DALLAS (SMU) – Grant Chen has been named Head Men’s Tennis Coach at SMU, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced Tuesday, June 5.
“My wife and I are excited for this new chapter in our life as we move to Dallas and join the SMU family,” said Chen. “We share the same vision for SMU Tennis and are excited about this opportunity to grow the program. I’d like to say a special thank you to President Turner, Director of Athletics Rick Hart and Deputy Director of Athletics Kurt Pottkotter for giving me this amazing opportunity to lead the men’s program.
“The SMU Tennis Complex is, in my opinion, the premier tennis facility in the country and we are excited to showcase it to the world with elite-level training and competition. The SMU campus is a beautiful place to be and the Mustang community is unlike any other. Pony Up!”
“As we went through this process, Grant’s name kept coming up from a variety of sources,” said Hart. “It was very clear that he is a rising star in the tennis community and would bring great energy and work ethic to the job, in addition to being a great teacher and recruiter. With the investments we have made in our tennis program and facilities in recent years, we expect to compete for national championships, and that is an expectation Grant embraces. I have no doubt that we will quickly return to our position as one of the nation’s elite tennis programs with Grant at the helm.
“I want to thank our SMU tennis alumni and supporters, our Faculty Athletic Representative Paul Rogers, Chair of the Athletic Council Dan Orlovsky and Assistant A.D. Susan Vollmerhausen for their participation and support in the search. I also want to thank and congratulate Kurt Pottkotter for leading this successful search.”
Chen comes to the Hilltop from UCLA, where he served Bruin Head Coach Billy Martin for over 15 years in a multitude of roles, ranging from team manager to associate head coach.
For the past three seasons, Chen has served as Associate Head Coach, and, prior to that, he served as Assistant Coach for three years. During Chen’s six seasons on Martin’s coaching staff, the Bruins registered a 149-28 record (.842) and reached the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships five times. This past season, UCLA posted its third semifinal-round appearance of the stretch and totaled 30 wins for the first time in Martin’s tenure. The Bruins also collected four Pac-12 regular-season titles and three tournament trophies during Chen’s time on staff.
Chen got his start with the Bruins as a student manager in 2001, as he played a pivotal role in the organization and growth of Martin’s annual on-campus summer camp while fulfilling necessary off-court duties. The Bruins captured the NCAA title in 2005, Chen’s penultimate year in the role. Chen’s jack-of-all-trades skillset resulted in his hiring as Director of Operations upon his graduation from UCLA in 2006. He handled logistics, travel, equipment and management of all home events, including ITA Kick-Off Weekend, NCAA Regionals and the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships.
A fixture in the tennis community both at home and abroad, Chen currently serves on the board of directors for ITA and USTA Southern California. A busy summer 2017 saw Chen guide Team Southern California to the title at the USTA Boys National Team Championships in Champaign, Ill., before leading Team USA and the mixed doubles duo of Bruins Jada Hart and Logan Staggs to a bronze medal at the 29th Summer Universiade in Taipei. Chen briefly ventured into a role with Pure Sports Management in 2007, but maintained his ties to UCLA as head coach of its club tennis team.