Gurule new hiring

In 17 years with the women's program as the head coach, Gurule has posted double-digit wining seasons 10 times. 

Gonzaga University has hired D.J Gurule as head coach of the men’s tennis program and Natalie Pluskota-Hamberg to lead the women’s tennis program going forward.

"We are so excited to announce the hiring of D.J. as our head men's tennis coach and Natalie as our head women's tennis coach," GU Athletic Director Mike Roth said in a news release. "The pair have been instrumental in the growth and success of our women's tennis program and we are excited to see what they can accomplish in the coming seasons."

Gurule acted as head coach of the women’s team for the past 17 seasons while Pluskota-Hamberg was an assistant on the team for the previous four.

During his tenure, Gurule oversaw immense development of the program while mentoring some talented athletes along the way. The Zags finished with double digit wins in 10 seasons, including six of the highest seven-win totals of the last 20 years under Gurule. GU finished second in the West Coast Conference standings for three consecutive years that was capped off with an appearance in the final match of the conference championships, a program first.

Gurule will now take over the head coach role of the men's team following the departure of Jonas Piibor.

Pluskota-Hamberg will now serve as the fifth head coach in the women’s tennis program history. As an assistant, she was recognized for her efforts in 2018 by being named the International Tennis Association Assistant Coach of the Year as the Bulldogs finished with a 16-7 record. 

Prior to her time at GU, Pluskota-Hamberg enjoyed a four-year professional career and two years of teaching as well. She was a four-time All-American at the University of Tennessee and also spent one season as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas after her playing career was over.

GU will now begin to search for an assistant to join the women’s tennis coaching staff.

Cole Forsman is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @CGForsman.

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