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Beginning his seventh season in 2016-17 as head coach, Brandon Padgett wasted little time putting his mark on the Akron tennis program.
Newly appointed ITA Midwest Regional Chair, Padgett has guided Akron to a 98-55 mark in six seasons as head coach. Padgett is one of 12 regional chairs in the United States. As regional chair, Padgett will oversee the Midwest Regional Committee and will be a member of the ITA National Rankings Committee as well as the ITA National Tournament Committee. In these roles, Padgett will be responsible to vote on the Oracle/ITA National Preseason Singles and Doubles Rankings and the Oracle/ITA National Freshman/Newcomer Rankings. He will also help determine the at-large and wild-card selections for ITA National Tournaments. Furthermore, Padgett will assist in overseeing the Midwest Region's Awards Program.
He led his first two Zips squads to Mid-American Conference Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012 – the first two in the history of the program.
In 2013, the UA doubles team of seniors Angelina Jogasuria and Prang Pantusart was selected to compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship, after the entire team advanced to the semifinal round of the MAC Tournament for the fourth-consecutive year and fourth time in program history. Jogasuria and Pantusart ranked 43rd nationally in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
Over the last four years the team has placed 12 student-athletes on the All-MAC Team and performed off the court as well, with 13 Zips chosen as Academic All-MAC. The program earned the ITA's All-Academic Team Award in 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 while also placing a total of 21 student-athletes on the ITA Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll since Padgett's first season.
Under Padgett, the Zips have faced an increasingly competitive non-conference schedule and met it head on with victories in recent years over Big Ten foes Michigan State and Penn State as well as SEC member Kentucky, Big East opponents Cincinnati and Louisville, and Oregon of the Pac-12.
In 2016, sophomore Ariadna Blinova was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and to the all-league first team, while fellow classmate Sophia Geier earned a spot on the All-MAC Second Team. Padgett led the Zips to a 15-10 record and were the No. 4 seed at the Mid-American Conference Postseason Tournament.
In 2015, senior Olga Shkundina was the recipient of the Leann Grimes Davidge Sportsmanship Award.
In 2014, Padgett coached the Northeastern Ohio U18 Baird Cup Team.
In 2010-11, Padgett's first season at the helm, the second-seeded Zips claimed their first-ever MAC tournament championship – a thrilling comeback 4-3 victory over top-seeded Miami (Ohio) in the title contest – and faced Michigan in the NCAA Tournament's first round. The squad closed out the campaign with a 20-5 overall record (7-1 MAC).
UA student-athletes compiled a long list of accolades in 2010-11, highlighted by junior Zara Harutyunyan claiming a record third-straight MAC Player-of-the-Year Award. She also earned first team all-league honors for the third time in as many years and was MVP of the conference's all-tournament team. Additionally, sophomores Prang Pantusart and Angelika Jogasuria were named to the All-MAC Second Team and Academic All-MAC squad. Pantusart was also selected to the MAC All-Tournament Team.
Competing again as the second seed in the 2012 MAC Tournament, UA defeated top-seeded Miami in a 4-3 comeback decision in the league title match and faced Northwestern in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Zips ended the year 24-4 overall (7-1 MAC), their most victories in a season since the 1990-91 team finished 26-6.
The 2012 regular-season ended with Olga Shkundina being named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year and to the all-league first team, while Zips senior Zara Harutyunyan earned a spot on the All-MAC First Team and junior Prang Pantusart was selected to the All-MAC Second Team. Pantusart and Harutyunyan were named to the MAC All-Tournament Team, with Pantusart chosen as MVP. Pantusart was also listed on the Academic All-MAC Team as well as to the ITA Scholar-Athlete Team with sophomore Ksenia Berestetska.
The Zips closed 2012-13 with an 18-10 record (5-3 MAC), ending the year ranked eighth in the ITA's Midwest region. Along with tallying its fourth-straight appearance in the MAC Tournament semifinal round, three Zips were named to the All-MAC Team – seniors Angelina Jogasuria and Prang Pantusart to the first team and sophomore Olga Shkundina to the second team. Pantusart and junior Ksenia Berestetska were named Academic All-MAC, while Berestetska, Madison Cohen and Signe Lazdina were recoginized as ITA Scholar-Athletes. The team also earned the ITA's Academic Award.
was named to his post on Oct. 13, 2010. He took the reins of the Zips' program after three-plus seasons at Kennesaw State and replaced , who accepted the women's head coaching position at Wake Forest in August 2010. Wyshner was at UA for four seasons.
Padgett inherited an Akron program that was coming off what was arguably the most successful season in program history in 2009-10, in which it posted a program single-season record for league wins (7-1) and tallied the most overall victories (19-3) since the 1990-91 squad went 26-6. Additionally, the Zips opened the dual-match portion of their season with a 15-match win streak and were the nation's last undefeated Division I squad.
Padgett was named head coach of the women's team at Kennesaw State, located in Kennesaw, Ga., in March 2007 and in 2008 started up the varsity men's program. He led both teams until February 2010, at which point he was elevated to director of tennis operations, while maintaining the title of women's coach. As director of tennis operations he had oversight of all aspects of both squads, including scheduling, budgeting and fundraising. He also oversaw the construction of the newly refurbished KSU Tennis Complex.
During his tenure at Kennesaw State, the athletics department switched from competing in the Peach Belt Conference and NCAA Division II to its current place in the Atlantic Sun Conference and Division I. During the transitional period, Padgett helped the program remain competitive and scored high marks in terms of recruiting. His women's team finished fifth in the conference in 2009, after placing 11th one season earlier. The jump in the standings came on the heels of signing a recruiting class that ranked as the 22nd best among mid-major programs, according to the ITA. The 2010 women's team finished sixth, and its recruiting class was listed 24th among mid-majors, with only one recruit.
In 2008, he guided the men's program through its first season of existence as a varsity sport, and his fall 2008 recruiting class ranked as the 29th best nationally, behind Ohio State and Indiana. The 2009 class was listed 11th among mid-majors.
Padgett came to Kennesaw State after serving as assistant coach at Dayton during the 2006-07 season, and his coaching resume also includes stints at the high school and Division-III levels. He also served as a teaching professional at the Five Season Sports Club in Dayton, Ohio.
Prior to his time in Dayton, he served as the head coach at D-III Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., from 2003-04. From 2001-03, he was the head coach for both men's and women's tennis as well as women's soccer at D-III Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. He also served as the Tennis Camp Director for the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department while at Shenandoah.
Padgett served as the head coach at Miami (Hamilton) University for one season before heading to the state of Virginia. In his lone year with the Harriers, the team claimed the Ohio Regional Campus Conference title.
His first head coaching position was with his alma mater, Ross High School, in Ross, Ohio. He spent two seasons as the coach of the Rams, leading RHS to a 51-28 record and consecutive runner-up finishes in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference.
During his playing career, he was an all-conference performer and doubles champion at Miami (Hamilton) University, where he helped lead his team to the conference championship in both his freshman and sophomore seasons (1994 and '95).
Padgett, 40, received his undergraduate degree in health and sports studies from Miami (Ohio) in 1999 and received a master's degree in physical education from West Virginia in 2001. In 2011, he received the Etcheberry Certification in Strength, Conditioning and Movement in Sport.
He and his wife, Jessica, have a daughter, Addyson.
|Title:||Graduate Assistant Coach|
|Alma Mater:||Louisiana State University, ‘14|
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In 2017, Ariel Morton enters her second year as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Akron women’s tennis program. Morton graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing from Akron. She was most recently named the 2015 USPTA Louisiana Rookie Coach of the year.
A former standout athlete at LSU, Morton was also a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. As a freshman, she compiled an 8-8 singles mark and a 9-8 doubles record in the spring including going 5-3 and 4-3, respectively, in SEC matches. She recorded her first dual-match singles victory by beating Texas A&M's Lauren Santacroce 7-5, 6-2. She crafted a four-match singles win streak in March then teamed with Ebie Wilson and Kylie Adamek to reel off six-straight doubles match victories during the spring season. In her sophomore season, she fought through an ankle injury throughout the season to be a reliable performer as she concluded the season with a 7-7 singles record and went 11-16 in doubles play.
As a junior, she posted 15 overall singles wins with 10 dual matches victories. She held the top spot in all but two dual matches alongside doubles partner Mary Jeremiah. In her final season as a Tiger, she battled an injury but still managed a 2-3 tournament record in singles and a 4-4 tournament doubles mark in the fall.
Prior to LSU, she was named a five-star recruit and ranked as high as No. 32 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net. Morton finished as state runner-up in the 5A state singles championships in 2008 then won the District 5A state doubles title as a junior in 2009.