May 2, 2014 – utahutes.com
SALT LAKE CITY–After 28 years of exemplary service to University of Utah Athletics, F.D. Robbins has announced he will retire from his position as head men’s tennis coach in order to devote more time to his family and other interests. He will continue to teach private and group lessons as one of the teaching pros at Eccles Tennis Center.
Replacing Robbins as Utah’s head men’s tennis coach will be Roeland Brateanu (pronounced brat-ee-an-new), who has served as Robbins’ assistant coach for the past seven years.
“F.D. has been a longstanding member of the University of Utah community and we appreciate his contributions to the Utah tennis program as both a player and a coach,” said Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill.
“I have been part of the University of Utah for most of my adult life, as a student, player, assistant coach and head coach of the men’s tennis team. I will never forget my time here and will forever cherish my experiences and friendships,” said Robbins. “I especially want to thank my wife Shelley and my family for their unwavering support over the years. I am also thankful to the many players I’ve coached and appreciate their dedication and hard work both on the court and in the classroom.
“A coach is only as good as the players and coaches who work with him and assistant coaches Graeme Cox and Roeland Brateanu have worked hard to help build our program. I have appreciated the great fan support our tennis program has received. I am a Utah guy and love the University of Utah. I will miss my time with Utah, but will always be a Ute at heart.”
Robbins, who began his Utah career as an assistant coach to Harry James in the 1981-82, 1982-83 seasons, compiled a 364-345 career record as the head coach from 1987-2014. Utah qualified for five NCAA tournaments under Robbins–in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1996 and 1997–and won four conference titles (1987, 1989 and 1990 Western Athletic Conference and 2008 Mountain West Conference). He was named WAC Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1990. Utah won a first-round match in the Pac-12 Tournament all three seasons to date.
His successor, Brateanu, played for Robbins from 2002-04 and has been his assistant coach since 2008.
Robbins starred for the Utes as an undergraduate, earning All-America honors in 1969 and 1970 and playing the No. 1 singles position all four years. He reached the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in 1970 and won the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. He is a member of the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and the Crimson Club Hall of Fame.
“Roeland has earned a reputation as a fine coach and recruiter during his time as F.D.’s assistant,” said Hill. “We expect a smooth transition and are confident that the team and the tennis community will rally around Roeland.”
“I would like to thank Dr. Hill and Kyle Brennan for the opportunity to lead the men’s tennis program at Utah,” said Brateanu. “This is a bittersweet moment for me because I am replacing my former coach and mentor for these past seven years in F.D. Robbins. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that present themselves as the head coach of the Utes.”
During his time as a Utah assistant, Bratenau helped developed seven all-conference players, including Slim Hamza, Utah’s first All-Pac-12 selection. He also assisted in coaching six All-Mountain West Conference players from 2008-2011.
Prior to joining the Utah staff in 2008, Brateanu was on the coaching staff of the Guatemalan Fed Cup Team. The team attained its best result with a fifth-place finish in the America’s Zone Group II. While in Guatemala, he also coached two junior talents, leading them to a No. 1 ranking in their respective age groups. Additionally, Brateanu is a Bigger Faster Stronger certified strength and conditioning coach and clinician.
As a player at Utah, Bratenau was named first-team All-MWC twice in doubles (2003-04) and once in singles (2003). He was the regional winner of the prestigious Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award in 2004, when he was named Utah’s MVP. Brateanu also earned numerous academic awards as a player, including academic all-conference honors and a spot on the Athletic Director’s honor roll. He was the team captain his senior year and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
A native of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Brateanu graduated from Utah in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.