Note: The following appears in the Wofford gameday football program.
The Clemson men’s tennis team has a new coach at the helm this season. Robbie Weiss is entering his first season as head coach after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s tennis team at Alabama. Weiss is ready for the opportunity to lead the Tigers, and it is an opportunity that means a lot to him.
“I have been through quite a bit over the years being in and out of college tennis due to various circumstances. I am incredibly lucky to be in the position I am in now. I wake up every day feeling blessed for having the opportunity to lead a group of young men on and off the court and help them develop into the best players they can be and help guide them to be outstanding people. To be a part of Clemson is truly a dream come true, and I will work tirelessly to make the most of this opportunity.”
Before becoming a coach, Weiss was a talented player. While at Pepperdine, Weiss won the NCAA singles championship in 1988 with a 55-2 record. Winning a title was a far-off goal for Weiss when he began play as a freshman, and he never thought he would achieve it. However, his successful senior season came as a blur as he finally captured that freshman goal.
“It all happened very quickly for me my senior year, as I was ranked No. 1 in the country early in the fall and continued to have a very successful season. Heading into NCAAs, I was determined to win the event and put a stamp on my college career. It was an amazing feeling to claim the NCAA singles title, but I would have gladly given that victory back for a team title.”
Along with the championship, Weiss was named 1988 ITA Player-of-the-Year, an honor that he is proud of. After college, Weiss went on to the professional ranks and won his first title at the 1990 ATP World Tour 250 Series in Sao Paulo, Brazil. That victory was unexpected, as he was ranked No. 115 in the world and lacked confidence in his play at the time. However, Weiss found his stride after his first match and rode the momentum.
“I managed to get through my first-round match and went straight to the practice court. Something clicked for me in that practice session, and I went on a roll and started playing very well. I definitely did not see my tournament victory coming, but I competed well and found a way to be the last person standing that particular week.”
Weiss registered wins over four former No. 1 ranked players in the world (Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter) in his professional career. He is the most proud of this accomplishment, which is something few players can claim. He cited luck and good fortune in aiding him in those matches, but in each instance, his confidence spiked the longer he stayed in the match.
Weiss was inducted into the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008, which is an incredible honor for him.
“To think of all the great college players who have come before and after me is quite humbling, and to be elected into this prestigious club is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Weiss entered coaching after returning to Pepperdine to finish his degree. An opportunity to be an assistant coach opened up, and he took advantage.
Now, Weiss looks to build a lasting culture in Tigertown as a head coach and help his players succeed on the hardcourt, in the classroom and in life.