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May 8, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina men’s tennis head coach Kent DeMars, who is leading his Gamecock squad into this week’s NCAA Championships, was named Wednesday as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Region II Coach of the Year. The award is the seventh such honor for DeMars in his tenure as Carolina’s head coach and places him among the nominees for ITA National Coach of the Year, to be announced later this month.

DeMars, who earned ITA National Coach of the Year honors in 1989, is in his 18th year as head coach at South Carolina. He has led Carolina to 13 NCAA Championships appearances, including the team’s current streak of nine-consecutive showings. His Gamecock squad is preparing for the 2002 NCAA Championships with a regional appearance Saturday (9 a.m.) against Georgia Tech in Athens, Ga. Top-ranked Georgia and Charleston Southern play in Saturday’s second game with the winners meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. to determine one of the 16 teams who will play at the NCAA Championships finals, May 17-26, in College Station, Tex.

This season, DeMars has led a relatively young team to solid region and Southeastern Conference showings. Carolina currently sports a 16-8 record and finished 5-8 in the SEC while advancing to the tournament quarterfinals. The Gamecocks were unblemished in Region II, going 11-0 and ranking as the top team in the region entering the NCAA Championships.

DeMars has been actively involved in the game of tennis on local, regional and national levels for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996 and has seen his team win more than 78 percent of its region games in his coaching tenure.