Chris Drake enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Dartmouth men's tennis team in 2016-17.
Dartmouth ended the 2015-16 season with an overall record of 18-9 and a 6-1 mark in Ivy League to finish second. The Big Green wrapped up the regular season on a six-match winning streak and were ranked for the entirety of the season, sitting as high as 34th. At the conclusion of the season, Dovydas Sakinis was named First Team All-Ivy for singles for the third year in a row, while George Wall and Brendan Tannenbaum was tabbed to the first team for doubles and Max Schmidt was named to the second team for doubles. For the first time in his career, Drake was named Coach of the Year. A week later, the ITA honored Sakinis as the Northeast Region Player of the Year and Tannenbaum as the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner. Dartmouth qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, falling to Temple in the Round of 32.
DRAKE'S CAREER AT A GLANCE
Career Record: 90-50
In 2014-15, the Big Green ended the season with a record of 14-10 and a conference mark of 5-2, which tied them for second in the Ivy League with Harvard. The season concluded with five straight victories over conference rivals, including wins over top 35 teams Princeton (No. 30) and Harvard (No. 34). Dartmouth was ranked No. 42 in the last Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking, which is the team’s highest final ranking ever. Dovydas Sakinis was named Ivy League Player of the Year and was tabbed to the All-Ivy First Team for both singles and doubles, while Chris Kipouras was selected to the second team for both singles and doubles. Ciro Riccardi was named the conference's Rookie of the Year. Sakinis became the first Dartmouth men's tennis player since 1994 to qualify for the NCAA Singles Championship, falling in the first round to Wichita State's Tin Ostojic. To close the season, Drake was named the ITA Northeast Regional Coach of the Year.
Dartmouth wrapped up the 2013-14 record with an overall record of 18-6 and a conference mark of 5-2. Four members of the team were named All-Ivy, while freshman Dovydas Sakinis was named the 2014 Rookie of the Year, the first in Dartmouth men's tennis history. Joining him as all-conference selections were Chris Kipouras (second team) and Cam Ghorbani and Brendan Tannenbaum (first team doubles). Ghorbani and Tannenbaum were ranked as high as No. 15 in the country in doubles. Throughout the season, Dartmouth defeated Brown, Cornell, Penn, Princeton, and Yale in Ivy League action and Indiana, George Washington, Arkansas and East Tennessee State in non-conference action. The Big Green were ranked as high as No. 33 in the country and finished at No. 48 -- both program-highs -- and narrowly missed earning an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
In 2012-13, Drake led the Big Green to a 9-14 record and a 1-6 mark in Ivy League action. For the second year in a row, Drake had a pair of players receive second team All-Ivy accolades in doubles action. During the season, the team scored non-conference wins against Marquette, Iowa, Radford and a ranked East Tennessee State squad. Dartmouth also netted a 4-3 win against Columbia in Hanover on Apr. 7.
In 2011-12, his second year in Hanover, Drake led the team to a 18-4 record overall and a 4-3 mark in Ivy League play for the second consecutive season. Also for the second year in a row, the Big Green finished in the top three of the final Ivy League standings. In just two years, Drake has begun to restructure the program at Dartmouth and instill a tradition of winning. Drake coached senior Michael Laser and junior Alex de Chatellus to second-team All-Ivy doubles. The 18 wins was a program record and the team ended the season ranked No. 49 (the highest in program history).
In the spring of 2012, Dartmouth squared off with Harvard in the last match of the season with a share of the Ivy Title on the line. After an impressive comeback in doubles, the Big Green led the match, 3-2, before losing the last two matches in three sets to drop a heartbreaker 4-3 to the 23rd-ranked Crimson.
The eight Ivy League wins by the Big Green under Drake over the first two years match the total Ivy league wins for Dartmouth in the previous 10 Ivy League seasons combined.
In his first season at the helm for the Big Green, Chris Drake led the team to a 13-7 record overall and a 4-3 mark in the Ivy League. The 4-3 record in the conference marked the best finish by Dartmouth in 13 years. Not only did the Big Green earn four wins, but all three losses came by the 4-3 variety.
In 2010-11, Dartmouth jumped into the national rankings for four weeks during the season, reaching a high of 71st in the nation. Drake had two players named All-Ivy with three honors. The Dartmouth duo of junior Michael Laser (Glencoe, Ill.) and sophomore Xander Centenari (Towson, Md.) earned first-team honors in doubles. Centenari also garnered second team All-Ivy honors in singles.
Before coming to Dartmouth, Drake served as an assistant coach at Northwestern. The 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year, Drake was an instrumental force in elevating the men’s tennis program at Northwestern as the Wildcats’ recruiting classes in 2008 and ’09 were ranked 12th and eighth in the country, respectively, by tennisrecruiting.net. This past March, Northwestern achieved its highest national ranking in five years at No. 34.
In his second season with the Wildcats, Drake helped the squad improve to a 6-4 mark in the Big Ten to tie for fourth place. Overall Northwestern went 18-9 on the season, earning a national ranking as high as 48th, and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were successful on and off the court during Drake’s tenure, posting a team GPA of 3.5 in 2009 and a 1.000 APR in 2008 and ’09.
Drake also spent time coaching the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles team of Eric Butorac (U.S.) and Ashley Fisher (Australia) in May and June of 2008 at the French Open and Wimbledon Championships. At Wimbledon, Butorac and Fisher won a five-set match in the first round. Each player went on to win ATP Tour doubles events the following month — Butorac in Los Angeles and Fisher in Indianapolis.
Before embarking on his collegiate coaching career, Drake was an accomplished player on the ATP doubles tour, achieving a world doubles ranking of 92, which made him the 10th-highest ranked American at the time. He registered doubles wins over Marcos Baghdatis and Jo Wilfried Tsonga — each of whom advanced to the Australian Open finals in 2006 and ’08, respectively — and Gilles Simon, who has been ranked as high as sixth in the world. In all, Drake defeated 12 players who have been ranked in the top 50 of the ATP world doubles rankings and won six ATP Challenger doubles titles. In addition, he was the top seed in “The Championships Wimbledon” doubles qualifying event in 2006.
A 2003 Brown graduate with a degree in modern American history, Drake was a two-time unanimous selection to the 2002 and ’03 All-Ivy teams. He was a two-time captain, leading the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances each year he captained the squad, plus guided the team to its first Ivy League title in the program’s history in 2002. The two-time Academic All-Ivy performer was the 2003 ITA Region I Rafael Osuna Award winner, given to “a player who displays sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and has outstanding tennis accomplishments.”
Drake can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.