Hunter Nicholas Elevated to Associate Head Coach

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After helping lead Arkansas to its most wins in a season since 1986, assistant coach Hunter Nicholas has been promoted to associate head coach as announced by men’s tennis head coach Jay Udwadia.

“Hunter has been an integral part of our growth as a program over the last two seasons. He has shown incredible leadership and has earned the promotion to associate head coach,” head coach Jay Udwadia said. “I believe that he will continue to develop personally and professionally as there is growing excitement within our program right now. We are excited for him and his family to continue to be a part of Razorback Nation.”

Nicholas enters his third season on staff and recently assisted the Razorbacks to a historical 2024 season, including a nine-win improvement from the 2023 season, the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2021, and the most wins in a season since 1986 (21). The Hogs achieved a season-high ITA team ranking of No. 28 and defeated 11 teams that finished in the final ITA top-75 team rankings. Arkansas concluded the year with its highest year-end ITA team ranking since 2016 (No. 31).

During his time as assistant coach, Nicholas coached All-SEC Second Team honoree Gerard Planelles Ripoll in addition to the program’s first two All-Americans since 2018 with Božo Barun and Jared Horwood earning ITA Doubles All-American honors after advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2024 NCAA Doubles Championship.

Under Nicholas, Planelles Ripoll also received SEC Player of the Week honors in April 2024 and finished this season with a year-end singles ranking of No. 96. Barun and Horwood concluded this year with a season-high doubles ranking of No. 28. Nicholas played a vital role in the development of Connor Smillie, who earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors in February 2024.

Prior to Arkansas, Nicholas coached with Udwadia at Oklahoma State during the 2018-19 season as the Cowboys volunteer assistant coach. A Park City, Utah native, Nicholas helped lead Oklahoma State to a 16-12 dual-match record during the 2018-19 season, guiding the Cowboys to victories over ranked teams California, NC State, Memphis, Texas Tech and TCU, as well as Ole Miss in the first round of the NCAA Championships.

Following his stint in Stillwater, Nicholas served as an assistant coach at Utah State. In 2021, the Aggies posted a 12-8 overall record, going 3-4 in Mountain West action. Three Aggies earned All-Mountain West honors with Sergiu Bucur and Felipe Acosta both being named to the league’s singles team, while the duo of Acosta and Javier Ruiz picked up doubles accolades. During the 2019-20 season, the Aggies went 3-11 before the season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bucur earned All-MWC honors in singles after going 8-10 overall, including a 7-7 record in dual match play.

Prior to his coaching career, Nicholas played professional tennis going 43-20 in doubles play as part of the ATP/WTA Tour and ITF Pro Circuit main draw. Nicholas was ranked as high as No. 345 in doubles and earned a career-high ranking of 953 in singles.

As a student-athlete, Nicholas was a standout player at San Diego State from 2010-14. He was a four-year All-MWC selection in doubles play, and helped the Aztecs win the MWC regular season title in 2013. He was also an all-league selection in singles play as a senior and led his fellow Student Athletes as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Outside of tennis, Hunter is a passionate outdoorsman. His hobbies range from mountain biking in the hills of Northwest Arkansas, fly fishing, rock climbing, golfing with his wife, and backcountry skiing. Hunter and his wife, Amy, regularly enjoy taking their daughter, Penny, and dog, alongside their adventures.

For the latest information on all things Arkansas Men’s Tennis, follow the Hogs on social media by liking us on Facebook (Arkansas Razorback Men’s Tennis) and following us on Twitter and Instagram (@RazorbackMTEN).