EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Amanda Pratzel will take over the SIUE women's tennis program effective immediately, according to Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt.
Pratzel, who has been an assistant coach for the Cougars for the last four seasons, replaces Jason Coomer as the head coach. Coomer will continue to be the head coach for the SIUE men's tennis team.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity," said Pratzel. "When I learned of this, I was excited because I could not ask for a better University to start my head coaching career. I would like to thank Dr. Hewitt for his confidence, and I am especially grateful to Jason who has been a good teacher over the past four years."
Hewitt said Pratzel exceeded his expectations as an assistant coach.
"We brought her in with the belief that she would become a head coach for us," Hewitt said. "She has worked very hard for this opportunity as an assistant coach and is ready to take over the women's program."
The SIUE women's tennis team qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference Championships for the first time in school history this past season and recorded its first winning season since 2007, finishing 7-3 in OVC play.
"We have the same group of women as we had this year," said Pratzel. "I couldn't ask for a better group with which to start out. We will have the same expectations as we have had since I started here with new goals to reach for upcoming seasons."
A native of Chesterfield, Missouri, Pratzel was a graduate assistant coach at Ball State University and was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Missouri. She has worked as a tennis instructor at the Missouri Athletic Club in charge of summer junior tennis programs and also coached the 2011 Missouri Valley Boys and Girls 16 Zonals Team at the national zonals championships.
Pratzel played Division I tennis at Missouri and Oklahoma. As a player at Missouri, Pratzel finished the 2005-06 season with a 21-9 singles record which tied for the 12th-best overall winning percentage in school history. She helped lead the Tigers to a top 70 national ranking in both seasons at Missouri.
As a senior, Pratzel advanced to the round of 32 at the ITA Central Regional Championships in both singles and doubles. Pratzel and teammate Erika Josbena combined to win the Minnesota Gopher Invitational. The duo also knocked off the No. 50-ranked team from Iowa 8-2 in that tournament. She also was selected to the 2007 Academic All-Big 12 first team.
She posted a singles record of 19-6 in two seasons at Oklahoma as a freshman and sophomore. She went undefeated in the Polo Tennis National Collegiate Preview in 2003 and 2005 and also helped the Sooners qualify for the NCAA Championships during her freshman campaign as a top 20 team nationally.
Pratzel, who becomes the ninth head women's tennis coach in school history, earned a bachelor's degree in nutrition and fitness from Missouri in 2007. She earned a master's in sports administration from Ball State in 2010.