Esmail Joins Huskies As Associate Head Coach
SEATTLE – Washington men's tennis Head Coach Matt Anger today announced a new addition to the program, as Rahim Esmail joins the staff as the Associate Head Coach. Esmail has spent the past fifteen years coaching collegiate tennis, the past ten as Head Coach at Samford University, where he was named the 2021 Southern Conference Coach of the Year in his final season.
"I am so happy that Rahim is our new Associate Head Coach for Men's Tennis," said Anger. "It wasn't easy for him to leave the program at Samford, but we will benefit from his great experience there and in college tennis. He has incredible experience at every level from his playing days at Kentucky and as both an assistant coach and head coach. He has exhibited class and earned respect at each of those levels. I expect him to make an immediate impact with our young and talented team."
As Head Coach at Samford from 2012-21, Esmail guided the Bulldogs to 110 victories, the first Southern Conference regular season title in program history, and an NCAA Championships appearance in 2013.
"I am extremely excited to join the Husky family," said Esmail. "It is always tough to leave a great place and a great team, and the Samford Athletics Department has been nothing but first class during my time there. I cannot thank Coach Matt Anger, the UW Athletic Department, and the University of Washington enough for this opportunity to be a part of their institute. The UW has a rich tradition both academically and athletically throughout their department."
In the spring of 2021, Victor Chaw and Jim Hendrikx became the first Samford doubles duo ever to make the NCAA Doubles Championships, and the first from the Southern Conference since 2016. Esmail's 2021 Bulldogs team went 13-8 on the year and 6-1 in conference play to finish runner-up in the regular season, with Esmail earning Coach of the Year honors.
"Coach Anger has built one of the premier program's in the country," Esmail said, "in one of the most competitive conferences in college tennis. Coach Anger has always carried himself with tremendous class and character, and I look forward to working alongside of him and continuing to build on the tradition that he has created here at the UW. The Huskies have a very young and gifted team with one of the top players in college tennis, and I believe that they have the ability to continue to develop into one of the top programs in the Pac-12 and in the country. I am very grateful for the trust that Coach Anger has shown in me and I am looking most forward to being a part of our student-athlete's journey, helping them grow as athletes and as people."
With the move to Seattle, Esmail returns much closer to his native British Columbia, Canada, where he grew up in Coquitlam. After establishing himself as one of the best junior players in Canada, Esmail went on to a standout collegiate career at the University of Kentucky from 2001 to 2004.
Esmail spent two years on the ATP Tour, where he reached the finals of three professional tournaments, once in singles and twice in doubles. He posted wins over top ATP Tour players such as Tommy Robredo, Feliciano Lopez and John Isner.
Prior to Samford, Esmail spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Alabama women's team. His first coaching stint was one season as assistant coach for both men and women at Eastern Kentucky University, where he earned his Masters in sports administration.
As a player at the University of Kentucky from 2001 to 2004, Esmail was a fixture at No. 4 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Wildcats. In 2002, he went 31-4 in singles and 23-2 in doubles to help Kentucky climb to No. 4 in the national rankings, serving as a team captain for the Wildcats in his junior and senior seasons. Esmail was ranked as high as No. 54 nationally in singles at Kentucky and attained a doubles rank as high as No. 8.