Gretchen Rush, a four-time Trinity All-American, is in her sixth season as the Tigers head women’s tennis coach.
Since her appointment in the fall of 2014, Coach Rush has amassed a record of 69-45 (.605) over the past five seasons. The Tigers have advanced each year to the NCAA Division III Playoffs and won five Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships during her tenure.
Five of her players have earned All-America honors, including Zoe Kaffen and Mary Kaffen in 2019. The Tiger tandem won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southwest Doubles Championship in the fall of 2018. Caroline Kutach qualified as an All-American in the spring of 2018.
The Tiger duo of Liza Southwick and Marie Lutz won the ITA Regional Doubles Championship in the fall of 2014 and 2015 and qualified for the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships each year. In May 2016, the two Trinity standouts competed in the NCAA Doubles Championship for the second occasion. Southwick advanced to the 2017 NCAA Singles Championship round of 16.
Coach Rush led the Tigers to the 2019 SCAC Championship, marking Trinity’s eighth consecutive conference title and the 23rd overall. She was elected the SCAC Coach of the Year for the second time during her tenure. Kutach was named SCAC Player of the Year for the second time in a row. Hailey Feuer became Trinity’s first SCAC Newcomer of the Year since the award was initiated in 2014.
Coach Rush was elected the 2018 Wilson ITA Division III West Region Coach of the Year. She was inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in November 2016. The ceremony was held at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Coach Rush became a member of the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Sixteen players have been designated as ITA Scholar-Athletes since 2015, with seven Tigers picking up the honor in 2019. Mary Kaffen, Zoe Kaffen, and Ashley DeBauge earned the accolade for the third time.
As a Tiger player during the 1983-1986 seasons, Coach Rush amassed a singles record of 117-12 (.906) during Trinity’s NCAA Division I era. She won the NCAA Doubles Championship with Louise Allen in 1983, runner-up in 1985 with Lisa Sassano, and in 1986 with Ann Hulbert. Coach Rush was also the NCAA Singles runner-up both years.
Coach Rush was presented a number of high awards during her collegiate career. She was named the College Women’s Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985, and the ITA Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 1986. That same year, Coach Rush garnered the Broderick Award as the top women’s collegiate player. She was also the recipient of the 1985 Arthur Ashe Award for Sportsmanship.
As a Trinity student-athlete, Coach Rush reached the singles quarterfinals of the 1982 U.S. Open and the 1983 French Open. She won a gold medal in singles for her country at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, and partnered with Allen to bring home the gold in doubles. Coach Rush also competed in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, and the World University Games.
Coach Rush earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Trinity in 1986 with a minor in biology. She was elected a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American in 1984 and was awarded a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1986. Coach Rush received a master’s in intercollegiate athletic administration from California University of Pennsylvania in 2011.
After graduation from Trinity, Coach Rush had a successful career on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour from 1986-1992. She was a top-20 singles and doubles player during her time on the tour. Coach Rush advanced to the Wimbledon singles quarterfinals in 1986 and 1989 and was a mixed doubles finalist in 1988. She captured four singles and four doubles titles as a pro player. Coach Rush was a member of the San Antonio Racquets of World TeamTennis in 1991. She was doubles runner-up at the 1988 U.S. Women’s Hard Court Championships, held at San Antonio’s McFarlin Tennis Center.
Following retirement from the WTA Tour, Coach Rush played United States Tennis Association and International Tennis Federation events. As a senior competitor, Coach Rush was ranked in the top-10 in the world by the international organization. During the summer of 2014, she won the USTA Grass Court Singles Championship at Forest Hills, New York.
In 2015, Coach Rush represented the United States in La Baule, France, at the ITF Seniors World Team Championships. Coach Rush and her partner won the deciding doubles event at the Maria Esther Bueno Cup, for players age 50 and over, as the Americans defeated France 2-1 to capture the championship. Later, Coach Rush advanced to the singles semifinals of the ITF Seniors World Individual Championships.
Coach Rush advanced to the doubles finals of the ITF Seniors World Individual Championships in November 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Prior to returning to her alma mater, she was the head women’s tennis coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CA) Colleges during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Coach Rush led the Athenas, members of the NCAA Division III, to a 53-10 (.839) overall record and to two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps placed fourth at the 2013 NCAA Championships, and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2014. Under Coach Rush’s leadership, a Claremont singles player, and a doubles team, finished as runners-up at the 2013 NCAAs. Another Athenas doubles team finished second in 2014.
Coach Rush was the head coach at San Diego (CA) City College from 2008-2012. She earlier 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, she was the head tennis professional at the Peninsula Tennis Club in San Diego from 1996-2012. Coach Rush also was the head pro at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, all located in California.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Coach Rush had an exemplary career as a junior player. She won the USTA Junior Grass Court Championship, and the Italian Junior Championship, as well as advancing to the finals of the National Junior Tournament. Coach Rush was named the ITF Junior Amateur Champion of 1983 and 1984.
Coach Rush is the mom of three adult children, a son (Matthew), and twin daughters (Katie and Marin).