After guiding the TCU men's tennis team to its 15th consecutive and 20th overall NCAA Tournament appearance last season, head coach Joey Rivé continues the tradition of excellence in his sixth season at the helm of the Horned Frogs' program.
TCU had plenty of highlights in 2005. The Frogs won five of their first six contests to begin the season. In February, the Frogs defeated Louisville (4-2) to win the Conference USA Shootout.
Rivé led the No. 2 seeded TCU Horned Frogs to a strong finish in the Conference USA Championships, held Apr. 21-24 in Louisville, Ky. TCU blanked Southern Miss. in the opening round, advancing to the semifinals to take on No. 34 and host institution Louisville. Despite a valiant effort, TCU fell short 4-2 to close out the regular season.
For the 15th consecutive season, TCU was a member of the NCAA Championship field of 64 and drew No. 17 Wake Forest in the opening round. Battling hard throughout, the Frogs fell (4-1) to close out the 2005 season with a record of 8-15.
During the year, Rivé coached a plethora of talent that included: C-USA All-Decade Team member and 2005 Conference Player of the Year Fabrizio Sestini.
In 2004, the Horned Frogs ripped off 11 wins in a row to start the season and were ranked as high as No. 5, their best since 2001. TCU finished as the runner-up in Conference USA to Tulane and returned to the NCAA Championships for the first time in three years thanks to a stunning upset at Kentucky in the second round. TCU also sent Alex Menichini to the NCAA Championships, giving the school its first individual participant since the 2001 campaign. The Frogs ended the year 18-7 and ranked No. 18, earning Rivé his fourth top 25 finish in seven years as a college head coach.
Menichini finished the season ranked No. 48 in singles, while Rafael Abreu and Sestini ended at 34th in doubles. Hector Almada, Menichini, Sestini and Jacopo Tezza were members of the all-conference teams and Robert Gallman, Craig Stopa and Andrew Ulrich were named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) All-Academic Team. Gallman and Stopa were also honored with a Commissioner's Academic Medal, an elite award given to student-athletes who achieve at least a 3.75 GPA. Jacob Martin received his first postseason tribute when he and Menichini were tabbed the Doubles Team of the C-USA Championship after posting a 3-0 record. Almada was crowned the Co-Singles Player of the Championship, sharing the honors with a Tulane player.
Rivé, a native of Santurcé, Puerto Rico, reached a milestone in his coaching career in 2004 by collecting his 100th win. It came May 15 in TCU's 4-1 first-round NCAA victory over East Tennessee State in Lexington, Ky. His record now stands at 109-92 overall and 77-47 at TCU.
The year before, Rivé guided the Horned Frogs back into the nation's top 25, concluding the year with a 16-9 mark and a ranking of 21st. In usual fashion, TCU did not shy away from taking on some of the country's most elite teams, including California, Stanford, Duke and Baylor. TCU also narrowly missed claiming its third conference title in four years, falling to Tulane 4-2 in the conference tournament title bout.
Rivé saw three of his Frogs earn all-league accolades, as Menichini snagged first-team All-C-USA honors and Sestini and Toni Gordon landed on the second team. Sestini and Gordon also received recognition for their work in the classroom, earning C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll kudos. Stopa did the same and also picked up a Commissioner's Academic Medal.
The ITA year-end singles rankings were not bashful in including several members of Rivé's 2003 team, with three Horned Frogs ranked in the top-100. It was the second time during Rivé's career that a trio of his players grabbed rankings to conclude a season. Menichini led the way with a billing of No. 77, followed by Gordon and Sestini at Nos. 88 and 100.
After losing a star-studded collection of seniors from his 2001 squad, Rivé rebuilt the foundation of TCU men's tennis in his second season with his first Horned Frog recruiting class. Although the youngsters experienced a number of growing pains on their way to an 11-12 record, Rivé still managed to lead TCU into the NCAA Tournament for a 12th consecutive year. The Horned Frogs also entered the C-USA Tournament grasping the No. 1 seed in their first year with the league. TCU picked up a pair of wins over top-25 Southeastern Conference foes during the year in Alabama and Arkansas.
C-USA honored several members of Rivé's 2002 edition of TCU men's tennis, the most notable of which was Sestini being named Freshman of the Year. Gordon snared first-team all-conference accolades, while Sestini was a second-team honoree. In addition to Gordon, Daniel Wajnberg and Chris Brandi were given the nod for Commissioner's Honor Roll awards. Gordon also finished the season as the lone ranked Horned Frog at 77th in singles.
Rivé concluded his first year in Cowtown with a 24-4 record, the school's second consecutive WAC title, a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and TCU's third Final Four appearance. In actuality, it was a season of firsts for the 1987 Tennis Magazine "Sportsman of the Year."
Although Tennessee put a stop to TCU's run in 2001, Rivé's top doubles team of Trace Fielding and Jimmy Haney made a push of their own in the individual NCAA Doubles Championship. The unseeded duo grinded out a tough three-set battle against a pair from Ole Miss before stunning Fresno State's Peter Luczak and David Mullins in straight sets to land in the quarterfinals. It was the furthest a Horned Frog doubles team had advanced since Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith reached the championship match in 1996.
The magical ride Rivé took TCU on in 2001 ended with numerous individual prizes. Esteban Carril, Fielding and Haney earned All-America praise from the ITA, becoming the first honorees of Rivé's collegiate coaching career. It was the third year in a row that Carril pocketed the honor, while Fielding and Haney were both first-time winners. All three were also all-conference performers, as were Scott Eddins and Gordon. Four Horned Frogs Sebastian Iannariello, Petr Koula, Gordon and Wajnberg took home academic praise from the WAC as well.
One of the many memorable moments of 2001 came a few weeks after Rivé guided his squad into the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships for only the second time in school history. On March 21, the Purple and White leapfrogged to a national ranking of No. 2, tying for the highest in the program's tenure. TCU held the second spot for four weeks and finished the year at No. 5, third highest behind the 1996 squad's No. 3 rating and 1989's fourth-place finish. Individually, Carril and Fielding wrapped up their careers ranked Nos. 11 and 37 in singles, while Fielding and Haney were 11th in doubles.
Before joining TCU, Rivé spent the previous three years with the United States Tennis Association as the men's national coach. He worked with the elite junior males in the country, training them and develop the skills they would need to become top-notch tennis players. In 1997 and 1998, he was the captain of the Sunshine Cup Team, a collection of the top three juniors in the country. In 1998, Rivé's team finished second in the world.
In July 1994, Rivé assumed the head coaching duties of a struggling men's tennis program at the University of Alabama, his first stint as a head coach at the collegiate level. Rivé's team finished 1-22 in his first season with the Crimson Tide. In the next season, Rivé's squad rebounded with a final record of 15-12 and a 6-7 showing in the Southeastern Conference. His squad also earned a spot in the NCAA Region III Tournament and narrowly missed advancing to the final due to a 4-3 loss to Auburn. The 1997 team improved the previous year's record to 16-11 and a second consecutive place in the NCAA Regionals. His team was one win away from advancing to the NCAA Championships, losing a 4-2 decision to Florida. Many of the Tide's losses that season could have gone either way, as seven of the 11 losses came in 4-3 disparities.
Three of the Tide's competitors concluded '97 ranked among the top 100 in singles play. Francisco Rodriguez topped the group at No. 31, followed by Chris Lopez at 65th and No. 94 Rashid Hassan. As a team, Alabama weighed in at No. 21, a true testament to the impact Rivé had on the school in such a short amount of time.
Rivé began his first collegiate coaching position in 1992 when he re-enrolled at his alma mater, Florida State, to finish his undergraduate degree. He served as the assistant men's tennis coach under David Barron where his duties included assisting with all phases of coaching, scheduling and involvement with the surrounding community. Rivé earned his Bachelor of Science in May, 1993.
Before returning to Florida State, Rivé had a highly successful career on the ATP Tour. He competed professionally from 1985-1991, earning five singles titles and reaching a singles ranking as high as 57th in the world in 1988. He also found success as a doubles player, reaching the finals of four tournaments during his career and achieving a career-best rating of No. 35. Rivé also competed with the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1989 and the Puerto Rico Davis Cup team from 1992-1994.
Rivé was also no stranger to the Grand Slam of Tennis (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open). He competed in all four majors from 1985-1991, reaching the third round of Wimbledon and the Australian Open in singles and the doubles quarterfinals of the French Open in particular years.
Rivé also competed in the Pan American Games of 1991, where he earned both gold and silver medals. That same year, he captured the national singles and doubles titles for Puerto Rico, a feat he duplicated two years later.
The experience of playing professionally is one that Rivé continues to hold dearly, and is something he feels was one of the best decisions he ever made.
"I wouldn't trade the experience for anything," Rivé said. "I achieved a high level and met the greatest players in the game. I traveled the world, and I even met my wife while on the circuit. She helped lead me on to the next part of my life. It was a great experience and one of the best things I ever did."
Before joining the ATP Tour in 1985, Rivé had a highly successful collegiate career at Florida State University, where he is regarded as one of the all-time great players in school history. As a senior, he was ranked in the top 25 and participated in the 1985 NCAA Tournament. He finished his career with a winning percentage over .800 and earned such honors as team MVP and MVP of the Metro Conference. In honor of his stellar career at FSU, the university inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1999.
Rivé began playing tennis at the age of 13 after dabbling with football, baseball and basketball. He started out ranked around 100 in the state of Florida at 14 and flirted with the 70s when he reached 16. By the time Rivé turned 18, he was ranked in the top 10 in the state, paving the way for him to play for Florida State.
Rivé's wife, the former Kimberly Shaw of Sarasota, Fla., graduated from the University of Florida as a registered nurse. She later earned her master's degree from Florida State in vocational rehabilitation.
Joey and Kimberly are the proud parents of two sons, nine-year-old Alexander (Zan) and eight-year-old Cameron.