ROHNERT PARK, Calif. -- Sonoma State director of athletics Bill Fusco on Thursday announced the permanent hiring of Joaquin Lopez as head coach of the women’s tennis program. Lopez served as the interim head coach last season in the absence of former head coach Tracey Prince, who announced her retirement last week.

“Sonoma State is fortunate to have Joaquin Lopez as the head coach for our women’s tennis program,” Fusco said. “His extensive background in the sport of tennis, both as a competitor and a coach, will be invaluable for our student-athletes. He is more than qualified to continue the winning tradition of this program while providing a balance between academics and athletics.”

Lopez will begin his fifth year with the women's tennis team in 2011-12 after serving the first three years as the assistant coach. In addition to his work with the women’s team, he had also served as the associate head coach for the men's tennis team since 2004.

A graduate of Arkansas, Lopez earned national rankings in singles and doubles and was named the university's top student-athlete during his senior year. He then played five years of professional tennis, earning an ATP ranking of No. 844 in the world and No. 48 in Spain.

In 1996, Lopez received his Master's Degree in Sport Psychology in Spain. He has coached top juniors in Germany and has worked as a tennis psychologist with professional players in Spain. Lopez graduated in May 2000 from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology with a Master's in Counseling Psychology and in 2008 he earned his license as a marriage and family psychotherapist in California.

Lopez takes over for Prince, who guided Sonoma State to 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 14 seasons at the helm, she compiled a 158-141 record with a 103-82 mark against Division II opponents.

The Seawolves went 12-9 this past spring under the guidance of Lopez.