By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
The question was never, ‘Will Michael Woodson be Baylor’s next men’s tennis head coach?”, but, “When will Michael Woodson be named Baylor’s next men’s tennis head coach?” The question has been answered. Woodson can officially scratch the interim title after being named the Bears’ 10th head coach in program history on May 6.
“Baylor means so much to my family and I. We have had five incredible years here and are so blessed to call Waco home now and into the future,” Woodson said. “I want to thank Mack Rhoades, Kenny Boyd and the entire administrative team for their consistent trust and support throughout this transition. To be named head coach at such a prestigious private institution, with undoubtedly the strongest athletic department in the nation, is both humbling and inspiring. I am beyond excited to settle into my new role with the team and work hard to continue all of the positive momentum we have built.”
Woodson served as interim head coach until this point in the 2020-21 season, leading Baylor men’s tennis to a 29-4 record, a shared regular season conference title and an outright victory in the Big 12 Tournament, as well as a No. 1 national ranking and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“Michael has done a tremendous job leading the men’s tennis program as our interim head coach, both on and off the court, and we’re excited to officially name him our head coach,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said. “Michael’s leadership has helped the team win Big 12 regular season and tournament championships and reach a No. 1 national ranking, and he’s fully embraced our mission of Preparing Champions for Life. We look forward to watching the program’s continued growth under his direction.”
Under Woodson this season, Baylor reached the 2021 ITA National Indoor Championship finals for the first time since 2005, where they ultimately fell to then-No. 2 North Carolina. The Bears have put up a 14-4 record over ranked opponents and a 13-4 mark against top-25 teams. On top of Baylor’s No. 1 ranking, the Bears also two had players ranked in the ITA top-125, No.11 senior Matias Soto and No. 28 junior Adrian Boitan. Upperclassmen Constantin Frantzen and Sven Lah hold the No.14 spot in doubles rankings, followed by Soto and upperclassman Nick Stachowiak at No.75. Lah and grad transfer Charlie Broom are also ranked at No.88.
Woodson had been a part of Baylor’s staff since August 2016. He was associate head coach prior to taking over the interim position. He first arrived as an assistant coach after four years on Valparaiso’s coaching staff, where he also played his collegiate career. Woodson’s Crusaders racked up a 73-34 record during his time there as an assistant. He had five players earn first-team All-Horizon League honors and 19 Player of the Week awards.
In his five years at Baylor, the Bears have built up an 111-31 record (a winning percentage of .781). Just a few weeks ago, Woodson saw Frantzen, a player who arrived in Waco on the exact same day he did, break the record for most doubles wins in program history, tallying up his 105th victory on April 13 to pass 2004 NCAA singles champion Benjamin Becker for the accolade.
The Bears have also continued their academic excellence under Woodson, garnering 17 ITA Scholar-Athlete wards and three ITA Scholar-Athlete team awards during his time at Baylor.