Ascending the ranks

James Salazar 

Staff Writer

9/20/19: USF TEN Battle in the Bay at California Tennis Club in San Francisco, CA Image by Chris M. Leung for USF Dons Athletics

After seven seasons under Pablo Pires de Almeida, the USF men’s tennis team has a new leader at the helm. On Sep. 23, Athletics Director Joan McDermott announced that JT Sundling would be succeeding Pires de Almeida as the program’s head coach. 

In a statement on Dons Athletics’ website, McDermott said, “I’m very pleased to promote JT to head coach of our men’s tennis program. In a short amount of time, he has made an indelible impact on the program and has demonstrated his dedication and passion in helping build USF men’s tennis as we strive to become nationally prominent.” 

Sundling joined the team two seasons ago as an assistant coach. During last semester’s shortened season, he acted as the interim head coach, leading the Dons to a 6-6 overall win-loss record and a third-place finish at the Pacific Valley Championships. 

Beginning in high school, Sundling has accumulated several accolades in the world of tennis. As a junior at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California, Sundling was named the 2006 Southern California Player of the Year. 

During that time, Sundling also competed at the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) junior level of competition. In 2009, Sundling and his doubles partner, Daniel Nguyen, won the Boys Junior National Championship doubles title, thus earning a wild card berth in the 2009 U.S. Open men’s doubles main draw. 

Outside of doubles competition, Sundling was the winner of eight gold ball tournaments and earned a top-five ranking in the USTA’s 14s, 16s, and 18s divisions. He was also a member of the 2007 United States Junior Davis Cup team. 

After high school, Sundling played for the University of Southern California Trojans men’s tennis team. There, he was a two-time NCAA team champion and a two-time All-NCAA first-team selection. Sundling won the doubles title at the 2010 edition of USF’s Battle in the Bay tennis tournament. During his junior year, Sundling transferred to Texas Christian University, where he captained the Horned Frogs’ tennis team. 

Prior to joining USF, Sundling worked as a teaching professional at the California Tennis Club in San Francisco, overseeing the development of high performing junior-level tennis players.  
As found on the Dons’ official website, Sundling said, “I really enjoyed the years I was able to spend as an assistant coach for Pablo Pires de Almeida and thank him for all he has done for the program. I am grateful and honored to be leading the Dons and will continue to grow the culture of pride and excellence within this program.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that the Dons had a 4-5 overall win-loss record last season and has been updated and corrected.

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