Ashley Phillips, Sports Editor
Mike Mucci has been named as the new head coach for Jacksonville State’s tennis team for the spring season, JSU athletics announced on Tuesday.
“We are excited to welcome Mike Mucci to the Gamecock family and to have someone with his experience and success take over our tennis program,” said Greg Seitz, JSU’s athletic director. “Mike has had success at every stop in his young career and is the perfect fit to carry on the storied tradition that we have built on the courts, in the classroom and in the community here at JSU.”
Mucci, who arrives at JSU with a rich history of five years of coaching tennis, said he was “really excited to be here,” and that he was ready to build the university’s tennis program.
“I am so excited to get started at JSU,” said Mucci. “I have always had a lot of respect for this institution and athletics department, and I’m honored to be the head coach here. I’m motivated to continue the great tradition of success in the OVC that has been established and can’t thank Greg Seitz enough for the opportunity.”
Prior to securing his new role at JSU, Mucci’s most recent position was at Southern Utah University as the head coach of the women’s tennis team for their 2019-2020 season.
“I was planning on being there for a pretty long time, at least a few years or more, and the program got discontinued because of COVID,” Mucci said.
After the discontinuation last June and shifting around a bit, Mucci saw the job posting with JSU. He said it took a while to all come about but that he was happy to be here.
Though Mucci’s alma mater was up north at Niagara University in New York, he’s no stranger to the South. In the 2018-2019 season, Mucci was the assistant coach at Belmont University in Nashville and brings experience with the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).
“Nashville is very different than Jacksonville, but at the same time I think there’s a lot of similarities between the people and how friendly they are, and I really like that aspect of it,” said Mucci.
Asked if he had any plans for the upcoming season, Mucci said his biggest priority was getting to know the players and nailing down the new schedule.
Due to COVID-19 and pandemic precautions, many schools previously on the schedule for matches might have made changes to their upcoming season. Though optimistic, Mucci said he plans to take every match on an individual basis even after the schedule has been finalized.
“You can try to anticipate it but at the end of the day, none of us know what’s going to happen,” Mucci said.