Overall Record (Women's): 203-194 (through 2015-16 season)
Bucknell Record: 203-194 (through 2015-16 season)
Rebecca Helt is set to begin her 20th season as head coach of the women’s tennis team, and she also serves as Bucknell’s coordinator of tennis, a position she assumed in December of 2013. She is the program’s all-time winningest coach, entering the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 203-194.
Helt also served as Bucknell’s head men’s tennis coach from 2002-13. One of the highlights of her tenure with the men’s program came during the 2012 season when she led Gregg Cohenca and Evan Zimmer to the NCAA Championships in doubles for the first time in both Bucknell and Patriot League history.
In the past 14 seasons, Helt’s women’s teams have finished in the top three in the Patriot League on nine occasions, making six consecutive appearances in the championship match from 2005 to 2010. In 2004, the Bison women appeared in the ITA National rankings for the first time in program history. They were the only Patriot League team and one of only five Northeast teams to appear in the rankings at that time. The 2005 season was also an historic one for the women, as the Bison broke the program record in wins, concluding the campaign with a 17-5 overall record.
Over the course of her impressive career, Helt has always managed to get the very best out of her players, as well as her teams. Her student-athletes have earned two Patriot League Player of the Year awards, five Patriot League Rookie of the Year nods and 42 All-Patriot League selections, 12 on the men’s side and 30 on the women’s. In addition, seven Bison have been named to the Patriot League All-Academic team since its inception in 2011, and Tania Varela, Lauren Lucido, Maria Cioffi, Ira Reibeisen, Ryan Sandburg and Evan Zimmer have all won major Bucknell awards.
Helt has built a legacy of success at Bucknell, and many of her players have accomplished significant feats while under her tutelage. Nada Curcic became the first Patriot League Player of the Year in the history of the program when she won the honor in 2005, and in 2007, Ira Reibeisen became the first Bison tennis player to earn the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. During the following season, Reibeisen accomplished another first, earning a third consecutive First Team All-Patriot League selection. In 2011, Lauren Lucido, one of two Bison to earn All-Patriot League honors in each year of her career, broke all three program records in one season, surpassing the wins total in singles play, doubles play and combined victories. Bucknell players swept the Patriot League Rookie of the Year awards in 2013 when Nick Bybel and Maria Cioffi received the honor. Bybel also reached another milestone in the fall of 2013, becoming the first Bison tennis player to be selected to the ITA All-American Championships. Most recently, Cioffi became the first Bucknell woman to earn Women’s Tennis Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year recognition, and then went on to break the program's singles and combined career wins records.
Additionally, several other student-athletes who have played under Helt are multi-year All-League honorees, including Tania Varela and Marica Cioffi, who each earned the honor four times during their career, as well as Paulina Gamboa (2007-09), Veronica Brown (2005-06), Dumitrita Iepuras (2009-10, 2012) and Nada Curcic (2004-05).
A 1990 graduate of Lock Haven University, Helt earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism while competing for the Lock Haven tennis team. In 1991, Helt earned a teaching certification from the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR) and worked as a teaching pro at West Branch Racquet Club in Williamsport, Pa., and the Doylestown Racquet Club in Doylestown, Pa., before starting her coaching career at Bucknell in 1997.