Illinois women’s tennis head coach Evan Clark extends contract through 2025–26 season

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Sydney Laput

Illinois women’s tennis head coach Evan Clark speaks with the team before their matches against Eastern Illinois on Jan. 23.

By Conor Blount, Staff Writer

Currently in his seventh year as head coach of Illinois women’s tennis, Evan Clark has been given a three-year contract extension to coach through 2026.

Clark became a part of Illinois women’s tennis in December of 2014 and just a year later was asked to serve as interim head coach after the departure of Michelle Dasso during the 2015–16 season. That summer, Illinois’ Director of Athletics Josh Whitman announced that Clark would be the official head coach moving forward.

Clark was quick to capitalize on the opportunity, as his first seasons with the Illini were some of the best in program history. 

In his second year as head coach of Illinois women’s tennis, the program tied its all-time single-season win record with 22 wins and earned its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012. 

While not as historic as the year prior, Clark’s third year was filled with success as well. A big win over No. 11 Ohio State to conclude the regular season resulted in the Illini finishing fourth in the Big Ten. After earning a consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, Illinois seemed poised to be a powerhouse in the Big Ten for years to come.

Unfortunately, the next two seasons were heavily affected by the pandemic, with the 2019–2020 season being outright canceled in March of 2020 and the 2020–2021 season being entirely spring conference play.

The 2021–22 season was an opportunity for Illinois to rebound from two seasons brought down by the pandemic, and Clark did not disappoint. Earning a record of 16-9 and securing a win in the Big Ten tournament was a return to form for the Illini, despite missing the NCAA tournament.

Illinois has dominated thus far in the final year of Clark’s contract. Several impressive performances at invitationals combined with junior Kate Duong and sophomore Megan Heuser’s Midwest Regional Doubles Championship show that Illinois is back on track to a position of dominance.

 

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