Kevin Epley was named the women's tennis head coach at the University of South Carolina on June 11, 2012. In 10 seasons as a head coach, Epley owns an impressive 181-82 (.688) record, six top-25 finishes and six conference championships. His teams have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of those 10 years and eight times they have won at least one round. In two 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 two seasons, his practices and philosophy are beginning to pay dividends for the Gamecocks with a culture shift focused on energy, attitude and commitment.
Last year, Epley guided the program to its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a first-round win over Ohio State to finish the year 17-11. The Gamecocks nearly cracked the top-25 in the final poll, coming in at a season-high No. 26 for an improvement of eight places from the year prior. Elixane Lechemia became just the fifth Gamecock in school history to achieve first-team All-SEC honors and South Carolina saw itself with two doubles teams ranked in the top 50 at season's end, a first in over a decade. Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova also qualified for the NCAA Doubles Championship to give Epley's teams representation in the individual tournaments every year in which he has been a head coach. The Garnet and Black also posted wins against the eventual NCAA singles and doubles champions during dual match play in the spring.
In his first season with the Gamecocks, he guided the program to the NCAAs and a No. 34 ranking in the final ITA poll. Two student-athletes took home All-SEC Second Team honors with Jaklin Alawi and Katerina Popova, and both finished with national singles and doubles rankings as well. In addition to all-conference accolades for two of its players, South Carolina became the first school in league history to win SEC Player of the Week three straight times. Epley's reputation for fielding strong doubles teams held true again, as the Gamecocks fielded two tandems with at least 20 victories, a first since 2001-02. Alawi and Kanakova competed in the NCAA Doubles Championship 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.