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Jeff Zinn is heading into his fourth year as the head coach of the Penn State men’s tennis program. Zinn is 56-52 at Penn State and 287-209 in 19 years of coaching.
Last year, Zinn and the Nittany Lions went 15-15 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten. Penn State made it to the first round of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament.
Penn State went 22-6 in spring 2014 and went 8-3 in the Big Ten. Both of those marks set new program records for wins. The Nittany Lions also set school records for wins against ranked opponents with 11 and road wins against ranked opponents with five.
Penn State finished in the ITA Top 25 for the first time in program history after entering the Top 25 for the first time in program history on March 25, 2014 and were ranked among the Top 25 for the final seven weeks, including a highest ranking of 16.
The Nittany Lions earned the sixth NCAA Tournament bid in program history in the 2013-14 season. They went to the Charlottesville Regional, where they defeated No. 50 UNC Wilmington, 4-2, in the First Round. In the second round, they fell 4-1 to No. 4 Virginia.
The Nittany Lions finished Zinn’s second year as head coach with an 8-17 record. Penn State faced 19 teams that were ranked at some point during the season, including three wins against ranked opponents. Penn State was ranked for two weeks, March 5-19, and reached as high as No. 69. It was Penn State’s first appearance in the ITA Poll since March 8, 2011.
In his first campaign, Penn State went 11-14, 1-10 in the Big Ten. The squad went 10-4 during non-conference play, highlighted by a 4-3 home victory over #63 Princeton. In 2012, Jason Lee and Russell Bader put together one of the top doubles performances in program history, going 14-1 on the year and 6-0 against ranked opponents. The duo advanced to the NCAA Doubles Championships, where they were defeated by #10 Oklahoma’s doubles team. Bader and Lee finished the season ranked 28th in the final ITA Doubles Poll. Bader won a total of 24 doubles matches on the season, ranking third in program history for most doubles wins in a season.
Zinn came to Penn State after spending the 15 seasons with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Zinn’s career record speaks for itself, as he posted a superb 231-157 record while at Wake Forest, including a 78-62 record in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference. The Demon Deacons made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a streak of 11 consecutive seasons. Before Zinn’s arrival, Wake Forest had never made the NCAA Tournament.
Zinn is credited with pushing the Wake Forest team from a perennial top-75 squad to a top-25 team. He also transformed the Demon Deacons into a top tier club in the ACC and NCAA. Under Zinn’s guidance, Wake Forest finished among the top four in the ACC seven times in his last 11 years there. The Deacons reached at least the semifinals of the ACC Championships for four straight years from 2007 to 2010, the longest such streak in the school’s rich tennis history. In 2011, Wake Forest posted a 14-12 record under Zinn’s watch, notching his 11th straight winning season. He led the Demon Deacons to 10 wins against nationally ranked opponents, including a 4-0 win over No. 30 Wisconsin to open the season and a 4-0 victory against No. 46 Virginia Commonwalth in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
In 2008, Zinn led two players to the school’s first ever individual NCAA Championship as the duo claimed the NCAA’s Division I doubles title and became first team All-Americans. During Zinn’s 15 years at Wake, his players collected 23 All-ACC honors. The school had only 12 all-conference players in the 42 years prior to his arrival.
The 1984 Cincinnati graduate continued his head coaching career as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, where he was named the 1994 Sun Belt Coach of the Year and led Arkansas-Little Rock to the NCAA tournament in 1995 and 1996. He was also the 1992 Sun Belt Coach of the Year for his work with the Arkansas-Little Rock women’s team. He coached in Little Rock for six seasons, amassing a combined 133-88 record, including a 79-48 mark with the men.
Zinn’s collegiate coaching career began at Northern Kentucky where he coached for one year (1990). In just one season, he led Northern Kentucky to a conference championship, earning conference Coach of the Year honors. Prior to his season at Northern Kentucky, he spent seven years as the Director of Tennis at the West Side Racquet Club in Cincinnati.
An outstanding collegiate player himself, Zinn played number one singles and doubles at Eastern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Serving as the Bearcat captain, he was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player as both a junior and senior. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in ‘84. Zinn then went on to earn his master’s degree in public administration from Arkansas-Little Rock in 1994 and worked as an adjunct professor in the sociology department. He is certified by both the USPTA and the USPTR.
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