SIU will play three SWAC opponents and Troy. It will be the first meetings in school history for all teams.
Alex Pozo clinched the win with a victory at No. 5 singles
The 7-0 victory marked SIU's third shutout in a row
SIU beat Austin Peay 7-0 and failed to lose a set
Salukis face Austin Peay on Friday and McKendree on Sunday
Last updated: May 15, 2015
Dann Nelson is in his 10th year as the head men's tennis coach at Southern Illinois Unviersity.
In Nelson's 10th season as head coach, the Salukis concluded the 2014-15 season with a 6-16 overall record, 0-4 in the MVC. SIU faced tough competitors throughout the season, including nationally ranked teams from North Florida, Southern Alabama and Drake. The Salukis came away with a successful week near the end of the regular season when they topped Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois at home. SIU's match against Northern Illinois came down to junior Jonny Rigby's thrilling third-set victory at the No. 1 singles spot that allowed the Salukis to clinch a 4-3 victory over Northern Illinois for the first time since 2011. SIU entered the MVC Team Championships ranked fourth in the conference, before falling, 4-1, to an MVC affiliate school, UMBC, in the first round of the tournament. At the conclusion of the season, Jonny Rigby was named All-Conference for the third consecutive year, and Rigby and sophomore Michal Kianicka earned MVC Scholar-Athlete recognition.
The Salukis finished the 2013-14 season with a 10-11 overall record, 2-2 in the MVC. The Salukis advanced to the semifinals at the MVC Championships before falling 0-4 to Wichita State. This marks the third-straight season Nelson guided the team to a top-three MVC finish. He picked up his 100th coaching win at SIU in 2014, as well. Nelson was named Co-Coach of the Year in the MVC for the second time in his career after winning the title in 2009.
After a slow start, Nelson led the Salukis on a 7-1 run midway through the season, rounding out the regular season with two wins over Western Illinois and Illinois State. Freshman Michal Kianicka and sophomore Jonny Rigby finished as the only doubles pair to go undefeated in MVC play, both earning All-Conference recognition at No. 1 doubles. Rigby and Kianicka were also named to the All-Conference teams at No. 3 and No. 1 singles, respectively. Kianicka was also awarded MVC Freshman of the Year, the third Saluki to earn this accolade in SIU men's tennis history, after Eric West in 2009 and Jorge Cavero in 2011. Cavero, a graduating junior, earned All-Conference recognition in No. 2 singles after going undefeated in MVC play.
SIU concluded the 2012 season after compiling a 13-6 overall record and 6-2, third place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference. Nelson coached freshman Jonny Rigby to a stellar freshman campaign. Rigby was an All-Conference selection with a perfect 5-0 ledger in MVC play and an impressive 14-3 overall record. Jonny Rigby and doubles partner Badr Cherradi also received All-Conference laurels under Nelson's direction posting a 4-1 conference record. Brandon Florez capped off his senior campaign setting a new SIU record with 51 career doubles wins. The Salukis season ended with a loss to No. 2 Wichita State at the MVC semi-finals.
The 2012 campaign was a difficult one for Nelson and the Salukis, who played their toughest schedule in several years with three nationally ranked opponents (No. 49 Drake, No. 57 South Alabama and No. 67 Purdue) and two other programs that were nationally ranked throughout the season (Georgia State and Wichita State). Southern also lost reigning 2011 MVC Freshman of the Year Jorge Cavero to injury for the entirety of the 2012 spring season. However, even though they were 6-10 at the onset of Missouri Valley Conference play the Salukis still managed a 2-3 conference record. Southern ended up in a three way tie for third place with Bradley and Illinois State after a thrilling last-match victory against Bradley on April 21 in Carbondale. From Jan. 3 to Feb. 16 the doubles team of Martijn Admiraal and Brandon Florez were ranked No. 42 in the nation after a stellar fall performance at the ITA Central Regionals. The duo was Nelson's first nationally ranked doubles tandem since Felipe Villasenor and Sergio Sanchez were ranked 28th in 2006. French transfers Badr Cherradi and Stanislas Rodier were named to the MVC All-Select team after they carried the Salukis at the top two singles positions all season to help fill Cavero's void. Cherradi was also named an honorable mention to the MVC Scholar-Athlete team along with teammate Rafael Cuadrillero. Junior Orhan Spahic also gave Coach Nelson yet another MVC Scholar-Athlete with his 3.9 GPA.
Coach Nelson willed his 2010-11 Saluki team to an 11-8 overall record and a fourth consecutive trip to at least the semifinals in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Nelson added a second Freshman of the Year (Eric West, 2009) award to his credentials as incoming freshman Jorge Cavero from Lima, Peru, won the honor for the 2011 season. Fellow freshman Adam Fabik also had a stellar season for the Salukis, taking home three fall tournament crowns and shattering the single season Fall singles wins record by winning his first 17 fall matches in the process. After a 14-4 spring season, Fabik finished the year with 32 total singles wins, which now ranks second all time in single season wins behind Mickey Maule's 1988 mark of 38. Fabik, along with Cavero, were named to the MVC All-Select team, and Nelson also added another MVC Scholar-Athlete in sophomore Orhan Spahic.
2009-10 was a down year for the Salukis, as they finished 7-13 overall and 2-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference, only a year after being crowned conference champions and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. In this rebuilding year, the Salukis lost their number one player in Lucas Waked to injury and relied on four freshman and two transfers to carry the slack. However, the Salukis still managed to advance to at least the semifinals in the MVC tournament for the third straight year.
2009 was a banner year for Southern, as Nelson led SIU to its third-ever MVC title aand first since 1990. The Salukis also gained an automatic berth to the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships. During the season, SIU received a wide variety of honors, including having four players being named to the All-Conference team (Hugo Vidal, Felipe Villasenor, Lucas Waked, and Eric West). Off the court, the team also achieved unprecedented success, as two Salukis - Vidal and Anton Leonenko - were named to the Academic All-Conference team. In addition, West was named the MVC's Freshman of the Year and Nelson himself was named the MVC Coach of the Year.
Nelson's 2008 team rode through the peaks and valley's, as they finished 12-14 on the year and 3-3 in the MVC. His team did finish strong, however. SIU won its last two matches and stood fourth in the final MVC standings, its best regular season finish since 1997.
2006-07 brought success for SIU in many areas, including the highest MVC finish in eight years and a No. 8 ranking in the final Central Region poll. Felipe Villasenor had a final ranking at No. 30 in the Central Region. In the fall of 2007, the Salukis gained their first MVC individual singles title in 16 years, with Hugo Vidal winning the crown at the No. 3 position.
Nelson earned the ITA Midwest Section Community Service award for establishing the Saluki Tennis Academy in 2006.
In his first season at SIU, 2005-06, Nelson coached the No. 28 nationally-ranked doubles duo of Sanchez and Felipe Villasenor. The tandem reached the quarterfinals of the ITA fall regional and defeated the No. 6 doubles duo in the country, Arkansas' Rohan Gajjar and Adrains Zguns. Nelson led the team to its first winning season in seven years, as the Dawgs finished 11-10 in the spring.
His first year was a record-packed season. Senior Bojan Ilievski posted nine singles' wins during the fall season to tie for fourth all-time at SIU. Freshman Andrei Bubnov and junior Sergio Sanchez also made the fall singles' win list at six and seven, respectively. The 2006 Salukis finished the fall 52-13 in singles and 27-8 in doubles, compiling the best team record and conference finish (sixth) since Southern's 1999 season.
Prior to Nelson's move to SIU, he led Western Illinois' men's tennis team from 2003-2005. In the season prior to Nelson's arrival at Western, the Leathernecks had not won a dual match and had not won a conference dual match in two years.
Nelson quickly turned things around, guiding WIU to a second-place regular-season Mid-Continent Conference finish in 2004. His team posted a 5-1 conference record and a 9-4 overall record, its best finish in eight years.
From 2001 to 2003, Nelson served as head coach at Westminster College, an NCAA Division III school in Fulton, Mo. In 2003, Westminster posted a 13-2 record to earn a conference title, and Nelson was named Coach of the Year in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The 2002 and 2003 seasons were very successful for Nelson's teams. Westminster won the SLIAC both years and posted a 19-7 combined record. Westminster also had ten athletes selected to the All-Conference teams during that time period. In 2002, the team earned the school's first regional ranking in its history and the doubles team of John Hall and Ryan Carney finished with a perfect 13-0 record. Carney posted an undefeated 17-0 singles record in 2003 in route to being named the SLIAC Athlete of the Year.
From 1997 to 2001, Nelson served as a teching professional at the Edmond Racquet Club in Edmond, Okla. As the Associate Director of Junior Development, Nelson worked with several nationally-ranked players as well as numerous state champions. Several of Nelson's students went on to play Division I tennis.
Nelson began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant at NAIA Oklahoma Christian University, his alma mater, where he also earned All-America honors as a player. While playing for Oklahoma Christian, Nelson amassed a 44-5 doubles record spanning the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He also participated in the NAIA Championships in 1995 and 1996. During Nelson's senior season, Oklahoma Christian earned the Sooner Athletic Conference title, the Region V team title and achieved a No. 4 national ranking.
Nelson served as a Volunteer Assistant at Central Oklahoma, an NCAA Division II school, while working on his Master's Degree. Nelson graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1997, with a bachelor's degree in social studies. He earned a master's degree in education from Central Oklahoma in 2001.
Nelson and his wife, Casey, have two girls, Khana (12) and Nanaiya (9) and reside in Carbondale, Ill.
|Nelson Year-By-Year Record|
|2001-02||Westminster (Mo.)||6-5||SLIAC Champions|
|2002-03||Westminster (Mo.)||13-2||SLIAC Champions|
|2003-04||Western Illinois||9-4||Summit League Semifinals|
|2004-05||Western Illinois||9-10||T-5th in Summit League|
|2005-06||Southern Illinois||11-10-1||T-6th in MVC|
|2006-07||Southern Illinois||12-8||5th in MVC|
|2007-08||Southern Illinois||11-13||MVC Semifinals|
|2009-10||Southern Illinois||7-13||MVC Semifinals|
|2010-11||Southern Illinois||11-8||MVC Semifinals|
|2011-12||Southern Illinois||9-13||T-3rd in MVC|
|2012-13||Southern Illinois||13-6||3rd in MVC|
|2013-14||Southern Illinois||10-11||3rd in MVC|
|2014-15||Southern Illinois||6-16||7th in MVC|
|Total: 14 Years||---||145-126-1 (.533)||---|