Eskridge Named 2013 USTA South Carolina Coach of the Year

ANDERSON, S.C. – After one of the most successful seasons in Anderson University men’s and women’s tennis history, head coach Joey Eskridge has been named the 2013 United States Tennis Association South Carolina Coach of the Year, announced Monday by the USTA.

After being named to the state’s professional player of the year in 2008, Eskridge accomplished the rare feat of earning both awards. An award a professional or coach can win once it their respective careers; Eskridge becomes the first person to win both awards since the coach of the year award was established in 1983.

The men’s and women’s teams combined for 23 wins a year ago, highlighted by the women’s tennis team’s run to the South Atlantic Conference championship match against Wingate. Last season, Avery Owens, Karen Ching, of the women’s team and Jerome Branker and Abdoulaye Camara on the men’s side earned all-conference accolades.

Away from collegiate tennis, Eskridge has worked with youth players from across the state and helped develop those players in individual champions. The AU coach has worked with current, top rated high school players within the Upstate, who have gone on to have successful careers at state tournaments.

“He has been responsible for many junior players getting to the highest level of college tennis,” said John Boetsch, associate head coach at Clemson University. “Joey is and has been a huge asset for tennis and will continue to be for many years to come.”

During his time at AU, Eskridge has coached two All-Americans, maintained a top-10 region ranking and a top-30 ranking with the men’s program. In 2012, the women’s team earned its first national ranking in the school’s history, en route to its third consecutive winning season in 2013.

“I’m honored,” Eskridge said. “There are a lot of coaches that have had better records, but we did have a successful year with the men’s and women’s programs, so overall, I feel honored.”

Eskridge has served as chairman of player development for the USTA and as a high performance coach for the South Carolina Tennis Association for five years. He is a national tester for the Professional Tennis Registry and has developed several outstanding junior players in addition to working with WTA players. Also, Eskridge coached Southern Junior Cup for four years and South Carolina never finished outside the top five while he was the coach.

Prior to his time as a coach, Eskridge played at T.L. Hanna High School and later as a walk-on at Winthrop University under head coach Cid Carvalho. After his playing years, Eskridge was named an assistant coach for the Eagles before moving to Hilton Head, S.C. to become a professional at the South Beach Racquet Club and Van Der Meer Tennis University where he eventually became the youngest professional player at the club.

Later in his playing career, Eskridge captained and led two national championship teams at the 5.5 USTA level. He was also a lead component in starting the Charleston Pro Tennis League where he captained a team that eventually won a league title.

Eskridge will receive his award on Dec. 7 at the USTA SC’s Award Luncheon held at the Wild Dunes Resort at the Isle of Palms. The Winthrop grad will join 22 other members of the USTA in receiving awards during the afternoon.

Eskridge looks to lead his teams to double-digit wins once again in 2014 as both programs begin their respective season in early February.

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