UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Nittany Lion men’s tennis program has a new leader as long-time Wake Forest head coach Jeff Zinn has been named head coach. Zinn recently wrapped up his 15th season at the helm of the Wake Forest men’s tennis team.
Zinn posted a superb 231-157 record in 15 years at Wake Forest, including a 78-62 record in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference. Zinn has been credited with pushing the Wake Forest team from a perennial top-75 squad to a top-25 team. He also transformed the Demon Deacons into a top tier club in the ACC and NCAA. In just 15 years, Zinn led Wake Forest to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including the current streak of 11 straight. Before his arrival in Winston-Salem, the Deacons never made the NCAA tournament.
Under Zinn’s guidance, Wake Forest finished among the top four in the ACC seven times in his last 11 years there. The Deacons reached at least the semifinals of the ACC Championships for four straight years from 2007 to 2010, the longest such streak in the school’s long tennis history.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Jeff Zinn to the Penn State family as the head coach of our men’s tennis team," said Director of Athletics Tim Curley. "He comes to Happy Valley from the tennis-rich tradition of the ACC and his success both within the conference and at the national level is evidence of his ability to energize a program. We believe that he will build upon the foundation we have and take us to the next level. His record speaks for itself."
Zinn has seen individuals blossom under his tutelage. In 2008, he led two players to the school’s first ever individual NCAA Championship as the duo claimed the NCAA’s Division I doubles title and became first team All-Americans. During Zinn’s 15 years at Wake, his players collected 23 All-ACC honors. The school had only 12 all-conference players in the 42 years prior to his arrival.
The 1984 Cincinnati graduate began his head coaching career as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, where he was named the 1994 Sun Belt Coach of the Year and led UALR to the NCAA tournament in 1995 and 1996. He was also the 1992 Sun Belt Coach of the Year for his work with the UALR women’s team. He coached in Little Rock for six seasons, amassing a combined 133-88 record, including a 79-48 mark with the men.
Zinn’s collegiate coaching career began at Northern Kentucky where he coached for one year (1990). In just one season, he led NKU to a conference championship, earning conference Coach of the Year honors. Prior to his season at NKU, he spent seven years as the Director of Tennis at the West Side Racquet Club in Cincinnati.
"I want to thank Tim Curley for giving me the opportunity to join the Penn State Family," Zinn said. "Penn State has a great tradition of both athletic and academic excellence that makes it easy to attract some of the best student-athletes in the country to Happy Valley. My goal is to make Penn State men’s tennis a championship contender, both in the Big Ten and nationally, and I cannot wait to start building towards that."
An outstanding collegiate player himself, Zinn played number one singles and doubles at Eastern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Serving as the Bearcat captain, Zinn was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player as both a junior and senior. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in ’84. Zinn then went on to earn his master’s degree in public administration from Arkansas-Little Rock in 1994 and worked as an adjunct professor in the sociology department. He is certified by both the USPTA and the USPTR.