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Gajdzik named Purdue Men’s Tennis Head Coach

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Pawel Gajdzik has been named men’s head tennis coach at Purdue, effective Aug. 23, athletics director Morgan Burke announced Wednesday.

“Pawel impressed us with his plan for Purdue tennis and his passion for developing our student-athletes,” Burke said. “As a nationally and internationally ranked player, he assisted Baylor in becoming a national power before taking the head job at Northern Illinois. His aspirations are to develop champions, and we are confident he will succeed.”

Pawel Gajdzik will begin the 94th season of Purdue mens tennis as the ninth head coach in program history.

Pawel Gajdzik will begin the 94th season of Purdue men's tennis as the ninth head coach in program history.

Gajdzik comes to Purdue after spending last season as head coach at Northern Illinois. He led the Huskies to a 9-10 overall record, including a 3-2 MAC mark that tied for second in the conference, in his first season in charge. Northern Illinois’ second-place MAC showing was the highest for the school since 1997 and included the program’s first victory over Ball State since 1974.

The Huskies managed postseason acclaim as well in Gajdzik’s first season. Pawel Poziomski was named MAC Newcomer of the Year and All-MAC second team. Fellow freshman Jurica Grubisic was a first-team All-MAC selection, and junior Javier Bernabe was named to the second team. Gajdzik’s 2009 recruiting class was named the No. 1 mid-major class in the country by TennisRecruiting.net.

“I want to thank Morgan for giving me this opportunity,” Gajdzik said. “I think Purdue is a great place to be. It’s a great school with a great athletic program, and I really hope to take the men’s tennis team to national prominence and compete for national championships as well as Big Ten championships.”

Before taking over at Northern Illinois last summer, Gajdzik spent six seasons on the coaching staff at Baylor. The Bears won the 2004 national championship and the 2005 national indoor team title before earning a national runner-up finish in 2005. Baylor also advanced to the national semifinal in 2006 and 2007 and the national quarterfinal in 2003 and 2008. The Bears brought six consecutive Big 12 championships and five Big 12 tournament titles back to Waco in that time, as well.

Gajdzik directed 2004 NCAA singles champion Benjamin Becker and 2005 NCAA singles champion Benedikt Dorsch, who were two of the four All-Americans to play at Baylor while Gajdzik was on staff. In addition to his coaching duties at Baylor, Gajdzik founded the PG Tennis Academy in 2005.
“Purdue is very excited to have Pawel Gajdzik lead our men’s tennis program,” said Assistant Athletics Director Tom Reiter, who is assuming the duties of sport administrator for tennis. “He understands the need for balance in academics and athletics, as he recently completed his doctoral course work in educational psychology at Baylor. Pawel was an outstanding player at Baylor when the program was first being built. He then had great success as an assistant coach there as that program has sustained its top-level performance. As the head coach at Northern Illinois, Pawel was able to attract top talent, and he got that program started. I know Pawel is excited, as we are, to begin this new journey of leading Purdue men’s tennis into national prominence.”

During his playing days at Baylor, Gajdzik won the 1998 Big 12 singles and doubles titles and was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year while leading the team to its first NCAA tournament appearance. In his first season of collegiate tennis, he was ranked as high as 17th in singles and was in the top 20 in the doubles rankings with two different partners. His 8-0 conference mark that season still stands as the best single-season mark in school history. The following year, Baylor put together a 25-4 record and advanced to the national quarterfinals. In 2000, Gajdzik won another Big 12 doubles crown while leading the Bears to the first men’s team conference title in school history and a Round of 16 berth in the NCAA tournament.

Prior to coming to the United States, Gajdzik was a member of Poland’s national team from 1989 to 1997. He was an ATP ranked professional player in singles and doubles while playing for the Polish Junior National Team. Gajdzik also won a national championship and was ranked in the top five throughout his junior career.

“Coach Gajdzik is the perfect fit for Purdue,” said Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Nancy Cross, who led the search as the outgoing sport administrator for tennis. “His competitive nature, personal experience in transforming a program into a national champion and appreciation of and commitment to education all embrace our Boilermaker values and the vision we have for the student-athletes of our men’s tennis program.”

Gajdzik, a Szczecin, Poland, native, is married to the former Elizabeth Solomon.

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