Davidson Kozlowski New FGCU Men's Coach
Sep 22, 2023
For the first time in more than a decade, the Florida Gulf Coast men's tennis program has a new head coach. CJ Weber resigned in May after 12 years with the Eagles, most recently leading them to the NCAA tournament and an ASUN tournament title.
"CJ did a phenomenal job over the last 12 years, we're in a position where the men that he brought into the program were outstanding gentlemen on or off the court," said FGCU Athletic Director Ken Kavanaugh. "What we're looking at really is to continue that success. We've been fortunate that when we've had other very successful coaches leave, our replacements have taken over and put us in a position of maintaining the tradition."
This summer it was announced that former Drake University men's tennis coach Davidson Kozlowski was just that guy.
"[I'm] excited to be back down and on the Gulf Coast," said Kozlowski. "I feel like I'm in paradise right now."
Kozlowski, a native of Sarasota, spent the last 11 years building success in Des Moines, Iowa, with the Bulldogs. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference and Summit League Coach of the Year on six occasions, and he led his squad to seven conference tournament titles. During his tenure, the Bulldogs qualified for eight NCAA tournament berths. One of the biggest things that FGCU and Drake men's tennis has in common is that they are both 2023 conference champions.
"Winning conference championships, those things are not given," said Kozlowski. "It's a year-round process. It's 365 days that you're working towards that kind of one moment. So when any team is able to win a conference championship and raise that trophy, you have to be impressed. You gotta respect it."
Drake had never won an NCAA Tournament match before Kozlowski arrived and led Drake to the round of 32 in 2013 and 2015. The Bulldogs defeated 14 Power Five Conference teams during his tenure, and they reached their highest ranking in school history, No. 16 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Kozlowski's father, Dave Kozlowski, is a highly recognized teaching pro from Sarasota who is a member of the USPTA Hall of Fame and has received the USTA National Media Excellence Award.
Dave Kozłowski told Florida Tennis, "Davidson’s sisters, mother and I are so proud of the impact that he makes in the lives of his intercollegiate players. He has represented our family with tremendous dignity in the college tennis domain. His on-going mission has been to give his players the most positive experience that they could feel on and off the court”.
This article also appears in the September-October 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news. Photos courtesy of FGCU.