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Traci Green, The Shiela Kelly Palandjian Head Coach f...
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Traci Green, The Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head Coach for Harvard Women's Tennis, enters her 14th season in 2020-21 after taking over the program on July 1, 2007.
Under her guidance, the Crimson completed the biggest turnaround in 35 years of Harvard women's tennis. After finishing 2-17 and 2-5 in the Ivy League in 2008, Green led Harvard to a 13-8 overall record and a 6-1 finish in the Ivies to win the program's 18th Ivy League title in 2009. In the process, Green became the first African-American coach at Harvard to win an Ivy League title. She coached five All-Ivy selections in 2009, including a unanimous player of the year, Beier Ko.
In her third season with the Crimson, the team finished with a 14-8 overall record and a 6-1 mark in Ivy League play, as Harvard earned an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA Championships. Hideko Tachibana was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, while three other players earned All-Ivy honors. Harvard returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Injuries and illness slowed the Crimson early in Green's fourth season at the helm, but the team remained resilient under her guidance and finished with an even 9-9 record and No. 63 national ranking. Holly Cao played to a 22-3 record in singles, garnering first-team All-Ivy League honors, and was selected as an alternate for the NCAA singles tournament. The young doubles pair of Tachibana and Norton were selected to the All-Ivy League doubles first-team as well following a stellar spring.
In 2012, Green guided the Crimson to a third-place finish in the Ivy League (4-3) and 11-7 overall record. The squad finished 83-66 in singles matches and 50-27 in doubles throughout the season. Junior co-captains Hideko Tachibana and Kristin Norton earned All-Ivy honors and also paired to produce one of the biggest wins of the year. Harvard's top tandem took down No. 12-ranked Embree/Mather of Florida, 8-4, in the first round of the main draw at the prestigious ITA All-American Oct. 6. Junior classmate Camille Jania also had an impressive season for Harvard, finishing with an 18-5 mark in singles and a 15-6 record in doubles.
Harvard continued to build in 2013, finishing third in the Ivy League (5-2) for the second straight year and 13-6 overall. The team went a collective 78-34 in singles play and 32-20 in doubles during the dual season. Senior Hideko Tachibana became the second player in Harvard history to be named to the All-Ivy first team three times, while freshman Amy He was named to the second team. Fellow class of 2016 members Amanda Lin and Hai-Li Kong closed the season on impressive win streaks, earning victories in their last 15 and 12 matches, respectively.
Green led Harvard to an 11-8 overall record and 3-4 ledger against Ivy foes in 2014 to finish fifth in the league. The Crimson upset three ranked opponents including a 4-3 win over then-No. 11 Clemson Feb. 21, which represents the first victory over a top-15 ranked opponent in the Green era. Freshman Spencer Liang, who played exclusively as Harvard's ace in her first campaign in Cambridge, garnered All-Ivy second-team honors.
With a young team in 2015, the Crimson finished with a 7-12 overall record, including three victories over nationally-ranked opponents. The doubles pair of sophomore Monica Lin and freshman Annika Ringblom earned second-team All-Ivy honors, while freshmen Nikki Kallenberg and Ellen Jang-Milsten led the team in victories with 19 and 18, respectively.
The Crimson bounced back from a tough 2015 season and ended the 2016 year with a winning 12-11 overall record and a 2-5 Ivy League mark, finishing tied for seventh. Freshman Erica Oosterhout earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year with her 22-11 overall mark and a 5-2 conference tally. Senior captain Amy He led Harvard in victories with 26, while Oosterhout and Nikki Kallenberg followed with 22 and 21, respectively.
Harvard clinched a share of the Ivy League crown in the 2016-17 season. The Crimson finished with a 17-8 overall record and a 5-2 mark in Ancient Eight play. Green coached primarily in the first, second and third positions, which earned a combined 46 wins in dual play. Green tallied her 100th and 101st career victories in the duals against Stony Brook and Providence earlier in the season.
The Crimson added a 14-9 overall record in the 2017-18 season with a strong 6-1 record in the Ivy. She coached two athletes to All-Ivy First Team Accolades, with eight earn All-Academic Honors.
Her 2018-19 team finished second in the Ivy League with a 17-7 record and a 5-2 conference record while coaching an All-Ivy First-Team selection in singles and doubles.
The Crimson’s prosperity continued in 2019-20 under Coach Green. Harvard was off to its best start in her tenure at 7-2 before the remainder of its season was canceled by the Ivy League and Harvard. Green guided her team to a combined singles record of 80-34 and a 36-9 mark in dual matches. That dominance carried over into doubles action, where Harvard posted a 44-18 record and a 19-4 mark in the Spring. Four student-athletes earned more than 20 victories on the season, while Green finished the year just three wins shy of the 150-victory milestone.
She is the second-winningest coach in Harvard women's tennis history with 147 wins and is the second coach in Harvard women's tennis history to earn triple-digit victories.
The Philadelphia native came to Harvard after three years as head coach at Temple, where she orchestrated a complete turnaround of a program that went 4-15 prior to her arrival. Her second season saw the Owls register their first winning record since the 1999-2000 campaign, while her 2006-07 team went 16-4 overall, 8-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and reached the championship match of the A-10 tournament. Temple was ranked as high as No. 85 in the NCAA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association ratings in 2007, marking the first time that the Owls had achieved a national rank. Her team defeated three nationally-ranked opponents and saw five players achieve all-conference status. Green's head coaching record at Temple was 34-28.
Before taking over as Temple's head coach, Green spent two years as an assistant with the Owls, helping the program to the 2003 Atlantic 10 championship and the school's first NCAA tournament appearance.
Green's success as a coach follows a highly successful career as an undergraduate at the University of Florida. She was a member of the Gators' 1998 NCAA championship team and was ranked as high as No. 5 nationally in doubles and No. 12 in singles during the 1999-2000 season. Her teams won two ITA national indoor championships (1997, 1999) and ranks among Florida's career leaders in singles and doubles wins. Green was a three-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in both singles and doubles.
In addition to her coaching, Green also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Temple University College of Education, where she taught courses in the department of kinesiology. She also continues to serve on the USTA Collegiate Pathway National Committee, on the board of the Black Women in Sport Foundation, on the USPTA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and as Outgoing Board Chair of the Sportsmen's Tennis and Enrichment Center.
Green is a 2000 graduate of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications and a minor in education. She went on to earn a master's degree in sports administration from Temple in 2004 and has begun work toward a doctorate in education administration.
Green is just the eighth person to serve as Harvard's women's tennis coach. She inherited a Crimson program that had won 17 Ivy League championships, before winning its 19th in 2017. She owns a career coaching record of 147-112 at Harvard and 181-140 overall.
Omar El Kheshen, Assistant Coach
Omar El Kheshen enters his first season as an assistant coach at Harvard in 2019-20, after joining the program in July 2019. El Kheshen arrived in Cambridge after a successful stint as associate head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Southwest Baptist University.
Harvard was off to its best start of the Traci Green era in El Kheshen's first season. The Crimson posted a 7-2 record before the remainder of its season was canceled by the Ivy League and Harvard. Despite the shortened season, the group showed flashes of excellence in 2019-20 including a singles mark of 80-34 to compliment a doubles record of 44-18.
While in Bolivar, Missouri, El Kheshen helped both Southwest Baptist programs reach postseason play in 2018-19, with the men advancing to the Elite 8, and the women earning a berth in the NCAA regional championship.
The Bearcat men finished the campaign with a 19-3 record and along the way, won the conference and regional tournaments. Southwest Baptist was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country, boasted a team GPA of 3.72, and had one NCAA All-American, who enjoyed a No. 11 national ranking. At the end of the season, El Kheshen was named the 2019 Division II Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year for the Central Region.
The Bearcat women, meanwhile, went 13-8 in 2018-19 and earned a spot in the NCAA field after defeating the fifth-ranked team in the nation en route to the conference finals. El Kheshen tutored a pair of All-Americans, ranked No. 3 and No. 20, respectfully, and helped Southwest Baptist rise to as high as No. 16 in the nation. As a team, the Bearcats produced a team GPA of 3.92.
Prior to being promoted to associate head coach, El Kheshen served as Southwest Baptist’s assistant head men’s and women’s tennis coach. Both Bearcat squads reached NCAA postseason play with the men, led by three All-Americans, reaching the Round of 16 and the women, with their All-American duo, advancing to the regional championship.
The Southwest Baptist men won the 2017-18 conference and regional tournaments en route to a 19-3 record. El Kheshen guided the team to a No. 9 national ranking, which helped him earn the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year Award for the Central Region. Southwest Baptist also collected the ITA Central Region Community Service Award and had a CoSIDA Google Cloud First-Team Academic All-American.
On the women’s side, El Kheshen helped the ’17-18 edition of the Bearcats achieve success as they compiled a 14-4 record. They, too, had a player earn CoSIDA Google Cloud First-Team Academic All-America honors and enjoyed a No. 10 national record.
Before starting his coaching career at Southwest Baptist, El Kheshen was a standout as a player at the school, earning All-America honors in 2014, after being ranked eighth in the nation in doubles. In the two seasons El Kheshen spent at SBU, he led the Bearcats to the NCAA tournament twice, with the team advancing to the Elite Eight during his senior campaign.
In addition to his playing and coaching history at Southwest Baptist, El Kheshen spent time working as an assistant tennis coach at Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California, from 2015-17, where he coached and prepared players for tennis at the collegiate level.
El Kheshen, who was an Egyptian National Team member from 2002-10 and ranked in the top 240 in the world (U18) by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southwest Baptist in 2014, and received his master’s degree in athletic administration from the school in 2016.
El Kheshen holds two tennis certifications (Level C, Level B) from the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (GPTCA) and has his fitness certification from the ITF.
James McManus, Volunteer Assistant Coach
James McManus joins the Crimson staff as a volunteer assistant coach. As a native of Waterloo Iowa, McManus was the 1A Iowa State Singles Champion and went on to attend the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas in 2011-2012.
McManus played collegiately at Nebraska-Omaha and completed his college career at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa posting an 18-4 singles record.
After earning his degree from Nebraska Omaha, McManus served as a certified tennis professional. Most recently he was the head tennis coach at Waterloo West for the 2019 spring season.