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UAFS: Huckelbury resigns as tennis coach

FORT SMITH — UAFS men’s and women’s tennis head coach Bob Huckelbury resigned on Thursday after eight full seasons, according to UAFS director of athletics Dr. Dustin Smith.

Huckelbury cited personal reasons for his resignation, which Smith said is effective immediately. Smith said an interim head coach will be named in the coming days to lead the programs during the remainder of the fall season.

Smith said the search for a permanent head coach will begin immediately and said he hopes to have someone hired before the start of the spring season.

“Coach Huckelbury built our tennis program from the ground up, and I am very appreciative of the way in which he devoted his all to our program. He brought in outstanding student-athletes who excelled both in the classroom and on the court. I can’t thank him enough for the way he invested himself into our tennis program, the lives of his student-athletes and the community,” Smith said.

“He prided himself on recruiting great student-athletes, and his teams have excelled in the classroom. His women’s team has had the highest team GPA of any UAFS athletics team the past two years. I commend him and thank him for his efforts not just in making our student-athletes better tennis players but, more importantly, for challenging them to excel in the classroom.”

Huckelbury was beginning his ninth season at UAFS. He compiled an overall record of 111-82 as women’s head coach and an overall record of 76-103 as men’s head coach.

He was the first coach in the history of the men’s and women’s tennis programs, which began competition in the fall of 2005. UAFS competed as a member of NJCAA until the fall of 2009, when it became a provisional member of NCAA Division II.

During that span, Huckelbury guided the Lions to two NJCAA Region II championships and four appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament, where they posted three Top 10 finishes. He led the Lady Lions to two NJCAA Region II championships and four appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament, where they posted three Top 20 finishes.

Since becoming an active member of NCAA Division II in fall of 2011, the Lady Lions and Lions have twice advanced to the semifinals of the Heartland Conference Tournament.

“Bob was our tennis coach for eight full seasons, and his dedication to the sport and the program was incredible,” Smith said. “He invested his life into building our program, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

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