Chuck Willenborg, a former junior and NCAA champion, quickly turned the Johns Hopkins tennis program into one of the best in the nation. The winningest coach in the history of the men's program, he also served as the Director of Tennis from 2011 to 2014. In December of 2012, Willenborg was named the USTA/ITA National Campus QuickStart Provider of the Year for his work with both the QuickStart and 10-and-Under Tennis programs in Baltimore County. He also ranks second in the history of the JHU women's program with 91 career wins.
Since taking over the program in 2005, the Johns Hopkins men's team has amassed 228 wins (228-64 • .784). The Blue Jays' success in the Centennial Conference has been even more impressive as they have gone 111-3 (.974) since 2005 and won 84 straight conference matches from April 2006 to March 2016. During Willenborg's tenure, Hopkins has won 12 Centennial Conference titles and have made 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including four quarterfinals appearances. The Blue Jays have produced six Centennial Conference Players of the Year, one Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year, one ITA National Rookie of the Year, one CoSIDA Academic All-American, 32 ITA All-Americans, 74 all-conference selections and 71 ITA Scholar-Athletes as well as numerous nationally ranked singles players and doubles teams.
Prior to Willenborg's arrival, the men's team had never been ranked nationally or ranked higher than 16th in the Atlantic South region. By the end of his first season, the men were ranked 10th in the region and just 16 months after he was hired, the Blue Jays earned their first ever national ranking (30th). After falling out of the rankings early in the spring of 2006, the program regained its national ranking in May 2006 and has been ranked for 76 consecutive polls.
Last season, Hopkins went 17-3 and won its 12th straight Centennial Conference championship. Despite losing their number one singles play mid-way through the season, the Blue Jays hosted an NCAA Regional and advanced to the Sweet 16. Senior Jeremy Dubin was named the Centennial Player of the Year as well as the ITA Atlantic South Most Improved Senior. He along with classmates Mike Buxbaum and Emerson Walsh and freshman Joseph Cartledge all earned All-America honors. Buxbaum and Walsh also won their fourth straight ITA Southeast Doubles Championship.
The 2016 season marked the Blue Jays third straight appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Hopkins made an impressive run in the postseason as the team avenged three regular season losses, all by 5-4 scores. The run began in the Centennial Conference Championship as Hopkins beat host Swarthmore, 5-1, to win its 10th straight and 11th overall conference title. JHU then beat 24th-ranked Mary Washington (5-0) and fifth-ranked Carnegie Mellon (5-3) in the second and third rounds of the tournament. Earlier in the year, Buxbaum and Walsh won their third straight ITA Southeast Doubles championship.
The Hopkins men returned to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2014 and posted a 20-5 record while winning a ninth Centennial Conference title. In the fall, Buxbaum and Walsh won their first ITA Southeast Doubles title. In addition, Buxbaum was named the Centennial Conference, ITA Atlantic South and ITA National Rookie of the Year. He also earned All-America honors for singles and was named the CC Player of the Year.
In 2013, the men won their eighth overall and seventh consecutive Centennial Conference title, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and won a school-record 16 straight matches en route to a 20-3 record. Senior Andy Hersh won his second straight ITA Southeast singles title and became the program's all-time singles wins leader before capping his career by earning ITA All-America and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. Sophomores Tanner Brown and Erik Lim captured the ITA Southeast doubles title and earned All-America honors as well.
The 2012 season saw the Blue Jays break through for their first-ever NCAA Quarterfinal appearance. On the heels of the program's sixth straight conference title, Hopkins defeated Elizabethtown and Middlebury to earn its berth in the Elite Eight. JHU would lose a heartbreaker, 5-4, to eventual national champion Emory in the quarterfinals. Seniors Warren Elgort and Jacob Barnaby made a stunning run to the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship before fallling in three sets.
In 2010, the Blue Jays hosted an NCAA Regional that season for the first time in program history. Senior David Maldow was selected to the NCAA Singles Championship for the fourth straight year and was named the Atlantic South Senior Player of the Year. He and junior Andrew Wang were also selected for the NCAA Doubles Championship.
In 2008, senior Joe Vasoontara and freshman Casey Blythe, became the first doubles pair in program history to be selected to the NCAA Doubles Championship. The 2007 season was the most successful in school history at the time, as the men won their second Centennial Conference title with an undefeated record of 8-0. The Blue Jays won a then school-record 15 consecutive matches, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs and finished with a 19-3 record.
In his first season, Willenborg guided the men's team to its first-ever Centennial Conference title and a 13-2 record in 2005 before upgrading the schedule in 2006 to better position the Blue Jays for a chance at a selection to the NCAA Tournament. He guided Vasoontara to the 2005 Centennial Conference singles title.
The men's team spent the entire 2006 season ranked among the top 10 teams in the region and entered the Centennial Conference Championships as the number three seed and ranked eighth in the region. A 4-3 upset of second-seeded Haverford landed the Blue Jays in the Centennial title match and likely secured their at-large berth to the NCAAs. Hopkins, in its first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships, fell in the first round to seventh-ranked Mary Washington.
Willenborg brings outstanding amateur, collegiate and professional experience to Hopkins. His amateur career was highlighted by a USTA National Clay Court Championship and a top-5 national junior ranking. He was selected to the prestigious Junior Davis squad and competed at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
In 1982 Willenborg accepted a full scholarship to UCLA, where he helped the Bruins win ITA National Indoor and NCAA Championships in 1984. He completed his college career at the University of Miami as a top-25 singles player.
In 1989 Willenborg joined the staff at Miami, where he served as an assistant men's coach for six seasons. During that time, Miami was consistently a top-10 team and Willenborg coached two top-ranked singles players. In 1996, he took the position as assistant tennis coach at Pepperdine University, where he won two consecutive West Coast Conference Championships and was promoted to interim head coach for the 1997 season. The team completed the season with a 22-7 record, including a win over top-ranked UCLA in the season-finale, and a top-10 national ranking.
Willenborg also served as the assistant men's and women's coach at perennial Division II power Barry University. The men's team was an NCAA finalist both seasons of his stay, while the women earned their first ever Sunshine State Conference Championship and a third-place finish - their highest ever - at the NCAA Championships.
A 1987 graduate of Miami with a degree in physical education, Willenborg earned a master's in sports management from the U.S. Sports Academy in 1997 and a master's in computer science from Barry in 2000. He resides in Fork, Maryland, with his wife Amity and children Russell, Madeline and Asher.
|Willenborg Year by Year|
|2005-06||11-9 (6-2)||Runner-up||1st Round|
|2006-07||19-3 (8-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|2007-08||15-6 (9-0)||Champions||2nd Round|
|2008-09||16-4 (9-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|2009-10||21-6 (9-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|2010-11||19-4 (9-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|2011-12 *||19-5 (9-0)||Champions||Quarterfinals|
|2012-13||20-3 (9-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|2016-17||17-3 (9-0)||Champions||Sweet 16|
|* Director of Tennis|
Updated August 2017