Gretchen Rush, a four-time Trinity All-American, enters her third season as the Tigers head women’s tennis coach in the 2016-17 campaign.
Trinity qualified for the 2016 NCAA Division III Team Championship, marking the 20th time the Tigers competed in the national event, and fifth in a row. The Tigers traveled to Claremont, California, to the NCAA Regional, and defeated the University of Texas-Tyler in the opening round. The host Claremont-Scripps Colleges beat the Tigers in the second round. Prior to the NCAA Tournament, Trinity captured the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship for the fifth consecutive occasion.
The Tigers completed the year with a 15-10 record, and were ranked No. 23 in the nation following the season.
Coach Rush has coached two Alll-Americans at Trinity, Liza Southwick and Marie Lutz. The Tiger tandem won the ITA Regional Doubles Championship in the fall of 2015, and qualifed for the USTA/ITA National Small College Championship for the second straight year. Southwick and Lutz took home sixth place at the national tournament. In May 2016, the two Trinity standouts competed in the NCAA Doubles Championship for the second time.
Trinity's women's tennis received another honor from the ITA, as an All-Academic Team. Six Tiger players - Southwick, Lutz, Gabrielle Roe, Elena Wilson, Caroline Kutach, and Hannah Cook - were designated as ITA Scholar-Athletes.
Over the summer of 2015, Coach Rush was busy competing in international tennis events. The former top-ranked pro represented the United States in La Baule, France, at the International Tennis Federation Seniors World Team Championships. Coach Rush and her partner won the deciding doubles event of the Maria Esther Bueno Cup, for players age 50 and over, as the Americans defeated France 2-1 for the title. Later, Coach Rush advanced to the singles semifinals of the ITF Seniors World Individual Championships.
As a Tiger player during the 1983-1986 seasons, Coach Rush chalked up a singles record of 117-12 (.906) in Trinity’s NCAA Division I era. Along with Louise Allen, Coach Rush won the NCAA Doubles Championship in 1983, and was runner-up in 1985 (with Lisa Sassano) and 1986 (with Ann Hulbert). Coach Rush was NCAA singles runner-up both years, as well.
In addition to earning All-America honors during each of her collegiate years, Coach Rush won a number of high awards. She was named the College Women’s Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985, and the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 1986. That same year, Coach Rush was presented the Broderick Award as the best women’s collegiate player. Coach Rush also was the recipient of the 1985 Arthur Ashe Award for Sportsmanship.
While a Trinity student-athlete, Coach Rush won a gold medal in singles for the United States at the 1983 Pan American Games at Caracas, Venezuela. She teamed with Trinity teammate Allen to bring home the gold in doubles. Coach Rush also represented the U.S. at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and the World University Games.
Coach Rush reached the singles quarterfinals of the U.S. Open (1982) and French Open (1983) while enrolled at Trinity.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Trinity in 1986, with a minor in biology. Coach Rush was also awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2011, Coach Rush received a master’s in sports administration from California University of Pennsylvania.
As a tribute to her success, Coach Rush was inducted into the 2001 Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. She will be inducted into the ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame on November 12, 2016. The ceremony will be held at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
After graduation from Trinity, Coach Rush had a successful career on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour from 1986-1992. She was a top-20 singles and doubles player during her time on the WTA Tour. Coach Rush reached the Wimbledon singles quarterfinals in 1986 and 1989, and was a Wimbledon mixed doubles finalist in 1988. She won four singles and four doubles titles as a pro player.
In 1991, Coach Rush was a member of the San Antonio Racquets of World TeamTennis.
Following her retirement from the WTA Tour, Coach Rush extensively played United States Tennis Association and ITF events. As a senior player, Coach Rush was ranked in the top-10 in the world by the ITF. During the summer of 2014, Coach Rush won the USTA Women’s 50 Grass Court Singles Championship at Forest Hills, New York.
She was the head coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Coach Rush led the Athenas, members of the NCAA Division III, to a 52-10 overall record (.839), and to two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (with a two-year record of 22-0).
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps finished fourth at the 2013 NCAA championship, and lost a hard-fought quarterfinals match at the May 2014 event, held at Claremont. Under Coach Rush’s leadership, a Claremont singles player, and doubles team, finished as runners-up at the 2013 NCAAs. Another Athenas doubles team placed second in 2014.
Coach Rush was the head coach at San Diego (CA) City College from 2008 to 2012. She previously served in a similar capacity at Our Lady of Peace High School in San Diego from 1995-1997, and was an assistant coach at San Diego State University in the 1993-94 academic year.
In addition to her coaching experience, Coach Rush was the head tennis professional at the Peninsula Tennis Club (San Diego, California) from 1996-2012. She also served as head pro at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, all located in California.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Coach Rush had an outstanding career as junior player. She won the USTA Junior Grass Courts title, and Italian Junior Championship, as well as advancing to the finals of the National Junior Tournament. Coach Rush was named the Junior Amateur Champion of 1983 and 1984 by the ITF.
She is the mother of three college age children, a son (Matthew), and twin daughters (Katie and Marin).