Alex Stamchev earns two sportsmanship awards from ITA
**2012 ITA South Region Assistant Coach of the Year**
Gabor Zoltan Pelva enters his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Auburn men's tennis team, now with the title of associate head coach.
Pelva is in his 11th year overall with the Tigers, including his three stellar seasons as a player. In his seven previous years as part of the men's tennis coaching staff, Pelva has helped the Tigers to an 100-78 record and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
Pelva, a Novi Sad, Serbia, native, finished his career at Auburn as a two-time All-American and a two-time first team All-SEC selection with a 65-31 career singles and 59-44 career doubles record.
In 2004 he was ranked as high as sixth in singles and fourth in doubles by ITA and finished the season as a NCAA singles semi-finalist - the highest finish ever for an Auburn men's tennis player. Pelva's No. 6 singles ranking was also the highest individual ranking ever for an Auburn tennis player.
He also won the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational twice during his time at Auburn. The first was in 2003, in the singles draw, and the second coming the following year in doubles along with Robbert Lathouwers.
Although one of Auburn's most outstanding players, Pelva is no stranger to the leadership role as he represented the team in both 2004 and 2005 as captain. He also served his coach in Serbia as both a player and assistant.
Now as a coach for Auburn, Pelva is living a dream that began when he was a teenager.
"At 16, I was plagued with injuries that kept me out for the crucial years that I needed to cross over into professional tennis," said Pelva. "However, college was a perfect fit for me where I thrived as a student and as an athlete. I loved the college matches and the team atmosphere, and now as a coach, I feel I have one of the best jobs I can ask for."
As an assistant for the Tigers, Pelva is in charge of conditioning along with strength trainer Damon Davis. He also assists Shore with practice plans, general match decisions and recruiting.
"He has made a good transition from being a great player to being a coach," said Shore. "He has been working well with the guys technically and he brings a lot to the team. I am looking forward to working with him for a while."
Pelva graduated from Auburn in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science and completed his master's degree in 2008 in exercise science and sport management. He also speaks four languages: Serbian, Hungarian, German and English, and has won four Yugoslavian national titles.