We are passing this along because Arlo Elkins is truly one of the nicest people you will come across in sports or anywhere in life really. It sounds like his health is pretty rough right now, which is sad it hear. Here’s hoping he gets to feeling better soon. Below you can see the official USC release on Elkins’ decision to step down:
Arlo Elkins announced Tuesday he will step aside from day-to-day activities as head coach of the University of South Carolina women’s tennis team for health-related reasons. Associate head coach and former Gamecock student-athlete Katarina Petrovic, now in her eighth season at Carolina, will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
“This was a very difficult decision for me, but it’s the right one,” Elkins said. “I felt it was in my best interest and the best interests of the University, the athletics department and the student-athletes for me to step aside from the day-to-day activities as the head coach. My current condition does not allow me to do this job the way I expect to do it, therefore, it would be unfair to everyone involved for me to continue coaching. Looking back, I like to think in the nearly 30 years I have served as head coach, I managed to touch the lives of many people and made a positive impact on them.”
“During this transitional period, please keep Arlo in your thoughts and prayers,” Athletics Director Eric Hyman stated. “Coach Elkins has meant so much to USC Athletics, women’s tennis and our student-athletes for so many years. USC Athletics has benefited tremendously because of his dedication and loyalty throughout the past 30 years. We will truly miss his involvement with USC Athletics.”
Elkins has served as the University’s women’s tennis head coach since Aug. 15, 1983. The 62-year-old Elkins entered the 2012 season, his 29th at Carolina, with a career record of 431-290 and 19 NCAA Tournament appearances. South Carolina has made 17 NCAA Tournaments in a row and reached at least the second round in 15 of those appearances. The Gamecocks’ 17 straight NCAA bids stand tied for the 11th longest active streak in the nation. Elkins’ teams reached the NCAA Sweet 16 four times (1990, 1995, 1999, 2009) during his career and made one trip to the quarterfinals in 2009. In 15 of his seasons, Carolina appeared in the top 25 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s season-ending poll.
In addition to the success enjoyed by Elkins’ program as a whole, many student-athletes earned individual accolades throughout his career. A total of 14 Gamecocks captured All-Southeastern Conference recognition during his reign. Seven Gamecocks were awarded ITA regional certificates, which in addition to Rookie of the Year included recognition for Senior Player of the Year, Player to Watch and the Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.
Year after year, the South Carolina women’s tennis program boasts one of the athletics department’s top team grade point averages as well, frequently at or above 3.4. The women’s tennis team led all Gamecock squads for the highest semester GPA in spring 2011 with a 3.576 mark. Under Elkins, 41 Gamecocks earned SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition 98 times.
Individually, Elkins received many awards during his tenure in the Palmetto State. In 1988, he was tapped United States Professional Tennis Association Southern Division Coach of the Year while also earning the South Carolina Tennis Association College Coach of the Year and ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year awards. Seven years later, he became the first head coach at South Carolina in any sport to win SEC Coach of the Year. Elkins was named the 1994 and 1996 ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year as well, and in December 2003, he was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Association Hall of Fame. Elkins is a member of the Rockford High School Hall of Fame in Rockford, Mich., as well.
Before becoming a coach, Elkins played professionally and competed in the main draws at Wimbledon and the French Open. He also played in more than 50 different countries, and in 1978, Elkins was ranked among the top 200 in the world. Within the state of South Carolina, Elkins has been ranked No. 1 in singles, doubles and mixed doubles in men’s open 25- and 35-year-old age groups. Elkins worked as the director of tennis and head professional at Spring Valley Country Club in Columbia prior to taking over the head coaching reigns at South Carolina.
Elkins graduated from Northwood Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in business in 1971. He was a four-year starter for the Midland, Mich., based school at No. 1 singles. Elkins and his wife, Tara, have three children; Alyssa, Elliott and Kelsey.