LEWISBURG, Pa. – In early December 2013, Craig Schwartz was hired as Bucknell’s interim head men’s tennis coach as part of an overall restructuring of the Bison varsity tennis program, and on Thursday director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced that Schwartz will continue as the program’s full-time head coach moving forward.
Also as part of that recent reorganization, Rebecca Helt was named coordinator of tennis in addition to her role as head women’s tennis coach. Helt had also served as head men’s coach after the programs’ operations were consolidated in 2002.
Schwartz will begin his third season with the Bison in the fall, having served as the interim head coach in the spring of 2014 and as Helt’s assistant during the 2012-13 campaign. He has played a crucial role in the development of current standout Nick Bybel, who was named the Patriot League Player of the Year this past season as a sophomore after earning the Rookie of the Year award in 2013. Bybel also earned First Team All-Patriot League honors, Academic All-Patriot League accolades and a selection as the Patriot League Player of the Month under Schwartz’s tutelage.
“I'm excited for Craig and the entire men’s tennis program,” said Hardt. “Craig displayed a strong rapport with his student-athletes after re-joining the program mid-season last year, and he has earned the opportunity to lead our program. Everyone associated with Bison Men’s Tennis is eager to begin this new chapter in the program’s history, and it starts today with Craig’s elevation to full-time head coach.”
“I want to thank John Hardt and the rest of the administration at Bucknell for giving me this incredible opportunity,” said Schwartz. “I am both honored and excited to have been named the next men’s tennis coach for such a prestigious institution. This is a position I have worked tirelessly towards obtaining, and I will continue to work with the same drive and passion in coaching the Bison. It is a privilege to be able to work with such stellar student-athletes on a daily basis, and this motivates me to uphold the philosophy and strategic plan of the University and Athletic Department with the utmost respect. It is my goal to maintain our outstanding academic performance and to compete annually for a Patriot League championship.”
Prior to his time in Lewisburg, Schwartz spent five years as the head men’s tennis coach and tennis coordinator at Queens College in Flushing, New York. He led the Knights to an 88-28 record during his tenure, and his teams earned NCAA Tournament bids each year, advancing to the Round of 16 in each of his final four seasons. Schwartz, who was named the ITA East Region Coach of the Year in 2009 and the ECC Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, coached two ITA All-Americans, three ECC Players of the Year and 23 ECC All-Conference selections during his five years with the program.
Schwartz began his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, embracing two stints as the head coach at Dowling College during which time he compiled a 26-18 record. He guided the team to an NCAA Tournament berth and NYCAC championship in the 2003-04 season, earning NYCAC Coach of the Year honors, and then returned to the program from 2005-07, leading the Golden Lions to two more NCAA Tournament appearances.
A 2001 graduate of Dowling, Schwartz was also an accomplished collegiate and professional tennis player. He played at No. 1 singles and doubles during each of his four years at Dowling, earning the team’s MVP award on three occasions and captaining the squad as a junior and senior. A three-time NYCAC All-Conference selection, Schwartz was ranked as high as 17th in the country in Division II singles play during his senior year, and was named the NYCAC Player of the Year as well as the ITA East Region Senior Player of the Year during that campaign.
Since his graduation from Dowling, Schwartz has remained active on the professional circuit, playing in numerous tennis tournaments around the world and winning the USTA National Open Indoor doubles title in both 2007 and 2008. He has been ranked as high as 833rd in ATP doubles, and has obtained 43 world-ranking points throughout his professional doubles career. Additionally, Schwartz spent over a year in Germany as the personal coach of Marlene Weingartner, guiding her to the 35th spot in the WTA singles rankings.