Auburn, Ala. -- Mark Finnegan joins the Auburn men's tennis program as assistant coach, head coach Bobby Reynolds announced today.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and my family," Finnegan said. "A huge thanks to Bobby and to Bernard Hill for trusting my ability to make an impact with Auburn tennis. I cannot wait to meet the players and also get to work on finding the best quality student-athletes we can find to represent Auburn in the future.
"The opportunity to work in the SEC will test every part of me as a coach, because it's the best tennis conference in the country. My wife is from Fairhope (Ala.) and visiting family there every Thanksgiving, I know all about the passion of the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama. It will be amazing to be part of that culture and environment for athletics.
"And I'm excited to be part of a team with Bobby Reynolds, not only because of his tennis experience but because of his outstanding character. I think Bobby and I will complement each other very well. He has all the qualities recruits look for in a college coach; Auburn and Bobby have so much to offer because of their core values.
"I can't thank the UNF support staff and all of the players and coaches enough for making the last four years so memorable. I know I am making the transition from one family-oriented athletics department into another."
Finnegan comes to Auburn from the University of North Florida, where he was head coach of the men's program for the past four seasons, posting a 56-36 record while winning the Atlantic Sun tournament or regular season title three of his four seasons and garnering the highest ITA team rankings in the program's history.
ITA All-American Jack Findel-Hawkins, the first Division I All-American in in UNF history and twice the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, advanced to the 2017 NCAA quarterfinals in singles and was a three-time NCAA singles qualifier. Findel-Hawkins was also a three-time NCAA doubles qualifier with three separate partners, Yannick Zuern, Lasse Muscheites and Norbert Nemcsek. In 2017, UNF went 19-1 in the doubles point, the highest doubles winning percentage in the nation.
"We're so excited that Mark and his family are coming to Auburn," Reynolds said. "His history in college tennis speaks for itself, both as an assistant at Memphis and his success at North Florida. We're going to be a great team, with his international recruiting contacts combined with my connections. The fact that he's been a head coach will give our guys a wealth of experience and leadership to draw upon.
"I know our guys will benefit from all Mark has to offer, and I'm eager for the opportunity to build our partnership with Auburn tennis."
Before his time at North Florida, Finnegan spent five years at Memphis, helping his alma mater become one of the Top 20 teams in the nation. He was an assistant coach at Memphis for his first four years (2009-12) before being elevated to associate head coach prior to the 2013 season. Twice part of the C-USA coaching staff of the year, Finnegan was named ITA Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and also received votes for ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013.
In 2012, Memphis earned its first NCAA team bid, and in 2013, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. Connor Glennon was named 2013 C-USA Player of the Year, Johnny Grimal was the Outstanding Singles Player of the C-USA Championship and Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare were the Outstanding Doubles Team of the C-USA Championship.
Finnegan also assisted with the Memphis women's tennis team, helping the Tigers gain their first NCAA appearance in 2013 as well as a program-high ranking of No. 22 in 2013. Individually, Courtney Collins ranked as high as No. 20 in the ITA singles rankings.
Finnegan, who represented Ireland as a Junior Olympian, played Division I tennis at both Georgia Southern and Memphis. While at Georgia Southern, he was named the 2002 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, all-conference and the team's MVP.
A native of Kill, County Kildare, Ireland, Finnegan graduated from Memphis in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in finance. He and his wife, the former Molly Smith of Fairhope, Ala., have two sons, Kellum and Rory.