Courtesy Furman Athletics Communications
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman director of athletics Jason Donnelly announced today the promotion of John (J.J.) Whitlinger to head coach of the Paladin men’s tennis program. Whitlinger replaces Kelly Jones, who was recently named the USTA men’s tennis national coach for player development.
“After a comprehensive national search, I am thrilled to announce J.J. Whitlinger as our new head coach for men’s tennis,” said Donnelly. “J.J. emerged from a strong field of candidates after meeting with him and hearing his plan for success and after receiving feedback from current team members, administrators, alumni, and fans. J.J.’s efforts over the past four years as an assistant coach have positioned him well to build upon the strong history and tradition of Furman tennis set forth by our legendary head coach Paul Scarpa, and I am confident that J.J. will make the Furman family proud.”
Whitlinger, who was promoted to associate head coach of the Furman program in the fall of 2018, had served as the program’s assistant coach since the summer of 2015.
“I am extremely humbled to be named the head men’s tennis coach at Furman University,” said Whitlinger. “The history of this program is immense, and it is an absolute privilege to follow in the footsteps of such great coaches as the legendary Paul Scarpa and Kelly Jones. The support I have received throughout the process from my team has been unbelievable, and I can’t wait to get started on the next chapter of Furman tennis.”
Under the assistance of Whitlinger, Furman concluded the 2019 season with a 17-5 overall record and 6-1 mark in league competition. The Paladins reached the championship match of the Southern Conference tournament for the fifth time in six years, and Ivan Mitric was named to the All-SoCon first team for singles. Mitric teamed with Jake Munns to earn a first-team nod for doubles, and Drew Singerman was honored as a member of the All-SoCon second team for singles. Singerman went on to claim a spot on the Academic All-District at-large team at the conclusion of the season.
During the 2018 season, the Paladins posted a 19-8 overall mark and 5-2 SoCon record. Furman advanced to the championship match of the SoCon tournament, and Mitric was honored as the Southern Conference Men’s Tennis Freshman of the Year, while Cameron Green and Munns earned all-conference first-team citations.
Whitlinger helped Furman to a 17-8 overall record and a 6-1 SoCon mark in 2017. The Paladins, who reached the semifinals of the SoCon tournament, captured six All-SoCon scrolls and placed two players, Munns and Clarke Wilson, on the SoCon All-Freshman Team. Green and Adam Steryous were selected to the All-SoCon first team for singles for the second-straight year, and Adam Steryous and Munns represented the Paladins on the All-SoCon first team for doubles. Munns and Jake Bhangdia were named to the All-Southern Conference second team for singles.
In 2016, Whitlinger was instrumental in helping Furman reach the championship match of the Southern Conference tournament for the third-consecutive season. The Paladins recorded a 13-11 overall record and 5-2 league mark. Adam Steryous and Green were named to the All-Southern Conference first team for singles, while Green and Alex Steryous garnered second-team accolades for doubles, and Josh Pistorius was chosen to the SoCon All-Freshman team.
Whitlinger began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant with the men’s tennis program at Stanford in 2005 and remained with the Cardinal through the end of the 2014 season. During his time with the Cardinal, the team made nine NCAA tournament appearances and won two Pac-10 league championships. Whitlinger also worked as the Director of Junior Tennis at the Fremont Hills Country Club from 2010-2015.
A native of Menlo Park, Calif., Whitlinger earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s College of California in 2005. A four-year letter winner for the Gaels, he earned All-WCC doubles honorable mention accolades as a sophomore. Whitlinger, who was chosen team captain for two years, was nominated for the George R. McKeon Award, which recognizes St. Mary’s most outstanding student-athlete, as a senior in 2005.
Whitlinger is married to the former Katrina Domela of Bandung, Indonesia, who played tennis at the University of Tennessee at Martin and Cal State Fullerton. The couple has two sons, Trey, 7, and Rhys, 5.