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Out of the blue: ETSU tennis coach Zaatini abruptly resigns

Johnson City Press • Mar 16, 2017 at 9:16 AM

Yaser Zaatini resigned as the head tennis coach at East Tennessee State University late Wednesday night.

ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Richard Sander said his resignation was effective immediately and discussions are taking place regarding interim leadership for the tennis teams, and that a search for a permanent head coach will be conducted in the future.

ETSU declined to comment on Zaatini’s abrupt resignation.

A former ETSU player, Zaatini was in his fifth season as Director of ETSU tennis and his 14th as head coach of the men’s team.

Prior to this season, Zaatini had a combined record of 334-136, including 244-96 with the men and 90-40 wih the women. He guided the men’s team to 10 consecutive conference tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, and the women to NCAA berths in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

Initially hired as an assistant coach in 2002, Zaatini was named head coach when Dave Mullins left the job to become ETSU’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics that same year.

Zaatini won coach of the year awards eight times in the Atlantic Sun and Southern Conference.

As a player, Zaatini was the first ETSU player to compete in the NCAA Championship and the only four-time SoCon tennis champ in No. 1 singles. In 1992, he was as high as fourth in the national ITA rankings, the highest ever for an ETSU player.

Zaatini was a two-time All-American, in 1992 and ’93, and just one of four Bucs to earn that title.

Zaatini graduated from ETSU in 1993 and was inducted into the ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.