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In his decade-plus-long association with the tennis program at USC Upstate, head coach Alessandro De Marzo and the Spartans have known nothing but success. Now in his sixth year as coach after two seasons as an assistant coach and three years as a player, De Marzo will look to continue to lead the Upstate tennis program to unprecedented success in the unchartered waters of Division I tennis.
In just five seasons, De Marzo has accumulated 164 wins with the program, passing Alan Ferguson, who won 157 matches with the tennis programs from 1989-97, as the winningest coach in school history in 2009. De Marzo led both programs to the NCAA Division II Tournament in each of his first three years as a coach and was the first coach in school history to take both the men's and women's teams to the NCAA Nationals in 2007 and also led the Spartan women's tennis team to the first outright A-Sun title in school history in 2008.
In 2009, De Marzo helped the Upstate men come within one match of unseating four-time A-Sun champion ETSU during the regular season. Still, the men had one singles and one doubles pair earn national rankings while finishing 70th in the final ITA rankings with a 22-3 record. A school and A-Sun record six players earned all-conference honors led by Freshman of the Year Edgar Rodriguez. The women's team, meanwhile, finished third in the A-Sun, posting a 13-4 overall record. De Marzo helped coach Anna Novo to her fourth all-conference honor and the first women's DI national ranking during the season.
De Marzo pulled off one of his most impressive coaching feats during the spring 2008 season, leading the women's tennis team to its first regular season league title in school history, sweeping the Atlantic Sun Conference slate with a perfect 11-0 record. Along with softball, the women's tennis team was the first to win an A-Sun regular season title and Novo was one of three Spartan athletes at the school to earn A-Sun Player of the Year honors. Finishing with a 17-3 overall record, the women's squad also succeeded in the classroom, earning ITA All-Academic Team honors with a 3.490 GPA during the season. Senior Diana Martinez also became the school's first two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American.
The men's squad finished 2008 a respectable third in the Atlantic Sun, having compiled a 15-6 overall record and an 8-2 mark in the league, finishing behind only nationally-ranked East Tennessee State and Stetson. De Marzo coached Sandy Franz to the school's first ITA Division I national ranking, as the German started the spring with a ranking of 96th. He helped Renzo Airaldi earn All-Atlantic Sun Second Team honors and also coached the doubles pair of Franz and Airaldi to the semifinals of the ITA Mideast Regionals.
The Spartans made the 2006-07 seasons one for the record books, as the teams closed the door on the Division II era in style. The Spartans finished 2007 ranked No. 5 in men's tennis and No. 7 in women's tennis in the final ITA Top 40 poll. De Marzo coached three All-American selections in Stefan Dumitrescu, Airaldi and Anna Novo and an Academic All-American in Martinez.
In 2005-06, he led the women's team to a second-round appearance in the NCAA Regionals while coaching the Peach Belt Conference and Mid-Atlantic Region Freshman of the Year in Anna Novo. On the men's side, the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Nationals for the first time since 2004 before losing to eventual national champion Valdosta State. The women's team finished with a No. 8 final national ranking and the men's team was 11th in the final Top 25 poll.
In his first year at the helm of the tennis programs in 2004-05, De Marzo led the men's team to a No. 11 final ranking, an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and a co-championship during the regular season in the Peach Belt Conference. On the women's side, the Spartans claimed a No. 14 final national ranking, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, and finished in a tie for second in the Peach Belt Conference.
De Marzo helped coach the 2004 men's team to a 20-5 record and a final No. 7 national ranking. USC Upstate advanced to the NCAA Division II Nationals in Altamonte Springs, Fla. He served as a student assistant coach in 2003, helping the men's team to a 20-2 record, a share of the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship, and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also aided the women's team in earning its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
De Marzo is a native of Lima, Peru. He played his final three years of college tennis for USC Upstate after transferring from Division I Norfolk State. De Marzo was one of the core group of players that led the resurgence in the men's tennis program. While at USC Upstate, he played in the top two spots in singles and is considered the top doubles player at USC Upstate in the Tami Matheny era. He is currently 11th in school history in doubles wins and finished his career with a Top 15 doubles ranking. As the team captain his senior year, De Marzo led the team to its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
In junior tennis, De Marzo was ranked as high as No. 8 in all of South America on the COSAT South American Junior's Tour. He also competed in the prestigious Orange Bowl and Eddie Herr Tournaments all through juniors with wins over several nationally-ranked players.
The De Marzo File BORN: Oct. 15, 1979