Epley brings in Como, Italy native to bolster 2016-17 squad.
South Carolina Takes on Winner of Duke and ETSU on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Gamecocks Host Doubleheader Friday, Host William & Mary on Sunday
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South Carolina Takes on Tigers for 49th Time in Women's Tennis
South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt (4/13/2014)
South Carolina vs. Texas A&M (3/2/2014)
South Carolina vs. Clemson (2/16/14)
South Carolina vs. East Tennessee State (1/18/2014)
South Carolina vs. Ole Miss (4/7/2013)
Kevin Epley, the 2017 ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year, was named the women's tennis head coach at the University of South Carolina on June 11, 2012. In 13 seasons as a head coach, Epley owns an impressive 235-110 (.681) record, eight top-25 finishes and six conference championships. His teams have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of those 13 years, and 11 times they have won at least one round. In five seasons with the Gamecocks, Epley has upheld a winning tradition while moving the program toward even greater heights with an influx of diverse players who are just as committed to helping South Carolina achieve at the highest level.
Prior to joining the Gamecocks, Epley spent the prior four years as a full-time traveling coach for WTA player Megan Moulton-Levy and her doubles partner, Lindsay Lee-Waters. It was not the first time, however, that Epley worked with players at the highest level in the world. He has also served as a personal traveling coach for Lindsay Davenport and Patty Schnyder, and was the head coach of the St. Louis Aces in the World Team Tennis league. Epley was also an assistant for the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney games and was an assistant for the U.S. Federation Cup team from 1997 to 2002. In both instances, he worked with tennis legend and close friend and mentor Billie Jean King. Epley has also been an instructor at the renowned Nick Bolliettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.
Epley's distinct background of coaching at the collegiate level combined with his experience among the professional ranks has given him a unique blend of tennis knowledge. That knowledge has translated into the creation of a developmental program at South Carolina geared toward helping players who aspire to compete on the WTA. In just four seasons, his practices and philosophy are beginning to pay dividends for the Gamecocks with a culture shift focused on energy, attitude and commitment.
Epley guided the program to one of its most successful seasons in school history in 2016-17, leading the Gamecocks to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 since 2009. The Gamecocks finished the campaign ranked 15th nationally by the ITA, their highest since 1999, and posted the program's first 20-win season since 1995 with a 20-9 overall record. The successful regular season included a 7-0 sweep over in-state rival Clemson and an 8-5 record in the SEC. Mia Horvit and Ingrid Gamarra Martins finished the season ranked nationally in singles at Nos. 46 and 48, respectively, while the doubles tandem of Hadley Berg and Paige Cline finished at No. 27. Under Epley's direction, both Horvit and Martins advanced to the round of 32 of the NCAA Singles Championship, marking just the second time in school history two Gamecocks advanced beyond the first round in the same year. Horvit went on to the round of 16 to become South Carolina's second singles All-American and first since 1983. She was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the All-SEC Second Team.
In 2015-16, the Gamecocks jumped out to a 14-2 start under Epley, including a pair of top-10 wins that helped vault them to their first top-10 ranking since 1983 at No. 8. South Carolina went on to capture its 22nd-consecutive NCAA Tournament bid as it was selected to host the First and Second Rounds for the first time since 2002, defeating Winthrop 4-2. Sporting two freshmen in the top half of the lineup, Epley's group finished with 19 wins and won nine SEC matches for just the second time in school history. Epley's approach to doubles helped a pair of underclassmen shine as Hadley Berg and Paige Cline went on to capture South Carolina's first All-America honors since 1994, powering past a pair of top-10 tandems in the NCAA Doubles Championship on their way to the quarterfinals. Caroline Dailey also earned an NCAA Singles Championship invite, while Ingrid Gamarra Martins was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Under Epley's tutelage, South Carolina led the SEC in Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week awards, collecting a combined six.
In Epley's third season at the helm for the Gamecocks in 2014-15, he directed the team to a 15-11 season capped by first-round win over Princeton in the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina ended the season with a No. 29 national ranking to mark its second-consecutive season with a top-30 billing. Individually, Elixane Lechemia achieved All-SEC honors for the second year in a row and qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship. Her NCAA appearance continued a streak in which Epley's teams have always had representation in the individual tournaments since he became a head coach. Lechemia and Dailey ended the year with national rankings in singles, while Dailey and Berg as well as Brigit Folland and Meghan Blevins earned rankings for doubles.
Epley improved South Carolina's final ranking eight spots from his first to second season, going from No. 34 in 2013 to No. 26 in 2014. The Gamecocks improvement from year one to year two of the Epley era was evident by virtue of wins against the eventual NCAA singles and doubles champions during dual match play in spring 2014. He had a doubles team qualify for the NCAAs in both of his first two seasons in addition to the team continuing its streak of postseason appearances. Lechemia became just the fifth player in school history to achieve All-SEC First Team status in 2014, while Jaklin Alawi and Katerina Popova earned All-SEC Second Team honors his first year. In addition to all-conference accolades for two of its players in 2013, South Carolina became the first school in league history to win SEC Player of the Week three straight times in Epley's first season as well.
Epley returned to the collegiate coaching ranks for the first time since 2008 when he took the South Carolina job after spending four years on the tour with Moulton-Levy and Lee-Waters. As a collegiate head coach from 2000 to 2008, he posted a 151-59 (.719) record in eight seasons at two different schools while mentoring nine players to 18 All-America citations and five players to eight conference player of the year awards.
Before his stint on the WTA, Epley served as the head coach of the women's program at William & Mary from 2003 to 2008. In his five seasons with the Tribe, Epley led the squad to a 96-40 (.706) record, including four Colonial Athletic Association Championships and five NCAA Tournament appearances. His teams finished among the ITA's top 25 three times, including a No. 15 ranking in 2007. On four occasions, he was named the CAA Coach of the Year and in 2008 he garnered the Wilson/ITA East Region Coach of the Year award. In total, five William & Mary players competed in singles and doubles at the NCAA Championships and earned 11 All-America honors over his five seasons. On 21 occasions during Epley's tenure, a Tribe player garnered All-CAA singles honors, while doubles teams received 11 all-league nods.
Epley's 2006-07 William & Mary squad enjoyed a great deal of success despite having five freshmen on its roster. A recruiting class that entered the season ranked No. 2 by TennisRecruiting.net, the Tribe opened the season with an 11-0 record. In just its fourth match of the season, the young W&M team stunned the college tennis world with a 4-3 victory over No. 1 Georgia Tech, a team that went on to win the national championship. The squad climbed as high as No. 9 in the rankings and ended the season with a 22-3 (.880) record after appearing in the NCAA Sweet 16.
The 2006-07 season also provided W&M's second individual national championship, as the duo of Moulton-Levy and Katarina Zoricic claimed the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Championship in November. They were also NCAA finalists during the outdoor season. Moulton-Levy graduated from the College as a six-time All-American, a four-time CAA Player of the Year and a two-time winner of the ITA National Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
In just his second season with William & Mary, Epley guided his team to one of the top rankings in school history when it ascended to No. 6 in March. The Tribe began the season with a 10-1 mark, posting an impressive 4-3 victory at No. 5 Duke and a dominant 6-1 win over No. 16 Clemson along the way. The team maintained a top-20 ranking the remainder of the season after cracking the top 10 and finished No. 20 after advancing to the second round of NCAA play.
Prior to his stint in Williamsburg, Va., Epley served as the women's head coach at Fresno State University from 2000 to 2003. In his three seasons with the Bulldogs, he compiled a 55-19 (.743) record, coached four players to seven All-America honors and had the top-ranked doubles team in the country, the first of three No.1-ranked doubles teams he has mentored. He led his team to two WAC championships and was a two-time WAC Coach of the Year recipient. In all three seasons at Fresno, his teams posted top-25 finishes, including a No. 14 ranking in his first year.
Epley is a 1996 graduate of Southern Methodist University where he was an All-Southwestern Conference performer as a senior. He began his collegiate coaching career with a pair of one-year stays as an assistant coach at Alabama (1998-99) and Arizona (1999-2000) before taking his first head coaching position at Fresno State.
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