Jensen resigns as head coach midway through 8th season

Daily Orange file photo

Luke Jensen has resigned as head coach of the Syracuse tennis team, he confirmed to The Daily Orange on Wednesday.

Jensen said he’s in the process of accepting an opportunity to return to professional tennis in the coaching/media realm, and that the decision was unrelated to any potential wrongdoing.

“Timing is everything, defining moments in sports and life,” Jensen said. “It’s one of those things where there’s never a good time, but I just felt that some things were in front of me and if I didn’t take the chance now, I was going to lose them.”

In seven-plus years at the helm in Syracuse, Jensen led the Orange to a 106-57 record as the winningest coach in program history. After finishing 15-9 (7-1) in the team’s last Big East season in 2013, Syracuse started its first Atlantic Coast Conference season 0-3. Jensen will be replaced on an interim basis by associate head coach Shelley George, who Jensen brought in during his first year in 2007. Syracuse has already started an international search for a permanent replacement.

“I’ve loved, it, but I’m just a big believer in evolving,” Jensen said. “Everybody has to continue to evolve.”

Jensen said he could not elaborate on the career opportunity, but said it was crucial to step down now in order to be able to accept a position before the professional season ramps up.

“That window won’t open again for another year,” Jensen said. “It was just for me, looking back, listening to the opportunities and saying, ‘I don’t want to get too far into the season because then it hurts everybody.’”

Jensen said he turned down similar opportunities in past years because he was on the “Syracuse mission.” He spent each morning making recruiting calls during cardio workouts and would often jump into practice to push his players even harder.

“I think I was in a different place,” Jensen said.

The Orange will play its first match without Jensen at Ohio State on Friday at 1 p.m.

Said Jensen: “It wasn’t an easy decision, but I wouldn’t say it was last minute. It was something that builds over time.”


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