Coaches are dedicated to introducing tennis to young players “the right way,” and to helping more advanced players take the next step in their development.
Tennis coach Peter Burling enters his 23rd year as head of the men's tennis team and his 14th year leading the women's squad in 2012-13. Bringing a tremendous amount of experience and leadership to the tennis programs, Burling has helped the Big Red men's and women's programs rise among the elite programs in Division III tennis.
Seniors Sarah Short and Tom Cawood, and junior Alex Marcell all qualified for the NCAA Division III Individual Championship. Cawood earned All-American status after a three-set victory in the opening round before bowing out in the round of 16. Short and Marcell competed in the doubles draw, while Short also filled in as a late replacement in the women's singles bracket.
In 2011 Burling guided the women's tennis team to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals (Elite 8) for the seventh time out of the last eight seasons. The Big Red women also won their 10th consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Championship. On the men's side, the Big Red spent all seasons nationally ranked and achieved a big victory over No. 8 Carnegie Mellon in March. The men went on to finish second in the conference and the doubles team of Matt McErlean and Tyler Cempre were invited to play in the NCAA Division III Doubles Championship Tournament in May.
The 2010 seasons were also special one's for Burling as he guided the programs to a number of milestone victories. On May 1 against Oberlin the men's team picked up victory No. 600 in the history of the program. On April 10 versus Hope College, Burling reached the 300 career win mark on the men's side. Overall, Burling boasts a career record of 556-212 (.724) with both the men's and women's squads, combined.
In 2010 the Denison University women's tennis program returned to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season after posting an 18-5 record and a No. 5 national ranking. Additionally, the doubles team of Marta Drane and Kristin Cobb reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Championship for the third straight season. This season has been a continuation of the women's program's rise to the upper echelon of Division III tennis. Over the last nine years they have captured nine consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Championships and they have gone 188-57 over that time frame. They are also riding a nine-year winning streak in conference play. DU's last loss in the NCAC came on April 21, 2001. In all, they have gone 57-2 in conference play with Burling as the head coach.
A 10-time NCAC Coach of the Year, the 2004 Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year and the 2005 USPTA National College Coach of the Year, 2010 marked Denison's ninth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. The 2008 season marked a breakthrough year for the women's tennis program at Denison University. The team posted a 22-4 record and finished a program-best, third place at the NCAA Division III Championships. After making three previous trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals, the Big Red defeated Emory University to advance to the national semifinals for the first time. In addition to their third place team finish, the doubles team of Marta Drane and Kristin Cobb were the 2008 NCAA Division III runners-up in doubles play.
The men's team, which Burling has invested over two decades in, has also met a tremendous amount of success under his leadership. He has garnered the NCAC Coach of the Year award in 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2006. Burling has also been named NCAA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year and USPTA Midwest Coach of the Year. Since taking over as the head coach in 1991, Burling has coached 10 All-Americans on the men's side and five NCAC Players of the Year.
In 2010 the Denison men's tennis team went 18-4 with a perfect 4-0 mark in NCAC West Division play. They advanced to the NCAC Championship match for the sixth consecutive season and finished the year ranked ninth in the central region. He has taken the men's team to seven NCAC Championships and eight NCAA Tournament appearances. He has amassed a career record of 304-124.
Burling, originally from Orleans, Massachusetts, has been a USPTA Level I Professional for 37 years and currently resides in Granville with his wife Patricia. He has two sons, Scott and Colin.