Georgia Gwinnett College hired Chase Hodges, previously Georgia State's men's tennis coach, as its first head coach on Monday.
Georgia Gwinnett College completed its initial wave of head coaching hires for the 2012-13 school year on Monday, announcing successful Georgia State men's tennis coach Chase Hodges as the program's first tennis coach.
Hodges, who engineered a remarkable turnaround since 2009 at Georgia State, will oversee the Grizzlies' men's and women's tennis teams. He also will benefit from the college's newly acquired Collins Hill Tennis Center, which will be one of the top college training facilities in the region.
He is the third GGC head coach hired from Georgia State, joining women's soccer coach Domenic Martelli and baseball coach Brad Stromdahl.
"I've been talking with (GGC athletic director) Darin Wilson for quite a long time about (the job)," Hodges said. "Just with life in general, timing is important. And the opportunity to build something from the ground up and build a legacy, it's something you can't do anywhere else.
"The acquisition of the Collins Hill Tennis Center was big. We're going to have one of the best facilities in the Southeast for our kids to train at. ... Leaving Georgia State was a difficult decision, but ultimately I think over time, in three or four years, everybody's going to know who Georgia Gwinnett is."
Hodges, 35, has a history of winning in all of his college head coaching stops at Georgia State, Drake, UNC-Asheville and Longwood (Va.). He coached both the men's and women's programs at Longwood and UNC-Asheville, but coached just the men's teams at Drake and Georgia State.
He was honored by the International Tennis Association in 2011 as the only college head coach to lead five different programs to a national ranking. Prior to coaching at Georgia State, he was a three-time Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year at Drake, which he led to 47 straight wins from 2007-09.
He's aiming for similar success at GGC, which begins play 2012-13 and is eligible for national titles in 2013-14.
"I try not to say anything that's not realistic and I truly believe NAIA national championships are very realistic (at GGC)," Hodges said. "That's the goal for both programs. We want to win national titles and graduate all of these kids. Those are the goals. And outside of that, we want to give back to the Gwinnett County community and help grow the game of tennis in that community."
Hodges, a Hickory, N.C., native, played two seasons of college tennis at N.C. State and his final two seasons at UNC-Wilmington, where he also served as an assistant coach from 1998-2001.
While he's won plenty of matches elsewhere, most in the area know about Hodges' impact down the road in Atlanta. His 2011 team set a school record with 21 victories, a drastic turnaround from the program's previous history. He inherited a Georgia State men's team that had gone 1-20 in 2009 and engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in college tennis history by going 15-6 in his first season at GSU.
“Chase’s record is truly outstanding,” Wilson said of his final hire. “His experience and winning tradition will be a valuable asset to GGC as we build the men’s and women’s varsity tennis programs. We are really excited to have someone of his caliber join the Grizzlies.”
Hodges has some substantial work left to get his first team ready. He has eight men's and eight women's roster spots to fill for the program's debut season, which will include tournaments this fall and a full slate in the spring of 2013.
"I don't have much time," Hodges said. "Everybody else is definitely a few steps in front of me in terms of recruiting."