Cummings Hired to Lead Norfolk State Tennis Programs
NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State athletics department announced today that local native Darryl Cummings has been hired to serve as the head coach of the NSU tennis teams. The former Old Dominion and Virginia Wesleyan head coach brings a wealth of experience to a Norfolk State program that has made steady improvements the last five years.
“We are excited to have Coach Cummings serve as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach,” said NSU Athletics Director Marty L. Miller. “He brings a great deal of experience to the tennis program and should be able to elevate the overall performance of the tennis student-athletes to compete at a higher level. Coach Cummings is well known in the tennis community, and I look forward to working with him. I consider him an asset for Norfolk State University.”
Cummings compiled a 563-353 dual match record during his 20-year head coaching career at ODU from 1992-2011, including the last 17 years as the men’s coach in addition to all 20 years as the women’s coach. He also led both squads at Virginia Wesleyan from 2014-15, with the men compiling a 29-10 overall record, including 18-2 in the ODAC, during that two-year stint.
“I have followed the Green and Gold of Norfolk State University for more than 25 years and always hoped I would have an opportunity to be a part of the athletic department,” said Cummings. “I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Athletics Director Marty Miller, Senior Associate AD Melody Webb, and the search committee for providing me the opportunity to be the head tennis coach at Norfolk State. I am really looking forward to making it happen for the Spartan tennis program.”
A six-time Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Coach of the Year while at ODU, he was named the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Virginia Coach of the Year on three separate occasions and the 1989 USPTA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year. He also garnered the women’s East Region Coach of the Year Award in 2001.
He has coached players who have later competed in the Davis Cup, Federation Cup and the Olympics. Two of his former pupils, Tzipora Obziler and Izak van der Merwe, competed in the main draw of Wimbledon in 2008. Obziler, who once ranked No. 1 in the nation in NCAA Division I and won the 1995 ITA National Clay Court Championship, reached a world ranking of No. 75 in 2007. Van der Merwe, a three-time All-American, stood as high as No. 113 in the world rankings in 2011.
Cummings coached 14 CAA Players of the Year, including four-time honoree Nataly Cahana. The two-time All-American ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation in singles in 2001, the same year Cummings led the ODU women’s team to a No. 35 national team ranking.
In addition to his players achieving All-America honors on six different occasions, Cummings has coached more than 40 Academic All-Americans. His overall coaching record stands 600-388, including 315-166 on the men’s side and 285-222 as a women’s head coach.
A standout player at ODU, Cummings led the Monarchs to a 20-3 mark in 1986, their first-ever 20-win season. He captured the 1985 Virginia State singles championship and the Sun Belt Conference doubles championship in 1986.
He earned an associate's degree in business administration from Lees-McRae College in 1984, a bachelor's degree from ODU in Arts and Letter in 1992 and a master's degree from ODU in sports management in 2003.
“Watching former coach Nathaniel Warren start the tennis program in the early 1990’s, along with the success of the other various athletic programs, has been very motivating,” added Cummings. “Along with the entire Hampton Roads community, I was very inspired when the Norfolk State men’s basketball team shocked No. 2 seed Missouri in the NCAA tournament in 2012. The athletic department has terrific coaches who consistently achieve success while maximizing their resources, and I am very proud to be a part of this team.”
The NSU women captured the MEAC Northern Division title in 2016 and advanced to the conference tournament for the first time in five years. The Spartan men finished second last year in the North after tying for first place in the South in 2013 and advancing to the tournament final in ’14.
Cummings is married to Beth Gregory, and the couple has three children, Clark, Connor and Jessica.
He replaces former NSU head coach Worth Richardson, who left the program in June.