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Colleges: 'Tank' serving notice

January 23, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

Pace was never a problem for Trevor Kronemann as a player. The UC Irvine men's tennis coach was a four-time All-American for the Anteaters from 1987 to 1990 and he went on to play nine seasons on the ATP Tour, terrorizing opponents with a power game that, along with his linebacker-like physique, earned him the nickname "The Tank."

But when it comes to the myriad duties of managing a program, obstacles can arise quickly to slow what Kronemann still hopes can be a climb to the top for his alma mater.

UCI is coming off back-to-back Big West Conference championships and begins its season Tuesday at No. 5-ranked UCLA at 1:30 p.m.

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But rather than the team he thought could generate a top-10 ranking, Kronemann's Anteaters begin the season ranked No. 42.

Chris Kearney, the Big West Player of the Year last season as a junior, turned pro, while would-be senior Steven Henderson, a second-team all-conference doubles player last season, has elected to concentrate on academics this year while preparing for graduate school, Kronemann said.

Still another would-be returner graduated early and Kronemann noted that one incoming recruit, who he said was a top-50 player among incoming freshmen, changed his mind and attended another school, despite having already signed a scholarship agreement with UCI.

Kronemann, who claimed four Big West singles titles and anchored four straight conference team title winners as a player, helped UCI, then coached by Greg Patton, reach national prominence. When he took over as coach before the 2007 season after five years as head coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he said he wanted to lead the Anteaters back onto the forefront of the national stage.

He's still working every day to do just that, but it has already taken longer than he had imagined.

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