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Bradley hires Shore alum Gray as tennis coach - MyEasternShoreMD: Easternshore

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Bradley hires Shore alum Gray as tennis coach

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 9:15 pm

PEORIA, Ill. — Washington College Hall of Fame inductee Tim Gray, who coached the Shoremen to their first national championship in tennis, has been named the head men’s coach at Bradley University. Director of Athletics Michael Cross announced Gray’s hiring on July 23.

During his 21-year career coaching both collegiate men and women, Gray boasts a NCAA Division III national championship, a NCAA Division III national runner-up finish, four NCAA regional titles, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, and seven outright or divisional conference championships.

“Tim Gray has led successful men’s and women’s tennis programs throughout his career and his success is not accidental,” Cross said in a prepared statement. “He has a very positive outlook to go with high energy, tennis acumen and strong communication skills. He is a veteran coach who will bring the commitment our student-athletes expect and will work diligently to expand a long tradition of high-quality tennis student-athletes at Bradley.”

Bradley is a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last year the Braves were 14-11 overall, 1-4 in the conference.

In his most recent coaching position, from 2005-11, Gray was the women’s head coach at Auburn. He led the Tigers to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2007-09), end-of-season top 40 national rankings three times, and the 2007 SEC Western Division title, which included a win against No. 1 Georgia.

In addition to his team’s success at Auburn, Gray coached three All-Americans.

Gray is a 1986 graduate of Washington College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He immediately began his coaching career when he was named the men’s head coach at Widener University in 1986.

Gray returned to his alma mater in 1990; he was elevated to head coach of the men’s tennis team in 1992 and the women’s program in 1993. He led Washington to conference titles in each of his four years at the helm of the men’s program, adding the 1994 NCAA Division III national championship and a runner-up finish in the 1995 NCAA Tournament. Individually, Damian Polla won the 1995 NCAA Division III singles title, while Robin Sander claimed the 1994 ITA/Small College national singles championship and teamed with Miroslav Beran to win the 1994 ITA/Small College national doubles championship.

Gray left his alma mater at the conclusion of the 1995 season to become the men’s head coach at Florida Southern. He led the powerhouse NCAA Division II program for seven seasons, through 2002. During his tenure, the Mocs made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by a third-place finish in 1998, and won a pair of Sunshine State Conference crowns. Gray was selected the conference Coach of the Year following FSC’s 2000 and 2002 championship seasons.

Gray broke into the NCAA Division I ranks in 2002 by taking over the Eastern Michigan women’s tennis program. He led the Eagles to the Mid-American Conference Tournament finals in each of his three seasons (2003-04-05) in Ypsilanti, Mich.

In his final season at Auburn, Gray also served as the ITA South Region ranking chairman. In that role, he was responsible for administration of the regional championship tournament, as well as creation of the regional singles, doubles and team ranking lists and service on the ITA national ranking committee.

A native of Greenville, S.C., Gray is married to Christine Franek Gray and is the father of sons Brandon (22) and Taylor (21). In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Washington College, Gray earned a degree in sport science in 2005 from the United States Sports Academy.

Gray was inducted into the Washington College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. As a senior in 1986, playing No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles for hall of fame coach Fred Wyman, he captained the first Washington men’s team to earn a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. He was nationally ranked in singles, which is uncommon for any team’s No. 2 player. He boasted a winning percentage of .700 in singles and doubles, and won a Middle Atlantic Conference doubles championship.

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