Salt Lake City, UT – After yet another record breaking season for the University of Utah Tennis Camps, head men’s tennis coach Roeland Brateanu today announced some major changes to the camp program.
Associate head coach Dan Pollock has stepped down from his position as camp director, but will continue his duties on the men’s tennis team, as well as private lessons at the Eccles Tennis Center.
“I’d like to thank Coach Pollock for all his hard work these past few years with our camps,” Coach Roeland Brateanu. “Dan has laid a great foundation and has done a great job connecting with our tennis community, but has chosen to focus on his duties with the men’s team, where we need him the most!”
Effective immediately, Coach Pollock is being replaced by new camp director Dee-Dee Nelson. A former member of the University of Utah women’s tennis team, Coach Dee-Dee was recently employed by the Salt Lake Swim and Health Club as a Junior High Performance Tennis Director and has been a high performance coach for 3 years. She is a national USTA High Performance Coach and has led Team Intermountain in the USTA Zonals Championships for two consecutive years and named the 2017 Zonals Coach of the Year.
She is an expert in early development coaching and has been an integral part of the United States Tennis Association EDC (Early Development Camp) and RTC (Regional Training Camp) programs.
As a player, Nelson was a 4-time Utah State singles champion at No. 1 singles. She was a Arthur Ashe Scholar Winner, the recipient of the Coca Cola Scholarship and a Presidential Scholar. After two years playing for the Utah State Aggies, Nelson joined the Utes in 2007 and played her junior and senior year for head Coach Mat Iandolo. She captained the Aggie and the Ute teams for one year each.
“I am tremendously proud to have Dee-Dee head up our camps,” said head men’s tennis coach Roeland Brateanu. “She has done an outstanding job wherever she has been and has made the difference in the tennis lives of many in our tennis community already. Her energy and tireless work ethic are very conducive in our camp environment and I know our kids will absolutely love her. Above and beyond, she knows what it means to be a Ute!”
Former ATP top 100 doubles player in the world Jason Weir-Smith will join the Ute Camp Program as the new Director of High Performance and will head up the Grand Slam Ute program. Weir-Smith has been a local pro for 2 years at the Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club, but prior to that has had an extensive and successful career as a tennis player.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Weir-Smith played for Hall of Fame Coach Tut Bartzen at TCU, reaching the Final Four in 1997 and was named an All-American in 1996 and 1997. After his career at TCU, he reached as high as No. 81 on the ATP Doubles Tour, winning 5 Challenger events and reaching the semifinals in 3 ATP Tournaments. He qualified for the main draw in every Grand Slam and won rounds at the 2001 US Open and 2001 French Open.
“I think Jason’s resume speaks volumes,” said Brateanu. “He breathes tennis and has been successful at every single level of the game. I couldn’t think of a better person to head up our high performance program than him. He has an energy and competitiveness about him that many of the juniors in our state can learn from.”
After serving one year as the assistant men’s tennis coach at BYU, Matt Cowley has decided to move back to Pac-12 country and serve in the Utes camp program as an instructor.
“I don’t think our kids will quite realize how lucky they are to have yet another coach with collegiate coaching experience join our program,” continued Brateanu. “Matt is a young, stand up guy that comes from a very rich tennis background and has found a passion for the game of tennis that needs to be shared.”
Throughout his collegiate tennis career at the University of Utah, Cowley worked his way up to No. 1 singles and doubles with a 23-16 singles record and ranked as high as No. 75 in the nation with doubles partner Dan Little. In 2016 he was named the ITA Mountain Region Most Improved Player and is Utah’s first, and so far only student-athlete to receive Pac-12 All-Academic honors three consecutive years. He was an ITA Scholar Athlete twice and a Pac-12 All-Conference Team Honorable Mentioned in 2016.
Besides the new full time staff, Utah Tennis Camps will also continue to be coached by members of the University of Utah men’s and women’s tennis programs.
“I’m incredibly proud of our growing camp program,” concludes Brateanu. “We have the best tennis staff in state, access to the best facility in the state and our campers get access to the best men’s and women’s tennis programs and coaches in the state. I think we are doing a great job of promoting the sport of tennis in our community and introducing them to a sport anyone can play for a lifetime.”
Utah’s fall camp program will kick off September 5 through December 14, 2017 and will run Mondays through Thursdays from 4-8pm in five different programs, starting at only $15 per hour. Registration for the fall program starts August 15. By NCAA rules, all Utah camps are available to all and any entrants, but availability is limited.