By Gabriel Wiest and Riley Vance —

The University of Louisville announced Rodrigo da Silva to be head coach for men’s tennis. This comes a month after the removal of long-time coach Rex Ecarma.

New head coach da Silva will be looking to build upon where Ecarma left off.

Da Silva coached the University of Texas San Antonio from 2016-2019, making strides to make the team more competitive.

Under the coaching of da Silva, the 2019 Roadrunners posted a 14-10 record. At UTSA, da Silva earned two top 10 recruiting classes. He also focused on players academics, increasing the average GPA of his former team from 2.5 to 3.6.

Da Silva will emphasize recruiting in order to develop the tennis Louisville tennis program.

“His ability to recruit at a high level, develop talented players into champions, and focus on their academic success is just the recipe that we needed to be highly competitive in the best tennis conference in the country, ” said athletic director Vince Tyra.

A part of da Silva’s recruiting efforts is bringing in big talent, signing a top 85 ITF player to his former UTSA team. He was the first coach in UTSA’s tennis program history to bring in big recruits.

The incoming coach also has a history with the Cardinals serving as assistant coach for six years from 2009 to 2014. During this time he was awarded Assistant Head Coach of the Year of the Ohio River Valley in 2011.

“Words cannot describe how excited I am to be back in Louisville. My family and I really enjoyed our time here and it feels like we are returning home to our Cardinal family,” said da Silva.

The decision to bring da Silva back to Louisville was made based off of references from respected individuals involved in the tennis community and former players that were on the team during the time he was assistant coach.

“We had some of our greatest achievements when he was here, and some of those players that reached out recognized what he did for their career and for the program,” said Tyra.

With tournaments approaching quickly, Tyra explained the increased pressure to find a head coach leading up to the fall semester.

“I think the unique part is school starting, you hate to have to harm another school for your own benefit, but I feel like we came out with a really good decision,” said Tyra.

Ecarma was Louisville’s longest tenured coach with almost 30 years at the helm. A university investigation found Ecarma made discriminatory comments to players and staff, as well as not having his players’ best interest in mind regarding injuries. He earned a 475-317-1 career record, making him the fourth winningest head coach at Louisville.

The Cards travel to Notre Dame for a tournament Thursday, Sept. 19 to kick off the fall season.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal