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The Daily Tar Heel

Women's Tennis Coach Leaves

After three years as head coach of University of North Carolina women's tennis, Roland Thornqvist has been named to the same position at the University of Florida.

In three years, UNC compiled a 42-30 record under Thornqvist and appeared in the NCAA Tournament all three years.

"The University of Florida offers the best opportunity for me and my family," Thornqvist said.

"I'm taking the No. 2-ranked team in the country and a team that's been in the top three in the nation for fifteen years. It's a challenge and an opportunity for me."

UNC finished the 2000-01 season with a 16-7 record, before losing in the second round of the NCAAs.

Florida finished the same season 21-3 and lost to top-seeded Stanford in the NCAA semifinals.

"Women's tennis at Florida is sort of like men's basketball at North Carolina," he said.

Thornqvist, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, played his freshman year at Elon College, where he won the NAIA singles and doubles championships, before transferring to UNC for his remaining three years.

He was a first-team All-American in 1992 and 1993, in addition to being the 1993 ACC Player of the Year.

Kendrick Bunn, a rising junior from Wilson and player on the women's team, says Thornqvist's experience has helped him as a coach.

"He was such a good player," she said. "He knows tennis."

Bunn also praised his passion for the team.

"He cares so much about the team, individually and as a whole," she said.

Thornqvist said the toughest part about going to Florida is leaving his players. "I think they're terrific kids," he said. "They work hard and I think they have a chance to be really good next year."

Including his two seasons as head coach at the University of Kansas, Thornqvist has a 75-50 career record. His teams have reached the NCAA Tournament in all five seasons.

"He came in and did a good job recruiting and improving our program," said Beth Miller, senior associate director of athletics. "It's evident in the success that we've had, and we are certainly pleased that he was able to come in and do that for us."

Miller said there was a considerable amount of interest in the position, but no timetable had been set to find Thornqvist's replacement.

"We'll take our time and find the right person for the position."

Bunn remained optimistic. "We're a flexible group," she said. "They'll get the best person for the job."

Brian Frederick can be reached at

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