. 16 that season. Bernstein also helped Anneliese Rose secure the program's first-ever invitation to the NCAA Singles Championship. One year later, Bernstein's team finished with an 18-7 record and was rewarded with its second straight NCAA berth. Florida International reeled off wins against eight nationally-ranked opponents, including a 4-3 upset triumph over No. 9 Tennessee, and finished the season ranked No. 38 in the country.
FIU returned to the NCAA Championship in 2005, recording a 4-2 first-round victory over Florida State. The Golden Panthers found themselves in the postseason after claiming their first-ever Sun Belt tournament championship, leading to Bernstein's first career conference Coach of the Year accolade. Concluding the year with a 19-6 record, Florida International's No. 32 final national ranking was the second-highest in program history. Paula Zabala also earned FIU's second-ever bid to the NCAA Singles Championship, capping off another stellar season for the Golden Panthers.
A native of Miami, Bernstein joined the Florida International coaching staff as an assistant in August of 1995 and was promoted to associate head coach after one season. She accepted the head coaching position in May of 1997.
Bernstein was a four-time ITA All-American in both singles and doubles during her illustrious collegiate career at the University of Miami (Fla.) from 1984-88. She was named the NCAA Senior Player of the Year in 1988 after reaching the finals in doubles and semifinals in singles at the national tournament. As a sophomore in 1985-86, Bernstein (then Reis) teamed with Lise Gregory to win both the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor and NCAA doubles titles en route to finishing the year with an undefeated record of 29-0. Bernstein compiled impressive career marks of 103-21 (.831) in singles (second all-time at Miami) and 89-11 (.890) in doubles (eighth all-time) while helping the Hurricanes consistently finish among the top five of the national rankings. Miami put together a combined record of 85-23 during Bernstein's career, earning a runner-up finish at the 1985 NCAA Championship before making a semifinal appearance at the national tournament in 1986.
Among her other credits, Bernstein claimed the doubles gold medal at the 1985 Pan American Games, the doubles bronze medal at the 1986 Goodwill Games and she was a triple gold medalist at the 1985 Maccabiah Games. She was also named by Tennis Magazine as a member of its Collegiate All-Star team in 1986, '87 and '88 and was selected to the USTA Federation Cup team those same years. In 2000, Bernstein was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
After receiving her bachelor's degree in business management from Miami in 1988, Bernstein played professionally on the WTA Tour for two years, achieving career-high world rankings of No. 30 in doubles and No. 78 in singles in 1989. That same year, she was named Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year for Domino's Team Tennis. Bernstein was also a two-time Virginia Slims of Puerto Rico doubles champion (1987, '89), a Virginia Slims of Aptos, Calif., doubles champion (1988) and a Virginia Slims of Wichita, Kan., singles semifinalist (1989) during her pro career.
Bernstein returned to the collegiate ranks in 1990, when she served as an assistant coach at Arizona State University. That year, the Sun Devils posted a record of 19-10 and finished ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Bernstein captured the 1984 Florida state singles championship as a senior at Miami Sunset Senior High School. She was also the 1984 USTA Florida State Closed singles champion and was ranked No. 1 in the state during her last year of juniors.
Bernstein and her husband, Morty, have three children, sons Max (13) and Jake (9) and daughter Hannah (7).
THE RONNI BERNSTEIN FILE Born: May 10, 1966 Hometown: Miami, Florida High School: Miami Sunset Senior College: Miami (Fla.), 1988 Bachelor's Degree: Business Management Family: Married, husband Morty; children Max (13), Jake (9), Hannah (7)
Collegiate Coaching Experience: University of Michigan (Head Coach), 2007-present. Florida International University (Head Coach), 1997-2007. Florida International University (Associate Head Coach), 1996-97. Florida International University (Assistant Coach), 1995-96. Arizona State University (Assistant Coach), 1990-91.
Professional Playing Experience: WTA Tour, 1988-1990.
Collegiate Playing Experience: University of Miami (Fla.), 1984-88.
Collegiate Coaching Highlights Coached Michigan to five NCAA Championship appearances (2008-12) Coached U-M to three Big Ten championships (2010, 2011, 2012) Guided U-M to its highest-ever ranking (No. 3) and highest year-end ranking (No. 8) in 2010 Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012) Two-timeITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year (2010, 2011) Coached Big Ten Player of the Year (2010, 2011) and Freshman of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012) Coached three U-M players to five All-America honors Coached nine U-M players to 14 all-conference nominations Coached 10 U-M players that have earned 20 academic all-conference nominations Four-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (2000, '05-07) Coached Florida International to three Sun Belt Conference tournament championships (2005-07) Coached Florida International to five NCAA Championship appearances (2001-02, '05-07) Coached two FIU NCAA singles qualifiers (2001, '05) and one FIU NCAA doubles qualifier (2006) Coached eight FIU singles players to 14 all-conference nominations Coached three FIU doubles teams to five all-conference nominations Coached 21 FIU players that have earned 37 academic all-conference nominations Florida International's Presidential Excellence Award winner (2007)
Professional Playing Highlights Achieved career-high WTA world rankings of No. 30 in doubles (1989) and No. 78 in singles (1989) Domino's Team Tennis Player of the Year (1989) Domino's Team Tennis Rookie of the Year (1989) Two-time Virginia Slims of Puerto Rico doubles champion (1987, '89) Virginia Slims of Aptos, Calif., doubles champion (1988) Virginia Slims of Wichita, Kan., singles semifinalist (1989)
Collegiate Playing Highlights NCAA Senior Player of the Year (1988) Four-time ITA All-American in singles and doubles (1985-88) NCAA doubles champion (1986) NCAA doubles finalist and singles semifinalist (1988) ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor doubles champion (1986) Compiled career records of 103-21 (.831) in singles and 89-11 (.890) in doubles Three-time Tennis Magazine Collegiate All-Star (1985-87) Three-time USTA Junior Federation Cup team member (1985-87) Pan American Games gold medalist in doubles (1985) Goodwill Games bronze medalist in doubles (1986) Maccabiah Games triple gold medalist (1985) University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame inductee (2000)
Collegiate Coaching Record
NCAA Second Round
NCAA First Round
NCAA Second Round
NCAA Second Round
NCAA First Round
NCAA Second Round
NCAA Second Round
NCAA Sweet 16
NCAA Sweet 16
NCAA Sweet 16
*Florida International was a member of the Trans America Athletic Conference (now Atlantic Sun) during Bernstein's first season before moving to the Sun Belt Conference at the start of the 1998-99 season. Neither conference keeps league records, thus the conference tournament decides the league champion.