Nick Crowell has been named the head men's tennis coach at the University of Oklahoma, OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione announced on Sunday. Crowell has spent the last 13 years as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Florida State University where he helped lead the Seminoles to the NCAA tournament in each of those seasons.
"We are thrilled to welcome Nick Crowell as our head coach for men's tennis. Our program has enjoyed unprecedented success the last seven years and I'm confident Nick is the right coach to continue that tradition. During his time at Florida State he has developed highly talented student-athletes and helped lead them to historic achievements on the court. Nick has demonstrated excellence since his own collegiate playing days in the Big 12 and is committed to providing the best possible experience to our student-athletes in all phases of their development. We are looking forward to seeing him utilize his leadership skills to keep our men's tennis program among the nation's elite."
Said Crowell: "I want to thank Joe Castiglione and (senior associate athletics director) Michael Alford and the University of Oklahoma for giving me the opportunity to come and lead such a great program with winning tradition. I also want to thank coach Dwayne Hultquist and everyone associated with tennis at Florida State. I learned a lot in my time there and I will miss the team and players, but I am looking forward to joining the program at Oklahoma."
Crowell, who was promoted from assistant to associate head coach in 2008 after five years with the Seminoles, has been named the Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year three times in his career, the most recent coming after the 2015 season when he helped lead FSU to its most wins since 2009.
Crowell will inherit an Oklahoma team that has been one of the elites of college tennis over the past several years. The Sooners have finished as the NCAA national runner-up in each of the last three seasons and in 2014 won the program's first ever ITA National Indoor Championship. Oklahoma has hosted NCAA regionals in each of the last seven seasons and won either the Big 12 regular season or tournament titles in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"Walking in the door you know that you have a group of guys that believe they can win at the highest level," Crowell said. "We have a lot of the team back from last year. It's an exciting time for Oklahoma tennis and I can't wait to get in there and help these guys achieve their goals."
OU's newest head coach developed some of the nation's top collegiate talent while at Florida State. In 2016 he helped FSU seniors Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez cap remarkable careers. Lock ranked in the ITA Top 10, the first Seminole since 2009 to reach that mark, while becoming just the third singles player in school history to earn All-America honors. In doubles, Lock and Nunez ranked in the Top 20 much of the year and finished at No. 24. Under the guidance of Crowell, the pair beat three of the top five teams in the country. At season's end, Lock was named the country's Most Improved Player by the ITA, a first for a Seminole athlete. Lock also reach a career-high ATP ranking of 695 under Crowell. In total, players Crowell coached at Florida State have gone on to win 63 professional titles at the Challenger and Futures level.
In 2009 Crowell helped coach the second Florida State doubles tandem to ever earn All-America honors in Connor Smith and Vahid Mirzadeh. Crowell coached a total of six All-Americans during his tenure at Florida State.
"I gained a lot of experience at Florida State," Crowell said. "We won at a high level there and I got to coach a lot of great players. I'm excited to bring the experiences and the things I gained at Florida State to OU. I'm ready to get to Norman and get to work."
Crowell also has experience in the junior ranks. In 2010 he coached the Florida USTA Under-18 Team to a national championship. The win marked the first time since 1983 that the Florida team had won the prestigious tournament. His team's triumph over two of the top three ranked teams was described as one of the greatest upsets in 25 years. For his efforts he was named the USTA Florida Junior Coach of the Year.
A native of Amarillo, Texas, Crowell spent his playing days at the University of Texas. He was a two-time All-American in doubles and won the ITA National Indoor Championship in doubles with partner Michael Blue during his senior season. He finished his career with 98 doubles victories.
"I am extremely excited to be moving to Norman," Crowell said. "Growing up in Texas and being in the Big 12, I'm getting back into my neighborhood. It is going to be an unbelievable experience. Everyone there was so professional while I was on my visit and it's just a first-class organization. My family and I are excited to be coming."
Crowell is married to the former Lindsey Smith and the couple has a daughter and two sons.