Rob Hubbard was named as Sam Houston’s eighth women’s tennis coach on July 11, 2016. In his first two seasons, Hubbard has directed the Bearkats to a 23-19 overall won-loss record and back-to-back Southland Conference tournament appearances.
During his first season at Sam Houston in 2016-17, the Kats produced a 6-5 record in conference play to earn the program’s first trip to conference post-season play in four years. The team’s nine dual match wins stood as the highest overall season victory total since 2009.
The 2017-18 Bearkats set a school record with a 14-6 dual match record, finishing third in the Southland race and reaching the tournament semi-finals for the fifth time in the program’s 31 seasons in the league. The 8-3 conference record included two close 4-3 losses.
Five Bearkat players have earned either first team, second team or honorable mention all-conference honors the past two years. The Sam Houston women’s tennis players have performed well in the class room as well, posting the highest overall team grade point average in the program.
Rob Hubbard, a Maryland native and former professional player on the ATP tour, came to Sam Houston after serving as head men’s and women’s tennis coach at the University of Maryland Baltimore County for the past eight seasons. He also was head coach at Goucher College in Baltimore and the University of Texas-Pan American.
“Rob Hubbard brings exceptional experience at all levels of tennis to Sam Houston,” director of athletics Bobby Williams said. “He has coached successful teams at the NCAA Division I level, played college and professional tennis and worked in teaching and training high level junior players. As a college coach, he has demonstrated the ability recruit talented players who also can achieve at a high level academically.”
Hubbard directed the UMBC men’s and women’s programs to a combined dual match record of 142 victories and 107 losses that included America East Conference championships in four consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2013. Both programs also exceled academically, earning Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team academic honors.
As head coach at Goucher College from 2000 to 2005, Hubbard’s teams earned NCAA Division III top 30 rankings and the program’s first NCAA Championships berth. He was selected as both ITA Atlantic South Region and Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
He returned to his alma mater as head coach at UTPA and again produced squads who achieved both on the court and in the class room. His 2008 women’s team rolled up 17 victories, the highest season wins total in UTPA women’s history. The Broncs were one of only 20 programs nationally to earn ITA Academic Team honors for both men’s and women’s tennis.
“Rob Hubbard has brought something special to the Sam Houston women’s tennis program,” associate athletic director for student services and Bearkat senior women’s administrator Chris Thompson said. “Respected in the coaching world, he has fielded a team that represents the university with class. As a player himself in college and as a professional, he can relate and communicate from first-hand experience. His coaching background reflects success in recruiting as well as in student-athlete welfare and academic achievement. Rob is a perfect fit for this program.”
A 1974 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School in Maryland, Hubbard played on nationally-ranked teams at Texas-Pan American in Edinburg from 1974 to 1978. He was a part of the first Broncs’ team to achieve an ITA Top 10 national ranking. He earned berths in the NCAA Division I Championships in both singles and doubles his final two years at UTPA.
Following the 1978 season, Hubbard turned professional and played three seasons on the ATP Tour where he was ranked in the top-300 in the world and competed in a pair of U.S. Open's in 1979 and 1980.
He was a two-time USTA National Champion (National Men’s 35 and 40 Hard Courts) and was selected to represent the United States at the Italia Cup, a 35-and-over Davis Cup competition, during his post-professional playing days. He was also the USPTA Maryland Pro of the Year in 2000 and was the USPTA Mid-Atlantic 35-and-over Player of the Year during his elite playing career.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Bearkat family and to lead the women's tennis program,” Hubbard said. “It is a pleasure working with our student-athletes, the outstanding athletics department, and the Huntsville community. I want to thank Bobby Williams, Chris Thompson, and the rest of the department staff for this incredible opportunity.
"From the moment I first arrived at Sam Houston to interview I was blown away by the campus, the student-athletes, and the family atmosphere within the athletics department. Now it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work as we focus on the team reaching the top of the Southland Conference as soon as possible."
Hubbard brings a strong background as a teaching professional. He spent eight years as the owner and director of Tournament Tough Training Center in Baltimore training elite junior players for national, sectional and state competition. In the program, players were mentored throughout on-court drilling and match-play as well as off-court weight training, conditioning, nutrition and mental training. The center produced more than 25 nationally-ranked junior players.
He also served as co-head coach of the USTA Junior Player Development Area Training Center in Baltimore; director of tennis at The Elkridge Club; head professional at the Orchard Indoor Tennis Club and co-owner of the Tennis Institute Tennis Camp. He started in the coaching profession as the Assistant Tennis Professional at The Wimbledon Racquet Club in Arlington, TX.
He is a certified coach by the USPTA and a former member of the Board of Directors of the USTA Player Development Area Training Center. He has earned a USPTA (P-1) Certification.
His wife Robin was a nationally-ranked tennis player at the University of North Texas and has more than two decades of coaching experience. The pair have won numerous mixed doubles titles together.