Note: The following appears in the Notre Dame football gameday program.
Julie Coin, a three-time All-American on Clemson’s Final Four women’s tennis teams of 2004 and 2005, was inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor this weekend. Coin is the second women’s tennis player to be presented with the highest honor bestowed by the Clemson athletic department, as All-American Susan Hill was inducted in 2011.
The Clemson women’s tennis squads of 2004 and 2005 are still the only women’s athletics teams in school history to reach the Final Four of an NCAA Tournament in any sport.
As a sophomore in 2003-04, Coin won the Frank Howard Award, the department-wide accolade for bringing honor to Clemson. The following year, she was named IPTAY Athlete-of-the-Year, another department-wide award that takes into account athletic and academic excellence.
“Julie Coin lives up to her name…she is a jewel,” said former Clemson Head Coach Nancy Harris. “She has been a great ambassador for Clemson, her country (France) and her family.
“Julie and her teammates were part of the legacy team at Clemson, and I am happy they are all coming back to be a part of this event this weekend.
“Julie was a quiet leader who was smart as a whip. We would be on a road trip and all of a sudden she would yell from the back of the van, ‘Nance, you just missed a turn’.”
Coin graduated with a degree in mathematics in just three years and was a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll, including 2003-04, when she was on the Dean’s List.
Coin finished her Clemson career with a 101-20 singles record. Her 83.5 winning percentage is still second to Hill’s among players who were on the Tiger team more than one year. Coin is the only Clemson women’s tennis player to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Individual Singles Tournament twice. She also finished 90-27 in doubles play in her three years.
As a freshman in 2003, Coin was the 2003 ITA Southeast Region doubles champion and was named All-ACC. She posted a 31-6 singles record as Clemson’s No. 1 singles player. Harris knew she had a talented player from the first time she saw her at Clemson.
“I still remember the first day I practiced with her at Hoke Sloan Tennis Center,” recalled Harris. “She was attacking the ball on every shot, which is what great players do. At one point, I brought her to the net and told her she could one day be a top-60 player in the world.
“She smiled back and went right back to work. I think I put a little seed in her that day.
“Julie had a ferocious appetite to learn and live up to a high standard. She came so alive on the tennis court and gave everything she had.”
In 2004, Coin won two individual ACC championships, one in singles and one in doubles, and was named MVP of the ACC. She finished the year as the No. 8 player in the nation in the ITA poll and reached the Final Four of the NCAA Singles Tournament. Her 32-9 record included a 4-1 record in the NCAA Individual Tournament.
That 2004 season, Clemson won the ACC championship and had a 26-4 overall record, including a 7-0 mark in the ACC. The team was ranked No. 5 in the final poll, still the highest ranking in program history.
In her final season (2005), Coin posted a 38-5 singles record and 32-8 doubles mark. She was named an All-American in singles and doubles competition and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. She was ranked No. 2 in the final ITA singles rankings and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
During her career, Clemson had a 67-19 overall record, including 22-3 in ACC play. Twenty-two of the wins were over top-25 teams.
“What made her a great player was that she was tall and fast,” explained Harris. “She was like a gazelle on the tennis court. But, she was very powerful. Her serve was clocked at 120 miles per hour.
“She was also very coachable and very focused. When we had meetings in the locker room, she would take notes and listen.”
Coin turned professional in 2005 and retired in 2016. She is now a teaching professional in France, where she lives with her husband and children.
Coin’s most famous accomplishment as a professional took place at the 2008 U.S. Open, where, as the No. 188 player in the world, she defeated top-ranked Ana Ivanovic. It marked the first time a man or woman had come through qualifying to defeat the top seed in the first or second round of the U.S. Open.
“I will always remember going to the media area with her after she won,” added Harris. “There were two media sessions going on, and Rafa Nadal was in the other room. Just about everyone was with Julie.”