El Paso, Texas- Rodrigo Almeida has been tabbed as the assistant coach for the UTEP tennis team, head coach Ivan Fernandez announced Thursday. For the past two years, Almeida has served as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis programs at Campbell University.
“We are very excited to have Rodrigo joining our UTEP Tennis family as our assistant coach,” Fernandez said. “I have known him for many years, starting from his days as a collegiate player. He always showed great class and maturity. He was highly sought after by several other universities but saw a greater opportunity in coming to UTEP and Conference USA.
Almeida graduated from WNMU in spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s of science in physical education. Almeida later earned his master’s degree from Campbell University in spring 2018.
He served as an instructor and group chaperone for 15 nationally-ranked American juniors who toured and played in cities like Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona and Paris. He then went on to serve as a tennis professional for Cliff Drysdale Tennis, instructing individuals with skill levels ranging from beginners to semi-professionals. Following his time Cliff Drysdale Tennis, Almeida accepted the position at Campbell.
“He brings a great deal of experience after spending the last couple of years at Campbell University. He has recently received professional training at the Women’s Tennis Coaches Association Conference (WTCA), as well as at the International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA) World Tennis Fitness Conference and is an ITPA Certified Tennis Performance Specialist. He brings tremendous knowledge of tennis specific footwork, agility, and fitness training as well as recruiting contacts throughout Brazil and South America.”
At Campbell Almeida helped the men’s team post a combined record of 37-11 in dual-matches while also taking home the 2018 Big South Conference crown to advance to the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional. The women’s side also experienced success with a 14-8 dual-match mark in 2018, including a readout of 6-2 within league play, which was its best finish since rejoining the Big South Conference in 2012.
“I feel blessed for the opportunity to join the UTEP family as the assistant tennis coach,” Almeida said. “Ivan and I have a very similar coaching philosophy and, with UTEP’s continuous support, I have no doubt we will guide this program to competing at the top of the Conference USA.
Campbell’s men’s and women combined to secure 17 all-conference accolades and 36 Big South academic honor roll. He aided in mentoring the 2018 Big South women’s freshman of the year, Ana Castillo, and well as the 2018 Big South men’s tennis scholar-athlete of the year, Dustin Werner.
Almeida was a standout player for Western New Mexico from 2010-14. On two occasions he was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He climbed as high as 26th in the ITA’s NCAA DII rankings, and was also the top-rated player in the central region as a senior.
Upon the conclusion of his playing career, Almeida served as a student assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s teams at WNMU. Both teams advanced to the RMAC Championships. Additionally the men’s team secured a ranking of 27th.
“I would like to thank Coach Ivan Fernandez for his trust, support, and encouragement,” Almeida said. “I would equally like to thank Dr. Natalicio, Mr. Jim Senter, and Mr. Jeff Darby, for this opportunity. We already have in place an incredible group of young athletes and I am looking forward to help leading them towards a successful life both on and off the court. Go Miners!”