FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Ki Kroll has been hired as the new head coach of the Northern Arizona men's tennis team, announced today by Dr. Lisa Campos, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. Kroll brings an extensive coaching experience, including the collegiate, tennis club and youth ranks, with him to the Lumberjack men's tennis program following the last three seasons at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Kroll takes over a Lumberjack team that finished ninth in the Big Sky Conference last year with a 4-19 overall mark, 1-9 within the conference. His arrival in Flagstaff marks a return to the Southwest where he spent large portions of his life in New Mexico, Texas and Nevada.
"I am truly honored to have such a wonderful opportunity in front of me, and am looking forward to working with such a vibrant staff," Kroll said. "I'd like to thank Dr. Lisa Campos and (Senior Associate Athletic Director) Tanya Vogel for their confidence in my abilities. It's very exciting to be a part of the NAU Athletics vision that Dr. Campos has passionately shared with me, and I intend on building upon that foundation. I appreciate the hard work of Coach Kim Bruno and am thrilled to be taking over the men's program and working closely with her, so that we can elevate NAU Tennis into the national rankings. I look forward to meeting the tennis community in the near future and hope for their continued support."
Kroll comes to NAU after an impressive three-year stint as the head men's tennis coach at Southern Mississippi, in which he inherited a program that had NCAA violations to its name and helped them achieve a brief national ranking in his second season. Most recently, Kroll's Golden Eagles finished the 2013 season with a 15-10 record, which included an upset of No. 51 South Alabama. He proved to be a competitive recruiter as his 2011 recruiting class ranked No. 16 among mid-majors and included the top player from the UK. Kroll also landed the No. 1 player from Portugal in 2012.
"It is with great excitement that we announce the hiring of Ki Kroll as our head coach for men's tennis," said Campos. "We believe that men's tennis at NAU can be excellent in the Big Sky Conference and regionally. Ki's commitment to discipline, academic success, student-athlete development and athletic excellence make him a great fit for our men's tennis program and the athletic department as a whole. His network to recruit both international and domestic prospects will prove beneficial as he works to bring top academic and athletic talent to NAU."
Prior to Southern Mississippi, Kroll served as both the head men's tennis coach and assistant athletic director for business at Vassar College where he led the Brewers to three consecutive NCAA Division III Tournaments from 2008-10. He was a three-time Liberty League Coach of the Year during his five seasons. Over his coaching career, Kroll has coached four All-Americans, the 2010 and 2011 ITA Northeast Singles champion, the 2008 ITA Northeast Doubles champions, 18 All-Academic selections and one Capital One Academic All-American.
Kroll also has experience as the Director of Tennis at the Spanish Oaks Tennis Club and Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas, Nev. Most notably, he is credited with developing the Boys & Girls Club inner city tennis program into one of the most successful programs of its type in the country. A number of his former students have been ranked in the top-five nationally in the junior ranks and have represented the United States in international play. Several even went on to play Division I tennis as well as professionally.
"I feel like I bring experience and the ability to motivate players and make them better by giving them a strong understanding of how to play their game," Kroll said. "I'm passionate about tennis and although there will be a lot of new faces on the team, I'm looking forward to meeting with them and taking them in a new direction."
Kroll played collegiately at Penn State and received his bachelor's degree in History from Eastern New Mexico.