Longtime U. tennis coach F.D. Robbins retiring after 28 years

Published: Saturday, May 3 2014 12:30 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the longest-tenured coaches at the University of Utah, men’s tennis coach F.D. Robbins, is retiring after 28 years.

Robbins, who has been the head coach since 1987 and has guided the tennis team from the WAC to Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 with several championships along the way, will be replaced by his assistant, Roeland Brateanu.

Robbins said he looks forward to spending more time with his family and will continue to teach private and group lessons and be a teaching pro at the Eccles Tennis Center.

“I have been part of the University of Utah for most of my adult life, as a student, player, assistant coach and head coach of the men’s tennis team,’’ Robbins said in a prepared statement. “I will never forget my time here and will forever cherish my experiences and friendships. I especially want to thank my wife Shelley and my family for their unwavering support over the years. I am also thankful to the many players I’ve coached and appreciate their dedication and hard work both on the court and in the classroom.’’

Utah director of athletics Chris Hill said, “F.D. has been a longstanding member of the University of Utah community and we appreciate his contributions to the Utah tennis program as both a player and a coach.”

Robbins is one of the top tennis players ever to come out of Utah. He was ranked No. 2 in the nation in under-18 singles and was the high school state champion at Olympus High School. At the University of Utah, he was the No. 1 player all four years and reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 1970.

He began coaching at Utah in 1981 as an assistant to Harry James and took over as head coach in 1987. He won five league championships, most recently the MWC title in 2008. He was inducted into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame in 2013 and was enshrined in the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.

A native of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Brateanu (pronounced brat-ee-an-new) has served as Robbins’ assistant coach for the past seven years and played under Robbins in 2002-04.

“I would like to thank Dr. Hill and Kyle Brennan for the opportunity to lead the men’s tennis program at Utah,” said Brateanu. “This is a bittersweet moment for me because I am replacing my former coach and mentor for these past seven years in F.D. Robbins. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that present themselves as the head coach of the Utes.”

“Roeland has earned a reputation as a fine coach and recruiter during his time as F.D.’s assistant,” said Hill. “We expect a smooth transition and are confident that the team and the tennis community will rally around Roeland.”

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