Sports

Stanford men's tennis coach Whitlinger calls it a career

Following 10 successful seasons leading the Stanford men's tennis program, head coach John Whitlinger has announced his retirement.

Since taking over head coaching duties in 2005 from legendary coach Dick Gould, Whitlinger guided Stanford to a 160-85 (.653) overall record and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Six players earned All-America accolades during his tenure.

"Being able to coach at a place you've played is really a dream come true," said Whitlinger. "It's been a great ride and I want to thank everyone that's been a part of it, especially the players and coaches I've worked with over the years. It has been an honor to coach at such an outstanding university and athletic program and while it is difficult to step away, I'm looking forward to new beginnings."

"John has been an integral part of our tennis family for more than 30 years and we have benefited from his accomplishments as an NCAA champion student-athlete and coach," said Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir. "We appreciate his service over these past 10 years as our head coach and wish him luck in this next chapter of life."

During Whitlinger's tenure, the Cardinal remained a fixture as one of the nation's top programs, reaching the postseason in seven straight seasons from 2008-2014 while compiling four 20-win campaigns and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals in back-to-back years (2011-12).

Individually, Bradley Klahn, currently the fourth-ranked American player in the Emirates ATP Rankings, captured the 2010 NCAA singles title before teaming up with Ryan Thacher one year later for a runner-up finish in the NCAA doubles final.

Whitlinger's contributions to the Cardinal men's tennis program cover more than 30 years, with the 1976 Stanford graduate enjoying success as an associate head coach and student-athlete.

For 18 seasons from 1987-2004, Whitlinger served as the program's associate head coach under Gould and helped guide Stanford to a 416-64 (.867) record while claiming nine NCAA championships.

Whitlinger was awarded the inaugural ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in 1997. He was inducted into the ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Fox River Valley (Wisconsin) Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998. In addition to being a member of Stanford's Athletic Hall of Fame, Whitlinger was inducted into the USTA/Midwest Section Hall of Fame in December of 2010.

A two-time All-American (1974, 1975) at Stanford, Whitlinger was instrumental in leading Stanford to its first two NCAA championships in 1973 and 1974.

The 1974 campaign proved to be Whitlinger's most successful, helping Stanford to an NCAA team title while becoming only the fourth player in program history to capture the NCAA singles and doubles titles in the same season.

After his collegiate career, Whitlinger was an international touring professional for six years and ranked among the top 50 in the world in singles and top 40 in doubles.

From 1981 to 1986, Whitlinger was a head professional at the Racquet Club at Harper's Point in Cincinnati, Ohio. He ranked in the top five in men's singles play in the United States Professional Teaching Association (USPTA).

A native of Neenah, Wis., Whitlinger came to Stanford in 1972 as one of the top junior players in the country. During his high school career, Whitlinger won 109 consecutive matches en route to four consecutive state singles championships (1969-72).

He holds 11 national junior titles, including the 1971 Interscholastic Championship and the prestigious International Orange Bowl Championship in 1969 and 1970. He was also a member of the U.S. Junior Davis Cup teams from 1970-74.

— Brian Risso/Stanford Athletics

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