The 2016-17 season will be Jay Bruner's 10th year as head coach of the College of Charleston men's tennis team.
In the previous nine seasons since taking charge of the Cougars, the program has blossomed from a two-win Southern Conference campaign his first year to their first-ever undefeated 10-0 SoCon regular season in 2010, a runner-up finish in the SoCon Tournament in 2011, a SoCon Tournament Championship in 2012 and highly impressive second-place finish in their inaugural Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) campaign in 2014 and a CAA Championship in the 2016 season, followed by an NCAA tournament berth.
In 2016, The Cougars won a program-best 17 matches, and secured their first CAA Championship with a dramatic run in the CAA tournament that included a 4-3 win over Elon with 16-14 tie-breaker to decided the match, and a 4-3 win over No. 67 UNCW in the championship. The championship victory earned the Cougars a place in the NCAA tournament, and a first round berth against No. 3 ranked North Carolina. Charleston picked up its most ever wins, while facing one of its most challenging schedules, as they faced seven teams ranked in the top-75 in the nation.
The 2015 season also proved to be a banner one, as the Cougars strung together an impressive 15-10 overall record, going 4-2 in the regular season against CAA opponents, and rising as high as tied for 73rd in the country. In the conference tournament, CofC progressed all the way to the finals with wins over James Madison (4-1) and No.63 ranked UNCW (4-3), before at last falling to William and Mary in the championship game by a score of 1-4. The Cougars proved they weren't afraid of playing the best teams in the country, facing off against six nationally ranked programs over the course of the season.
The 2014 edition of Cougar tennis finished the season with the second highest final ranking in program history (No. 74) after going 18-6 on the year, including wins over nationally ranked Presbyterian (75) and Iowa (57). Along with helping to guide the Cougars to within just one match of the NCAA Tournament, Bruner also helped cultivate the play of all-conference selections Rodrigo Encinas and Crescente Lesser.
Bruner’s young 2013 team featured 3 freshman and 3 sophomores, but still commanded a strong 13-9 record that included an undefeated home campaign (9-0) at the Cougars Patriots Point Tennis Complex. The inexperienced group was led by newcomer Zack Lewis who secured second-team all-conference status while commandeering all-freshman team honors as well as a Conference Player of the Week award.
In 2012, Bruner led the Cougars to a SoCon tournament title and an 18-5 overall record. Under Bruner's guidance, the Cougars also won the SoCon regular season title, finishing the conference campaign with an impressive record of 9-1. The season saw the Cougars drop just one match at home while winning seven in the regular season, the only loss coming against No.70-ranked Georgia State. The Cougars won the SoCon tournament in impressive fashion, shutting out the three opponents they faced. The success Bruner had in coaching the Cougars in 2012 led to his being named SoCon Coach of the Year for a second time.
Along with the program's regular season title in 2010, Bruner led junior Lukas Koncilia to his first Southern Conference Player of the Year award in his second season with the Cougars. Koncilia became only the second player in school history to earn this prestigious recognition. Bruner was also honored with SoCon Coach of the Year honors for the 2009-10 campaign.
The road to the SoCon Tournament in 2010 was historic for the Cougars under Bruner's guidance. The Cougars had two significant wins over ranked opponents at home, defeating ACC opponent and No. 67-ranked Boston College and No. 74-ranked East Carolina in the same week. These wins and a 6-0 run boosted the Cougars into the Campbell/ITA Collegiate Tennis rankings at No. 60. CofC also hosted SEC opponent and No. 14-ranked Ole Miss at Patriots Point - the highest-ranked opponent to ever travel to Charleston under Bruner. With his guidance, the Cougars picked up their first-ever undefeated SoCon regular season going 10-0 with an overall record of 16-4.
In addition to Player of the Year honors, Koncilia and sophomore Mickael Trintignac were both named to the All-Southern Conference First Team in singles, while Koncilia and sophomore Tom Delme were First Team selections in doubles and Trintignac and junior Mickael Boyer were Second Team selections playing at No. 3 doubles. Boyer earned Second Team honors for singles as well.
Trintignac headlined the award winners as he was named SoCon Player of the Week a program-best three time. His four weekly career selections is the most of any Cougar in school history. The doubles pairings of Koncilia and Delme and Trintignac and Boyer were both recognized at the end of the season with ITA Carolina Regional rankings in doubles at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively. Koncilia also picked up his first regional singles ranking at No. 20, to top off his exceptional year under Bruner.
During the 2008-09 season, Bruner led the Cougars to six wins over the team's final nine matches to finish with an 11-14 overall record. The Cougars picked up their first win over a ranked opponent of the year defeating No. 67-ranked ASU. Charleston reached the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament with wins over Chattanooga and an upset of Wofford. Two of Bruner's recruits in 2009 helped make up the SoCon All-Freshmen Team, Tom Delme and Mickael Trintignac.
In his first season as head coach in 2007-08, the Cougars posted an 8-17 overall mark. The team started off the spring season with a national ranking and was represented for the first time at the qualification rounds of the ITA All-American Championships with Omer Abramovich earning a preseason ITA individual ranking. During the year, the Cougars dropped six matches by one-point decisions. Abramovich was named to the All-Conference First Team in singles, while Abramovich and Steven Myers were selected to the All-Conference Second Team for their doubles performance.
Bruner began his collegiate coaching career at CofC in 2005 as the assistant coach for the men's and women's tennis programs. In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, both teams ranked third and second, respectively, in the Southern Conference.
Bruner previously worked as the head professional at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., and as an associate professional at the Family Circle Tennis Facility on Daniel Island, S.C.
Originally from Richmond, Va., Bruner graduated from Virginia Tech in 2001 after playing four varsity seasons for the Hokies. He served as co-captain of the team his junior and senior seasons and helped
lead the Hokies to their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1999. Bruner was a two-time recipient of the coaches award at Va. Tech and received most valuable player and most improved honors.
Bruner holds the highest level of certification from the United States Professional Tennis Registry. He is married to Lee Perrin Bruner, also of Richmond, Va., and they have three children: Freddy, Perrin and John. They all reside on Johns Island, S.C.
THE BRUNER FILE
• 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Champions
2015-16: 19-7 (.730)
TOTALS: 135-77 (.637)