KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics John Currie introduced Chris Woodruff as the Volunteers' head men's tennis coach at the Ray & Lucy Hand Digital Studio on May 19, 2017.
A lifelong resident of Knoxville, Woodruff won an NCAA singles championship as a Vol in 1993 and has been a member of the UT coaching staff since completing his professional tennis career in 2002.
He has been Tennessee's associate head coach since 2006 with Sam Winterbotham, who was relieved of head coaching duties May 4. Woodruff had previously served as a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons before being promoted to assistant coach in 2004.
"For a quarter century now, Chris Woodruff has epitomized the spirit and excellence of Volunteer tennis while representing UT and his hometown of Knoxville with class and dignity on the world stage," Currie said. "There is no one more committed to ensuring that Tennessee tennis consistently competes at a championship level. No individual is going to work harder to ensure that our student-athletes achieve at a high level academically while also making a positive, meaningful impact in this community. He literally and truly is a Vol for life.
"College athletics, at its core, should be about education. From tennis experts across the country and the world, Chris Woodruff's reputation as a teacher of the game and a mentor of young men is unparalleled. Chris is absolutely the right man to lead our Tennessee tennis program."
Woodruff has long been a fixture coaching on Tennessee's top courts and has developed several of the best players in college tennis. Three players have held the national No. 1 singles ranking: John-Patrick Smith (2010), Rhyne Williams (2011) and Mikelis Libietis (2013). Woodruff also worked with three top-ranked doubles teams, including 2014 NCAA champions Libietis and Hunter Reese.
In addition to that NCAA doubles title, Vols also reached two NCAA singles finals and a pair of doubles finals from 2008-11. Smith, who reached one singles and two doubles finals at the NCAA tournament, went on to become just the second eight-time All-American in college tennis history.
Woodruff--who received his Psychology degree from Tennessee in 2005--has been on staff during some of Tennessee's greatest team achievements. The Vols played in the 2010 NCAA team final and reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2013. Tennessee advanced to the finals of the ITA National Indoor Championships in 2010 and 2011. Woodruff was named the 2013 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Tennessee went a combined 20-1 in SEC play in 2010 and 2011, winning two regular-season conference championships and the 2010 SEC Tournament title.
Woodruff also brings the experience of succeeding at the highest levels of tennis as a player.
He was an All-American member of the Vols for two seasons, capping his college career with the 1993 NCAA title, the end-year No. 1 ranking and ITA Player of the Year honors. He began his professional career following his sophomore year at UT.
As a professional player, he was ranked as high as No. 29 in the ITA World Tour Rankings and captured two titles, including the 1997 Canada Masters. He reached the quarterfinals of the 2000 Australian Open and was a member of the 2000 U.S. Davis Cup Team.
During his career, he notably defeated seven players who at one point had held the world No. 1 ranking: Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Thomas Muster, Gustavo Kuerten, Marcelo Ríos and Carlos Moyá.
Woodruff was inducted into the ITA College Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame in January 2017.
He will receive a five-year contract with an average base salary of $141,000.
His wife, the former Jennifer Arndt, was an All-Big Ten swimmer at Michigan who graduated in 2001. She then became head coach of the combined men's and women's swimming program at Lewis University in Illinois from 2001-05. That preceded a seven-year stint as an assistant women's swimming coach at Tennessee from 2005-12.
He has five children: Olivia, Tate, Carter, Ava and Chase.