Washington Names Esmail Men’s Tennis Coach
SEATTLE – Washington Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen has elevated Rahim Esmail to Head Coach of Husky Men's Tennis. Esmail is the first new leader for Washington in twenty-eight years, as Matt Anger announced his retirement this spring after coaching the program from 1995-2022.
"I couldn't be more excited to promote Rahim into this leadership role within our men's tennis program," said Cohen. "As a former high-level student-athlete and head coach of 10 years, he has had incredible experiences that have prepared him for this opportunity. He loves this University, is committed to the student-athlete experience and has a strong passion for the sport that will serve our current and future Huskies well."
A native of the Pacific Northwest, from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Esmail was Washington's Associate Head Coach for the 2021-22 season. In his first year on Montlake, he and Anger helped the Huskies reach the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2017, and make a run to the Pac-12 Championship finals for the first time in school history.
"I am extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity to lead the UW Men's Tennis Program," said Esmail. "The rich history and tradition that has been built here over the years, by Coach Anger and everyone else involved in the program, gives us a great opportunity to continue to be successful. I would like to thank UW President Cauce, Jen Cohen, Kim Durand, and the entire UW athletics staff for this opportunity and for trusting me in paving the way for the future of Husky Men's Tennis.
"Since arriving here in January to work alongside Coach Anger, I quickly learnt that the support and love for tennis in the Husky community is vast. I am excited to continue to grow the game in our community, connect with our alumni, and support our student-athletes in every way possible to help them grow," Esmail says. "I would also like to thank Coach Matt Anger for bringing me on board this season, for his trust and belief in me to work alongside him, and now continue to build and grow this program with the foundation that he has built. I am very motivated and extremely excited about the future of this program, as this is a very special place surrounded by very special people."
More notables from Esmail's one season as Associate Head Coach included Clement Chidekh becoming the first Husky ever ranked No. 1 in singles, and earning the first ITA All-America honor for the Huskies since 2013. Chidekh, Jack Davis, and Ewen Lumsden were all ranked in singles, and UW had three ranked doubles pairs during the year.
"I am thrilled for our program and Rahim," said former Husky head coach Matt Anger. "I have seen firsthand how competitive he is and how well he can develop our players. I am excited for the future of Husky Tennis!"
Coaching History Prior To Washington
This past season coaching the Huskies was Esmail's sixteenth year coaching NCAA tennis. He has a decade of head coaching experience, coming at Samford University from 2012-21. Esmail was named the 2021 Southern Conference Coach of the Year in his final season before departing for Washington.
As Head Coach at Samford (located in Birmingham, Ala.), Esmail guided the Bulldogs to 110 victories over ten years. He coached the program to its first Southern Conference regular season title in history, and an NCAA Championships appearance in 2013.
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.
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
Growing up in British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver, Esmail established himself as one of the best junior players in Canada. He then went on to a standout collegiate career at the University of Kentucky from 2001 to 2004.
During his time in Lexington, 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.
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.
June 8, 2022 – Named Head Coach of Washington Men's Tennis
January, 2022 – Arrives at Washington as Associate Head Coach
2011-21 – Head Men's Coach at Samford University
2008-11 – Assistant Women's Coach at University of Alabama
2007-08 – Assistant Men's and Women's Coach at Eastern Kentucky University
2005-07 – Competed on the ATP Tour
2001-04 – Four-year letterwinner at University of Kentucky