Former Gamecock leaves USC to coach Florida International
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina's associate head coach Katarina Petrovic has been named the head coach at Florida International, Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia announced.
“I’m extremely excited to be named head coach of the FIU women’s tennis program,” Petrovic said. “There has been a lot of success at FIU and I look forward to continuing that tradition. I want to thank Pete Garcia and Julie Berg for giving me this opportunity. FIU is a great institution both academically and athletically and I am proud to now be a part of it.”
Petrovic joined the Gamecock coaching staff in September 2004 after serving as the sports manager at the Michael-Ann Russell Community Center in North Miami Beach, Fla. After serving as assistant coach her first five seasons with the program, Petrovic was promoted to associate head coach in summer 2009. Petrovic served as the interim head coach beginning Feb. 28, 2012, until the hiring of Kevin Epley on June 11, to replace legendary head coach Arlo Elkins. She is a longtime member of the Gamecock tennis family, being a four-year letterwinner for South Carolina from 1999 to 2002.
Last year, Petrovic guided the Gamecocks to their 18th consecutive NCAA tournament as the lone coach on staff for most of the season. After Elkins stepped away from his coach duties and handed the reins to Petrovic for the remainder of the season, she posted a 9-8 record while finishing 5-6 in the SEC with a national ranking of 31st. The Gamecocks went 16-9 overall and reached the second round of the NCAAs, the 16th time in the past 18 years they have won at least one round in the tournament.
Overall, Petrovic helped the Gamecocks to a 120-77 record overall while going 45-43 in the SEC during her eight seasons on staff. South Carolina made the NCAA tournament each year during her eight years and advanced beyond the first round six times. In 2009, the Gamecocks reached the NCAA quarterfinals to tie for the best postseason finish in school history. Carolina held three top-25 rankings at season’s end during Petrovic’s tenure, including back-to-back top-20 finishes in 2009 (17) and 2010 (19).
A native of Valjevo, Serbia, Petrovic came to South Carolina as a student-athlete in spring 1999 and made an immediate impact on the Gamecock tennis program. She was voted ITA Southeast Region Rookie-of-the-Year and earned second-team All-SEC honors the same year. As a sophomore, Petrovic earned team MVP honors, was selected to the NCAA Singles Championship draw and reached an individual ITA national ranking of 13th, the highest-recorded individual ranking in school history. Petrovic's season-ending singles billing of No. 29 made her just the fifth Gamecock to finish among the top 30 in the nation and the first to do so since 1987.
“Kat was an incredible player and coach here at south Carolina,” South Carolina head coach Kevin Epley said. “She has proven herself to be one of the best recruiters in the nation. We will all miss her, but this is an exciting opportunity for her and her family. We are all happy that she will get the chance to showcase her talents as a head coach and wish her the best of luck.”