ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis University Director of Athletics Chris May announced today that Jonathan Zych has stepped down as head men’s and women’s tennis coach after guiding the Billikens for 18 seasons.
“For 18 years, Jon Zych has epitomized what it means to be a Billiken,” May said. “He has represented the University, the athletics department and the tennis programs with class, pride, a positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm.
“Jon has incorporated our department’s core objectives of educating, competing and building community into every aspect of his relationships with student-athletes and co-workers,” May said. “His deep commitment to those he coached is reflected not only in their many accomplishments on and off the court, but also in what they achieved following graduation. We thank Jon for his outstanding leadership and wish him the best as he moves forward on his journey.”
“I am deeply grateful for the amazing opportunity to coach the Saint Louis University tennis teams,” Zych said. “The past 18 years have produced unbelievable memories and relationships that will always be in my heart.
“The student-athletes I have coached have been inspirational to me on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I thank them deeply for their efforts and the heart they displayed, and I thank the coaches who helped lead them to new heights.
“SLU athletics is a family for which I am grateful each day,” Zych said. “Working alongside the staff has taught me to lead with trust, excellence and caring. I especially thank Chris May for his focus on the benefits of gratitude, which has been an important inspiration and guide for our program; Senior Associate Director of Athletics Janet Oberle for 18 years of mentorship; and Associate Director of Athletics D’Ann Keller for her constant support, guidance and enthusiasm.”
Zych, who received the 2014 Billiken Spirit Award from SLU’s Division of Student Development, is the longest-tenured and winningest coach in the history of both programs. He led the women’s team to 212 victories and the men’s team to 148 wins.
The Saint Louis women posted 11 winning seasons under Zych’s leadership, including the 2015-16 campaign that saw the Billikens collect a school-record 20 victories (20-5). SLU was the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship runner-up in 2011 and 2014, tied for third in the 2017 and 2018 league tournaments, and finished in the upper half seven other times. The Billiken men placed in the A-10 Championship upper division five times, including fourth place in 2009.
Saint Louis student-athletes earned 50 All-Conference selections (29 women’s, 21 men’s) under Zych’s guidance. Recent Billiken Hall of Fame inductee Hailee Elmore was a four-time All-Conference choice (first team three times) and twice garnered A-10 Most Outstanding Performer plaudits. Elmore was a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, the A-10 women’s tennis Student-Athlete of the Year and an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee as a senior.
Aspen Cervin was a four-time first-team All-Conference honoree who also earned an A-10 Most Outstanding Performer award. On the men’s side, Zych coached three-time first-team All-Conference pick David Ferragut.
Billiken tennis student-athletes consistently excelled in the classroom during Zych’s tenure. The women’s team led the SLU athletics department in grade point average seven times, while the men’s team boasted the top GPA twice. Both programs have appeared regularly on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic list, and they combined for 23 Academic All-Conference and seven CoSIDA Academic All-District selections with Zych at the helm.