Jim Poling will enter his tenth season at the helm of the Army men's tennis program this year. Poling, twice named the Patriot League "Coach of the Year," led the team to a 5-1 record in conference play in spring of 2011 and a second place finish in the League Championships.
In nine years at the Academy, Poling has mentored three Patriot League "Players of the Year" (Arnie Albornoz - 2003, John Sabia - 2004, Carl Fisher - 2006), two "Rookie of the Year" honorees (Donald Van Velzer - 2009, Gary Kushnirovic - 2010) and has taken the Black Knights to the conference championship match in all eight seasons. Army has now appeared in the Patriot League championship match 16 times in the last 17 seasons.
The last four seasons, Army dropped the final match of the championships to service academy rival Navy. In 2006, the Black Knights won the Championship defeating American 4-2 in the finals. During the 2005 season, the Black, Gold and Gray registered an Academy-best 21-5 mark. In 2004, Army tallied a 19-8 dual match record, including a 5-1 mark in conference play. The Black Knights were 15-5 in 2003, Poling's first season at the helm.
Poling arrived at the Academy with 16 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, serving highly successful terms at Rollins (1993-2002), the University of Tulsa (1985-88), the University of South Alabama (1980-83) and Mississippi State University (1979-80).
The Winter Park, Fla., native continued a legacy of tennis excellence at Rollins, guiding the Tars to the NCAA Tournament during each of his nine years at the helm. After directing Rollins to a 25-3 record and a Division II national championship in 2001, Poling was named Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II National "Coach of the Year" in the spring of 2002. Poling led the defending national champion Tars to a 21-4 mark and a top four national ranking throughout the entire regular season. He also garnered Sunshine State Conference "Coach of the Year" honors for the second straight season (and third time in nine years), and was named ITA South Region "Coach of the Year" for the second time in six years.
Poling led the Tars to a trio of top-three finishes in the NCAA Tournament during his first three years at Rollins. His Tars club posted a 21-7 dual-match record in 1996 and reached the finals of the NCAA's. For his efforts, he was named the ITA South Region "Coach of the Year" for the first time. Poling guided the Tars to a pair of third-place NCAA finishes the previous two seasons. The veteran mentor continued to build on his list of impressive accomplishments at Rollins. In addition to leading the Tars to the Division II national title in 2001, Poling presided over the National Rolex Doubles Champions, four All-Americans, the No. 3 doubles team in the nation, the top-ranked player in the nation, the conference player of the year and a pair of Sunshine State Conference team championships during that time. In all, three of his teams captured Sunshine State Conference crowns during his tenure at Rollins as he authored an impressive 147-79 (.650) dual-match record.
A 1970 graduate of Clemson University, Poling lettered three times on the Tigers' tennis squad. He was selected the team's most valuable player as a junior and helped Clemson to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship the following year. He went on to earn a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of South Alabama in 1982. Following his graduation from Clemson, Poling served two years in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.
He began his collegiate coaching career with a one-year stint as men's head coach at Mississippi State, before moving to guide both the men's and women's tennis programs at South Alabama in 1980. Poling led the Jaguar men to three consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles and was twice named the league's coach of the year. During his third season at South Alabama, the Jaguars captured the National Independent Tournament and Poling was named the NIT "Coach of the Year." He spent three years running both men's and women's tennis programs at Tulsa, earning Missouri Valley "Coach of the Year" honors in 1987, before moving on to Rollins in September of 1993.
Poling is married to Marianne Ingard Poling, a member of a national champion tennis team during her undergraduate days at Stanford University. He has three children, Matthew, 27, Lilian, 13, and Karl, 11.