By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
After 22 years, Baylor men’s tennis head coach Matt Knoll has resigned from the program.
Knoll made the announcement on Sunday, just a day after the Bears’ season ended with a 4-1 loss to No. 5 Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament second round.
Knoll said that he has treasured his time at Baylor, but is seeking a new adventure.
“After 22 years leading the Baylor tennis program, I’ve decided to step down to pursue a new challenge,” Knoll said. “Working with world class student-athletes, coaches and administrators has been the joy of my life. Winning Baylor’s first team national championship is something to treasure forever. I look forward to watching the tradition of excellence continue.”
Knoll took over the program back in 1997, when Baylor first joined the Big 12 conference.
Knoll helped Baylor reach great heights during his tenure. In 22 years, he finished with a 510-150 record, including posting a 32-2 record while bringing the program its first National Championship with a 4-0 sweep of UCLA in 2004.
Although 2004, was the only title the Bears won under his helm, Baylor advanced to the National semifinals four others times, including the finals in 2005 where the Bruins got a revenge win, 4-3 agains Knoll’s Bears.
Baylor Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said that Knoll’s contributions to the program have been remarkable and that the university is committed to supporting both him and the program as they both move forward.
“Matt Knoll built the Baylor men’s tennis program into a national power and led it to unprecedented success,” Rhoades said. “He was integral in creating the world-class facilities we now have on campus with both the Hurd Tennis Center and the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, and we are grateful for his service. We are committed to ensuring the Baylor men’s tennis program continues to compete nationally at a championship level while upholding the standards of Preparing Champions for Life and the mission of Baylor University.”
Knoll was a three-time National Coach of the Year and helped lead Baylor to 12 regular season conference championships, including eight straight from 2002-2009 and seven Big 12 Tournament titles.
Since its last Big 12 championship in 2015, Baylor has slipped in conference play, finishing 1-4 in 2016, 2-3 in 2017 and 1-4 in 2018. The Bears finished 21-10 overall in 2018.
Knoll led Baylor to the NCAA Tournament all but his first year in Waco. He had previously coached at Northern Iowa, finishing 8-16 in 1994. He was inducted into the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018 and leaves a big hole to fill for the Bears moving forward.
The search for the ninth head coach in program history will span nation-wide and will begin immediately.