Women’s Tennis Program
Nevolo comes to SMU from South Carolina, where he was the Associate Head Coach for the women’s tennis program since 2014, and the 2018 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year. In his five seasons at USC, the Gamecocks reached at least the NCAA Second Round each season. The 2019 team won the program’s first SEC Tournament title and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals.
“We are excited to welcome Jeff, Diana and Leah to the Hilltop,” said Hart. “Jeff shares our vision for the SMU Women’s Tennis program and is committed to creating a championship culture. His background, experience and approach to developing our student-athletes on and off the court will position us for success in the AAC and nationally.”
In the past five seasons, Nevolo helped South Carolina student-athletes earn seven bids to the NCAA Singles Championship and three spots in the NCAA Doubles Championship. In 2019, the duo of Ingrid Martins and Mia Horvit reached the semifinals, matching the best doubles finish in program history. During his tenure, the Gamecocks garnered three singles and two doubles All-American honors. In 2019, South Carolina had its highest end-of-season mark at No. 5 in the final ITA rankings. Nevolo was the ITA Carolina Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2018 in addition to earning the national honor at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
In his final season at South Carolina, the 2019 team finished 23-4, posting a program-record third straight 20-win season. The No. 5 ITA ranking was the highest end-of-season mark in program history. The program earned two All-American selections in singles and one in doubles. In 2018, the team amassed a 21-7 overall record, an 11-2 SEC record and reached the NCAA Round of 16. The 2016-17 squad made the NCAA Round of 16 and sent two players to the round of 32 at the NCAA Singles Championship for the first time since 1983. Mia Horvit became just the second singles All-American in school history by advancing to the NCAA Round of 16. In 2015-16, the Gamecocks cracked the top 10 for the first time since 1983, and hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. Doubles teammates Hadley Berg and Paige Cline went on to become the program’s first All-Americans since 1994.
“I’d like to thank Athletic Director Rick Hart and Deputy Athletics Director Kurt Pottkotter for the opportunity to lead the SMU Women’s Tennis program,” said Nevolo. “It is a dream come true to become a Head Coach and I’m excited to tackle the challenge of competing for American Athletic Conference Championships and on the biggest of national stages. My family and I can’t wait to get started.”
Nevolo previously spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons as an assistant for the Air Force men’s tennis program and was an assistant for the men’s team at Alabama for a year prior to his stint with the Falcons. He started his coaching career at Ball State from 2009-11.
At Air Force, Nevolo was promoted to associate head coach prior to his second season. He then helped the Falcons to their first winning record since 2006, as Air Force finished the season with a 13-12 record and achieved its highest national ranking ever at No. 63 in late February. A 4-3 victory over 49th-ranked BYU early in the season marked AFA’s first over a ranked team since Feb. 4, 2005. Air Force also won its first regular-season Mountain West dual match since 2003.
In his one season at Alabama, Nevolo helped Crimson Tide student-athletes Jarryd Botha and Ricky Doverspike advance to the round of 16 at the 2012 NCAA Doubles Championships.
Nevolo, a native of Gurnee, Ill., earned a bachelor’s in sport administration in 2009 from Ball State. After graduating, Nevolo began his coaching stint for the Cardinals that fall as a volunteer assistant before being promoted to assistant coach the following year. During the spring, he helped Ball State capture the Mid-American Conference title for the first time since 2005, which gave the Cardinals an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. He also earned a master’s degree in executive development for public service from Ball State in 2011.
Aside from coaching at Ball State, Nevolo was also a tennis teaching professional at The Bridgewater Club in Carmel, Ind., and the Muncie Family YMCA in Muncie, Ind.
He and his wife, Diana, were married in July 2013 and have a daughter, Leah.