MARTIN, Tenn. - Former Intercollegiate Tennis Association national assistant coach of the year Ernesto Escamilla has joined the University of Tennessee at Martin tennis program as an assistant coach.
Escamilla comes to the Skyhawks after three years as the head coach of the Bethel University men’s and women’s tennis programs.
“Ernesto is exactly the right coach at the right time for our program,” UT Martin head coach Dennis Taylor said. “Having graduated our top three players, we are in what is known in sports as a ‘rebuilding year’. Having been a head coach himself, Coach Escamilla brings a van load of tools and experience to help speed up our rebuilding process. He has only been on board a few weeks and has already had a huge impact on our program.”
A Brownsville, Texas native, Escamilla first joined the nearby Bethel program as a graduate assistant in 2010 and worked his way up the coaching ranks. The ITA spotlighted Escamilla as the 2013-14 NAIA National Assistant Coach of the Year before he took over head coaching duties prior to the 2014-15 season.
“I am very grateful and excited to be a part of the Skyhawk family and work under Coach Taylor’s leadership,” Escamilla said. “I would really like to thank Coach Taylor and our athletic director Kurt McGuffin for this incredible opportunity. I am coming into a championship culture and getting to work with this team and joining this program’s commitment to developing excellent leaders on and off the court is something I will never take for granted. To have the chance to work with one of the best coaches in the country in Coach Taylor is very exciting for my family and I.”
Escamilla’s Lady Wildcats were twice recognized with the highest Grade Point Average out of all of Bethel’s NAIA sport programs. He also played a key role in raising funds for a facility upgrade, as the Wildcat tennis program was awarded a $10,000 grant application from the United States Tennis Association to resurface eight tennis courts.
During his tenure at Bethel, Escamilla developed and coached several nationally ranked players. He served as an assistant coach under Rafael Delgado and helped the Wildcats win the 2013-14 AMCW/HAAC/TSAC Unaffiliated conference championship. That season, Bethel was invited to the ITA NAIA Men’s National Championship as the No. 7 seed, the highest national ranking in Wildcat men’s tennis history.
In addition to his coaching duties at Bethel, Escamilla has been the head boy’s and girl’s tennis coach at Camden Central High School since 2013. The boy’s team won the district team championship while also producing a singles district title in Escamilla’s debut season.
Escamilla began his coaching career in the summer of 2004, where he worked at his hometown Brownsville Tennis Center for three years under professional tennis player Seferino Couho. While Escamilla was in college, he also received an opportunity to work at the Andy Roddick Tennis Academy at the McFarlin Tennis Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Escamilla graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2010. He obtained a Master’s degree in education/special education from Bethel in 2013.