May 22, 2006
SKILLMAN, N.J. - The University of North Carolina men's tennis program earned more national awards than any other school in the nation Monday night as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its eight major honorees for the 2005-06 school year. Senior Raian Luchici and assistant coach Don Johnson were both award winners.
Senior Raian Luchici of Timisoara, Romania was named the Farnsworth/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Senior Player of the Year. Luchici, a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and 2006 ITA All-America, is seeded in the Top 16 in singles and the Top 8 in doubles as individual play begins Wednesday in the 2006 NCAA Championships.
"This is a tremendous honor for Raian and our program. He joins a long list of great college tennis players who have received this award in previous years," said coach Sam Paul. "He will go down as one of the greatest players to ever wear the Carolina Blue He has represented our program so well both on the court and off the court. It has been an honor to have the opportunity to work with him in our program."
Don Johnson was selected as ITA Assistant Coach of the Year. A two-time champion in doubles at Wimbledon, Johnson served several years as a volunteer assistant coach for head coach Sam Paul before joining the staff full-time in 2004. In two of the past three years Johnson has helped lead the Tar Heels to national rankings of No. 11, its best finishes since 1992. Johnson was an All-ACC player, graduating from Carolina in 1990 and playing on UNC's 1990 ACC championship squad.
"Don Johnson is one of the best coaches in the world," said Tar Heel head coach Sam Paul. "If you look at the last three years, he has made a major impact on the success of our program. Don has had a major influence in improving the game of Raian Luchici who was named the National Senior Player of the Year today. Don is well deserving of the award."
The ITA national men's award winners are:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - will be announced next week
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year - Donald Johnson, North Carolina
ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year - Raian Luchici, North Carolina
ITA National Rookie Player of the Year - Matt Bruch, Stanford
ITA National Player to Watch - Arnau Brugues, Tulsa
ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Jonathan Stokke, Duke
ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award - Stephen Bass, Notre Dame
ITA/John Van Nostrand Memorial Award - Ryler DeHeart, Illinois