Tennis Shockers: Both Head Coaches Departing DU

Bombshell news came on Denver Athletics on Friday afternoon. Two highly successful coaches at DU who have led Denver to multiple NCAA tennis tournaments are leaving DU. It is unknown why the coaches are departing the Crimson and Gold but it is certainly not because of their results. Both Christian Bass and Ricardo Rubio are coming off conference titles and NCAA appearances going a combined 30-8 this season while sweeping the Summit League and playing in the NCAA Tournament. These departures are all the more puzzling after DU invested in the new Denver Tennis Center and both programs were on an upward trajectory.

Women’s head coach Christian Bass completed her eigth season at DU during the the 2020-2021 season.  During her tenure, the five-time Summit League Coach of the Year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021) has led the Pioneers to seven-consecutive Summit League Championship titles and seven-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Bass and the Pioneers finished 14-4 and 5-0 in Summit League play in 2021, led by Summit League Women’s Tennis Player of the Year and NCAA Singles Championship qualifier Anna Riedmiller. Bass joined the Pioneers after serving the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Yale where she helped lead the Bulldogs to a 59-15 record during that span, including a sparkling 18-3 mark in Ivy League play, three ECAC Indoor Team Championships and a pair of Ivy League titles.

Men’s tennis coach, Ricardo Rubio, completed his sixth season as head coach of the Pioneers during the 2020-2021 season. Since coming to Denver in September 2015, Rubio has guided the Pioneers to three Summit League Tournament titles (2016, 2017, 2021), four Summit League regular-season championships (2016, 2017 2019, 2021) and three NCAA tournament appearances (2016, 2017, 2021). Prior to joining Denver, Rubio spent 13 seasons with the coaching staff for the men’s tennis program at the University of Texas. He served as an assistant coach during his first nine seasons with the team before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2011-12 campaign.

DU does not publicly comment about personnel matters.

7 thoughts on “Tennis Shockers: Both Head Coaches Departing DU”

  1. Budget cuts? Administration told the Clarion undergrad tuition is rising 6.6%. Maybe they were offered release to cut salary?

  2. Very shocked & saddened to hear this. I tried to ask around behind the scenes as to what happened & no info. I’m sure it will come out now. I’d suspect they wanted something from DU & didn’t get it, so left as a duo.

    Great coaches, great players on both squads. DU women’s tennis was defeating big name schools on a semi regular basis.

    Best of luck to Christian & Ricardo going forward. Will be tough to replace.

  3. DG is probably right. Sounds like DU is cutting costs again, and tennis is probably bearing the brunt of these cuts to the point where the coaches cannot move forward as competitive D-I coaches at DU. These coaches already lost their full-time assistants in the last round of budget cuts, so there is precedent for disgruntled coaches. Karlton and his wife are golfers, so you can also see perhaps why the budget axe may be falling on tennis.

    The reality is that DU could win an NCAA tennis title next year and only the same people who care now would care then…

  4. Well, this is bad news, no matter how it’s positioned.

    These are both excellent, very capable, pedigreed winning coaches who came from top schools. Both programs punch above their weight. They are also first class people, so I doubt this could be related to anyone’s behavior.

    I believe that DU’s choice to release the tennis assistant coaches earlier in Covid is likely making life just too difficult for these D-I coaches to be able to perform at the level that they expect and require of themselves.

    Sad that DU could not find a better solution here before this result…

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