Head Coach Chris Garner
The 2011-12 season will be Chris Garner’s fifth at the helm of the Amherst men’s tennis team. Amherst began establishing itself as a national powerhouse as soon as Garner arrived on campus, but the Lord Jeffs took the program to new heights by winning its first-ever NCAA Championship title last spring. Amherst finished with an unprecedented 36-1 record as the top-ranked team in Division III and claimed its first NESCAC title since 1992, earning Garner his second Conference Coach of the Year honor.
After missing out on the NCAA tournament with a 10-9 overall record in his head coaching debut, Garner led his Jeffs to a 28-7 record and a first-ever appearance in the national title match in 2009. Amherst returned to the NCAA finals in 2010 and would finish with a 27-11 mark, as Garner’s teams have posted a 101-28 dual match record—including a 13-2 mark in NCAA Tournament play—in the past four years.
Garner brought to Amherst valuable experience as both a player and coach. He began his first season as assistant men’s tennis coach at Ohio State in 2005, and was instrumental in the Buckeyes going undefeated in Big Ten play en route to both the regular season and conference tournament championships. Ohio State returned as one of the best teams in the country in 2006, as Garner helped lead the team to a No. 3 national year-end ranking, again going undefeated in conference play and winning the Big Ten tournament.
Prior to Ohio State, Garner spent one season as an assistant coach at the University of Colorado, and five years prior to that as a private tennis coach. From 1998 to 2003 he trained players of all levels, ranging from beginners to some of the best players in the world.
Garner’s national dominance as a player began in 1983, when he was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in the 14-and-under age group. After earning the No. 1 national ranking in the 16-and-under group in 1984, he was ranked No. 3 in the country in the 18-and-under group from 1985 to 1986. Garner’s success earned him a spot on the U.S. Junior Davis Cup Team from 1985 to 1987, as he racked up 12 National Junior titles before moving on to the collegiate level.
The University of Georgia was fortunate to have Garner for the 1987-88 season, as he earned All-America honors as a Bulldog in 1988. He left Georgia and saw great success as a professional player, reaching the Round of 16 at the Australian Open in 1993. He picked up significant wins over several great players, including Patrick Rafter, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Pat McEnroe, earning an Association of Tennis Professionals singles ranking of 120 in 1991.
Garner and his wife, Monika, have two young sons, Luke and Finn, and a young daughter, Gigi.