With Robert Klein at the helm of the Tulane men's tennis program, the Green Wave has established itself as a national force. In 2005, Klein guided the Wave to its fifth Conference USA Championship while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight season. That followed a 2004 season in Klein and the Wave won their fourth C-USA title and six-time All-American Michael Kogan advanced to the championship match at the NCAA Singles Championship.
In his 12 years as Tulane's head coach, Klein has shown incredible consistency, helping his squads to 10 top three finishes in Conference USA while winning C-USA Coach of the Year honors five times. In 2003, Tulane advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history. This spring, he was honored for his long-time success by being voted the Conference USA Coach of the Decade for men's tennis.
"We want Tulane to be one of the elite programs in the country, a top 25 program year-in and year-out," Klein said. "That is what we are trying to establish here. We also want to continue to perform in the classroom. A third goal is reaching out to the tennis community in the city of New Orleans; we want them to become more familiar with us and we want to become more familiar with them."
After closing the 2004 season as the No. 20 team in the nation, the Green Wave faced the graduation of Kogan, one of the top players in school history. After opening the spring of 2005 with the No. 19 rating, Tulane continued to display its consistency, climbing as high as No. 17, but eventually closing the season at No. 20 once again. Klein garnered his third straight Coach of the Year award for Conference USA after leading his Green Wave team to the top of the league for the fifth time. In addition, the Wave mentor was recognized as the Conference USA Coach of the Decade for men's tennis.
In 2004, with four newcomers in the lineup, the Wave opened the season with just a 4-3 record, but Klein steadied the team, which won 15 of its final 17 matches. Kogan anchored the team and went on to collect All-America recognition along with Player of the Year honors from the conference for the fourth straight year.
During his Tulane tenure, Klein has compiled a 198-98 (.669) record in 12 seasons. He has now coached 20 first-team All-Conference USA selections, 10 second-team all-league picks and 11 third-team all-league honorees. In 10 years of Conference USA tennis, Klein pupils have captured seven of the league's Player of the Year honors.
Klein's first league title came in 1997, also with the assistance of another standout - Robert Samuelsson, who received back-to-back-to-back Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Under Klein's tutelage, Samuelsson won a host of awards as the Swedish superstar claimed the prestigious Rafael Osuna National Sportsmanship Award from the ITA in addition to picking up All-America honors twice. Samuelsson's first All-America recognition came in 1998, making him Tulane's first All-American since 1960. Under Klein's direction, Samuelsson was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally in singles.
Klein came to New Orleans from Northern Arizona University, where he coordinated both the men's and women's tennis programs for three years. He coached one of the top collegiate players in the nation for three years while at NAU, Michael Tebbutt, now a professional and ranked as high as No. 100 in the world. While at NAU, he also coached Gil Kovalski to a No. 68 national ranking.
Previously, Klein was an assistant coach at Iowa State from 1987-90, earning his master's in finance from ISU in 1990.
Klein is a 1986 graduate of Emporia State University in Kansas, where he was a three-time NAIA District 10 champion and an Academic All-American. That focus has carried over to his tenure at Tulane, where he maintains an academic emphasis in his coaching philosophy.
Klein is a certified USPTR professional and has helped hundreds of adults and children enjoy the game of tennis over the last 12 years through his involvement with camps, clinics, and workshops.
Klein also emphasizes community service with the Green Wave. His teams consistently visit the children's ward at the Tulane Medical Center and the Children's Hospital.
Klein is married to the former Cathy Day, who is vice-president in charge of sales for Rigaku/Molecular Structure Corporation.
"I am very fortunate, I am one of those guys who gets up in the morning and thinks, `What a job!'" said Klein. "I think how fortunate I am to coach the young men of the Tulane program."
Klein's Career Record
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