Over the past 10 seasons Brian Etzkin has turned the Cleveland State women's tennis program into one of the top teams in the Horizon League. Etzkin has guided the Vikings to eight straight winning seasons, and he will be striving for the same level of excellence during his 11th year at the helm of the program.
Last season, Etzkin led the Vikings to their second straight appearance in the Horizon League Championship match as CSU entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed for the third straight year. The league championship came on the heels of a regular season in which the Vikings posted a 15-8 record, including a 7-1 mark in league matches.
Etzkin became the head coach at CSU in 2002-03, taking over a women's program that was in dire need of rebuilding. And the change came quickly, as the Vikings won 10 matches during Etzkin's second year and have finished .500 or better in eight of his 10 seasons.
The winningest coach in school history, Etzkin reached an impressive milestone during the 2009-10 season, recording his 100th career victory with the women's program. Entering the 2012-13 season, Etzkin has an overall record of 138-129 at the helm of the Vikings.
As a team, the Vikings reached another impressive milestone during the 2010-11 season, as CSU advanced to the championship match of the Horizon League Tournament for the first time in program history. In 10 seasons, Cleveland State has notched an 11-13 record in the league tournament under Etzkin.
Etzkin's accolades have earned him a pair of Horizon League Coach of the Year awards, as he earned the honor following the 2011 and 2004 seasons. He has also mentored two women's players to the all-league first team, as Sarah Galon (2004, `05, `06, `07) and Catrine Bjerrehus (2009, '10, '11, '12) earned a spot on the team during all four years of their Viking careers.
The Vikings are just as impressive off the court also, as Alex Power and Bjerrehus were both named ITA Scholar-Athletes last year and the women's team has received ITA All-Academic honors seven out of the past eight seasons.
Three Vikings have also been awarded the Horizon League Herb Foster Sportsmanship Award, including Galon who was a two-time recipient (2006, 2007). Charlotte Gibbons (2010) and Morgan Ungerott (2008) also earned the accolade during their time at CSU.
Etzkin has also encouraged his players to become community leaders. Over the past 10 years three members of the women's tennis team have been involved with the Cleveland State Student-Athlete Advisory Council, including current Viking Nicole Janek who is serving as the president this year. During 2006 Galon served as the vice president and Ungerott served as the secretary.
In addition, the Vikings have gotten involved in many community service projects over the years, including working at the Cleveland Food Bank and adopting a second grade class at Marion-Sterling Elementary school in downtown Cleveland. At the food bank, the student-athletes do anything from sort and package food to put together boxes that will be sent out to those in need. When the Vikings visit the elementary school, they assist students with their reading, comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Etzkin was born in Cleveland and raised in Wooster, but returned to Northeast Ohio after working as an assistant men's tennis coach at Michigan State. While with the Spartans, he assisted in every aspect of the program, including serving as recruiting coordinator.
He also worked as the assistant tennis professional at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in addition to being the Tennis Director and Head Pro at Walnut Hills Country Club. Prior to working with Michigan State, Etzkin spent two years as an assistant coach for the men's and women's teams at Western Illinois University from 1998-2000.
Etzkin also coached the 2002 Midwest Junior Davis Cup team to the national championship in Columbia, S.C. He is an active United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Certified Teaching Pro.
Etzkin played college tennis for four years at Southern-Illinois University-Carbondale, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. As a senior in 1998, he received GTE Academic All-American honors and was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference All-Academic selection.
He later returned to school, earning a master's degree in sport management from Western Illinois in 2000.