Matt Nielsen Tennis Head Coach University of Rochester
Matt Nielsen recently completed his 12th season in 2019-20 coaching the men's and women's tennis programs at the University of Rochester after being named head coach in 2008. Prior to being appointed head coach, he served as the assistant coach for both teams for five years.
In 12 years as head coach, Nielsen has coached the Yellowjackets to some of their greatest success in women’s program history. Rochester finished the 2009-10 season ranked #20 in the nation after finishing 4th at the UAA Championships, upsetting 14th-ranked Washington University in the first round. The Yellowjackets also received a national ranking during the 2010-11 campaign, finishing 5th in the conference. In 2016-17, UR returned to the national rankings, peaking as high as #35 in late April.
Under the tutelage of Nielsen, Rochester women have accounted for two ITA Northeast Regional Singles titles, three New York State Division III championships, four ITA All-American awards and nine All-UAA honors. In 2010, Frances Tseng earned both the UAA and ITA Northeast Regional Rookie of the Year Awards. Coach Nielsen has also had two players selected to compete in the NCAA Division III Singles Championships (Lia Weiner in 2011 and Frances Tseng in 2012).
The Rochester men have also progressed under the leadership of Nielsen. Over the past 12 seasons, the Yellowjackets have been consistently ranked in the competitive Northeast Region, reaching a high of #11 and also earning a national ranking of #32 during the 2018-19. Three Rochester doubles teams reached the semifinals of the ITA Northeast Regional Championships for three straight seasons from 2013-14 to 2016-17 and another did the same in 2019-20. UR has had five All-UAA selections during Nielsen's time leading the program, including Masaru Fujimaki who was a 1st Team All-UAA recipent at 1st singles.
Last season was shortened due to the pandemic, but Rochester had its successes. Yifan Shen was a men's 1st Team All-UAA selection at #2 singles, while Rola Abouzeina and Abbey Reinhart were 1st Team honorees at #2 doubles for the women. In the fall, Pasquale Procaccino and Sahaj Somani earned a spot in the ITA Regional Championship semifinals in doubles.
Along with the strong performance on the court, the Yellowjackets have seen much success in the classroom under Nielsen. Since the 2008-09 season, 106 players have earned the ITA Scholar-Athlete Award and many have been named to the UAA All-Academic Team. The women have earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award (average team GPA of 3.2 or above) every year, while the men have received the recognition ten times under Nielsen.
In the spring of 2016, Nielsen earned recognition from the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) as the Northeast Region Coach of the Year. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Collegiate Award from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Eastern Section which is given annually to a college team or coach for performance of community service and/or outstanding Tennis on campus contributions.
Nielsen's career record coaching the Rochester women is 111-95 (.539) while his men's teams have compiled a 114-126 mark (.475). He is second in Rochester tennis coaching history in both men's and women's victories.
Nielsen is a 2001 graduate of Penn State University with a baccalaureate degree in Kinesiology. During his time as a Nittany Lion, he played as high as 1st doubles and 2nd singles. He earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business in 2008.
The Rochester-area native was a nationally-recognized junior player. Nielsen earned a national ranking in the 14-, 16-, and 18-year old age groups, rising to his United States high ranking of #44. He was the 2002 Rochester District Singles Champion as well as a five-time men’s doubles and six-time mixed doubles district champion. Nielsen is a 1997 graduate of Honeoye Falls-Lima High School.
Margarita Kotok Tennis ASSISTANT Coach University of Rochester
Margarita Kotok joined the Rochester Tennis coaching staff in the 2017-18 season.
In her three seasons helping the program, Rochester's men and women have over 30 dual match victories. Kotok was named ITA Northeast Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year following the 2018-19 season in which UR started 9-0, the second best start to a season in school history. She has helped coach seven All-UAA honorees during her time.
Kotok came to the River Campus after a four-year playing career on the University at Buffalo tennis team. While playing for the Bulls, Kotok helped UB win the Mid-American Conference Championship in 2016-17 and reach the NCAA Division I Tournament. For her career, she accumulated a 61-34 singles record and 80-34 doubles record, ranking 8th in singles wins and 2nd in doubles wins in team history. Kotok was a team captain for her senior season, helping the Bulls win their first conference title in nine seasons.
She has been an active tennis coach, coaching at Billy Nealon Tennis in Pittsford, NY from 2012-14 and then at the Miller Tennis Center in Buffalo, NY from 2016-17.
Kotok graduated from the University of Buffalo with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications in May of 2017. She is a native of Macedon, NY.
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