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Michael Dowd
Position: Head Coach

Office Phone - 215-898-6958
Email - mdowd@pobox.upenn.edu

Michael Dowd enters his 11th season as the head coach of the University of Pennsylvania women’s tennis team. In more than a decade as the coach of the Red and Blue, he has had winning seasons in every year and won at least 15 matches six times. In 2001, he took the women’s tennis program into uncharted waters, winning the program’s first Ivy League title. In 2002 his team accomplished the feat again.

 

In the 2005-06 season, Dowd’s squad finished the season with a 13-6 record, and had a second-place finish in the Ivy League with a 6-1 record. The team qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in six years, and upset No. 30 Tennessee, 4-2, before falling to No. 6 seed Georgia Tech in the second round. Juniors Yulia Rivelis and Julia Koulbitskaya both earned first-team All-Ivy in both singles and doubles, while Raluca Ciochina and Alexis Plukas earned honorable mention in doubles.

 

In 2004-05 the Quakers finished the season with an 11-6 overall record and also had a second-place finish in the Ivy League. Freshman Rivelis was named first-team All-Ivy League in singles, and Shelah Chao and Koulbitskaya earned second-team for doubles play. Dowd’s team finished the 2003-04 season with a 15-5 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Ivy League. The Quakers battled four nationally-ranked opponents in dual matches, defeating No. 51 Maryland and No. 31 Virginia Commonwealth en route to a No. 28 ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) polls in March.

 

Under Dowd’s tutelage, the Penn women’s tennis team received an at large bid to the 2003 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships - the first at large tennis bid in the history of the Ivy League. He also watched as Alice Pirsu became the second Ivy League women’s tennis player to reach the Round of Eight at the NCAAs in singles action. Pirsu was named an All-American and Ivy League Player of the Year for the second-consecutive year. In fact, Penn is the home of three Ancient Eight Players of the Year. Penn’s successful run began with its first-ever Ivy League championship in women’s tennis in 2001. The Quakers went undefeated in League play and participated in just the second NCAA Championship in the history of the women’s tennis program. The Quakers knocked off No. 19 Pepperdine in the first round before falling to host Baylor in the second round of the tournament. Penn finished that season 17-7 overall and 7-0 in the Ivy League.

 

The following season was also eventful. Pirsu became the first Penn player to be invited to the Riviera All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif. She battled all the way to the quarterfinal round, garnering national attention for the Penn women’s tennis program and herself so much so that she earned a national ranking of 24 for her fall performances, the highest ever at that point for a Quaker. Heading into the spring season, Dowd’s Quakers were ranked No. 36 in the country, and with Pirsu and Kunovac (No. 84) it marked the first time in Penn tennis history that two student-athletes were in the Top-100 at the same time. The Quakers remained atop the Ivy League ladder as they went 7-0 for the second-consecutive campaign and earned a trip to Raleigh, N.C. to face Richmond in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Quakers defeated the Spiders, 4-0, before falling to No. 5 Duke, 4-0, in the second round. Pirsu, meanwhile, had the distinction of being the first Quaker to be invited to the NCAA Singles

Championships and was also named the Eastern Region Player to Watch by the ITA. Pirsu became an All-American when she reached the Round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championships before falling to the No. 3 player in the country. The Quakers finished the season at No. 58 nationally and No. 3 regionally with a 15-6 record.

 

Since Dowd has taken the reigns at Penn, he has coached four players to first-team All-Ivy League singles honors and eight others to second-team All-Ivy. On the doubles front, Dowd has watched five doubles teams earn first-team accolades and three duos earn second-team honors.

 

Dowd was appointed head coach of women’s tennis in December 1996. At age 24, he was the youngest Division I tennis head coach in the country at the time. In his first season, the Quakers compiled a record of 17-7, boasted the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and had three players earn All-Ivy honors. Since then, Dowd’s career record has grown to 147-61, including a 56-12 record in Ivy League play. A 1994 graduate of George Washington University, Dowd worked as the first assistant professional at the

Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., during his undergraduate years. Upon graduation, he played on the ATP Satellite Circuit and in prize money tournaments throughout the East. In addition, Dowd served as an assistant men’s and women’s tennis coach at Catholic University before joining the Penn program as an assistant to both the men’s and women’s teams.

 

Dowd, a four-year starter at George Washington University, was a two-time captain, NCAA Region I Volvo Rookie of the Year, record holder for most career wins (79), Atlantic 10 Senior of the Year and the team MVP (1994).

 


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