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Aug. 26, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Katarina Petrovic with the University of South Carolina women’s tennis program has been promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach according to head coach Arlo Elkins on Wednesday.

“This is a well deserved promotion for Katarina,” Elkins said. “She’s been a tremendous asset to our program over the past five years and an integral part of the success we’ve had. Katarina is a tireless recruiter and has brought some of the best talent from around the world here to the University of South Carolina. She cares deeply about her alma mater and ensures that our student-athletes find success on the court, in the classroom and in life after tennis.”

Petrovic has been the catalyst behind South Carolina’s influx of talented players during her tenure. She helped bring All-SEC performers Gira Schofield and Natasa Vuckovic, as well as current senior Ana Marija Zubori to the school. Schofield earned all-conference accolades every year she competed at South Carolina, becoming the first player in school history to do so. Schofield also reached the NCAA Singles Championships four times and earned a season-ending national ranking four straight years, both school firsts. Vuckovic earned All-SEC honors three times and Zubori has a chance to join Schofield in 2010 as the second four-time All-SEC award winner for South Carolina.

Last season, Petrovic and Elkins helped their Gamecocks engineer an outstanding run to finish the season. Sitting at 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the SEC with a No. 40 national ranking, the team rebounded to end with a 6-5 record in SEC play and entered the NCAA Tournament at 14-10 and ranked 22nd. After disposing of Wake Forest in the first round in Knoxville, Tenn., the Gamecocks upset the tournament’s No. 10 seed Tennessee to reach the championships in College Station, Texas. Carolina then shut out Washington to reach the quarterfinals. Against the national No. 2-seed Georgia Bulldogs in the quarters, the Gamecocks stole the doubles point but came up one victory short in singles to lose an epic 4-3 battle. It tied for the best postseason finish in school history.

During a luncheon at the 2009 NCAA Championships, Petrovic was honored as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year for her role in helping South Carolina achieve its success. Petrovic became the first assistant coach in school history to receive the honor from the ITA.

Petrovic, a native of Valjevo, Serbia, returned to her alma mater in September 2004 after spending time in North Miami Beach, Fla., as the sports manager at the Michael-Ann Russell Community Center. She competed for South Carolina from 1998 to 2002 playing primary at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Petrovic earned ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 while also earning a spot on the All-SEC Singles Second Team. In 2000, she was voted team MVP and earned the highest singles ranking in school history that same year when she ascended to No. 13 in the nation.