June 25, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Ryler DeHeart has been named assistant men's tennis coach at The University of Alabama, which was announced by head coach George Husack on Monday. DeHeart, a two-time All-American at Illinois, played professionally for five years on the ATP Tour.
"I'm ecstatic about Ryler's decision to join the University of Alabama athletics family," said Husack. "He brings a wealth of experience and success as a competitor and also a high level of integrity and character. Ryler's addition will have an immediate impact to the Crimson Tide tennis program."
DeHeart, who has competed in all four Grand Slams, turned professional in 2006 and reached a career high ranking of 174 in singles and 120 in doubles. He competed against then-No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round of the 2008 US Open and has beaten numerous top 100 players such as John Isner and Alex Bogomolov.
"I am very excited to be joining the Alabama family and working with Coach Husack," said DeHeart. "This is a tremendous opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to making the most of it."
The Kauai, Hawai'i native graduated from the University of Illinois in 2006 with a degree in psychology. DeHeart won the ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship and ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles in 2005 and 2006. He remains the winningest singles player in Illinois history with 138 victories while also breaking the record for most singles win in a season as he collected 42 as a junior during the 2004-05 campaign.
In addition to being named an All-American in 2005 and 2006, DeHeart was also the 2006 Farnsworth/ITA Midwest Region Senior Player of the Year, the 2005 and 2006 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, the 2006 ITA John Van Nostrand Memorial Award winner and recipient of the 2002 Bill Talbert National Junior Sportsmanship Award. He was also a three-time All-Big Ten selection.
For the past year and a half, since retiring from the professional tour, DeHeart, along with his wife Megan Fudge, founded and coached at RD Tennis, a junior high performance program in Tampa, Florida.