LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell director of athletics and recreation John Hardt has announced the restructuring of the Bison men’s and women’s tennis programs and named Craig Schwartz interim men’s head coach through the 2014 spring season.
Rebecca Helt will continue in her 17th season as Bucknell’s head women’s tennis coach, and she will take on added responsibilities as Bucknell's coordinator of tennis. Since 2002 Helt had also served as head men’s coach after the programs’ operations were consolidated. Helt has 175 career dual-match victories with the Bison women, and she enters the 2014 spring campaign just six wins shy of the program record for coaching victories, currently held by Hall-of-Famer Rose Ewan.
Schwartz served as Helt’s assistant coach during the 2012-13 season after five years as head men’s coach at Queens College in New York City. He led the Knights to an 86-28 dual-match record, and his teams earned NCAA Tournament bids each year and advanced to the Round of 16 in each of his final four seasons.
Schwartz also spent three seasons (2003-04, 2005-07) as head coach at Dowling College, his alma mater. A two-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) East Region Coach of the Year, Schwartz led the Golden Lions to a conference title and three NCAA Tournament appearances. A 2001 Dowling graduate, Schwartz has also served as tennis pro at Park Avenue Tennis Club in Huntington, N.Y.
A national search for the permanent head men’s tennis coach will resume following the spring season.
The Bucknell men’s tennis program has a long and successful history dating back to 1921. Tennis was also one of the first women’s sports to earn varsity status at Bucknell in 1973. Both programs have captured Patriot League championships and have won over 57 percent of their dual matches all-time.
In 2002, the operations of the men’s and women’s programs were united, and Helt was named head coach of both programs. One of the highlights of Helt’s career came in 2012, when the doubles tandem of Gregg Cohenca and Evan Zimmer became the first in Bucknell and Patriot League history to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This fall, sophomore Nick Bybel became the first Bison player to earn a bid to the ITA All-American Championships.
The Bison men’s and women’s tennis teams are coming off a successful fall tournament schedule. The women begin their spring dual season on Jan. 18 at Penn State, and both teams will be in action on Feb. 1 against Saint Francis (Pa.) at the West Branch Tennis Club in Williamsport, Pa.