Through the years, Derek Tarr's competitive personality has helped raise the level of expectations of the Blazer men's tennis team. Throughout his 21 years directing the UAB tennis program, the Blazers have maintained a high standard of success as evidenced by his career winning percentage of nearly 70 percent.
Two seasons ago as the Blazers won 12 of 15 dual matches, Tarr reached a coaching milestone as he earned his 300th career victory.
During his 21-year tenure, Tarr has a career record of 318-157 (.669). He has seen his teams win five consecutive conference championships (1991-95), qualify for the NCAA Regionals five times (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000), produce six All-Americans, 37 all-conference performers and two conference Player-of-the-Year selections.
In the last three seasons, Tarr has led his team to a combined record of 36-22, including a 12-3 mark and a final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking of No. 72 in 2008.
Junior Brian Ly, in his first year at UAB, earned a spot on the All-Conference USA team in 2008 as the Blazers reeled off eight consecutive wins at one point during the season. A year earlier, Tarr was 13-8 in dual matches.
During the 2006 season, UAB finished 12-5 and reached the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament.
In 2005, Tarr guided the Blazers to their highest victory total (15) since the 2002 season, losing only six dual matches along the way. UAB put together an impressive seven-match win streak during the second half of the season and in the Blazers' 15 wins, the team compiled a singles and doubles record of 83-8 in individual matches. Sebastian Falk, who played No. 1 singles throughout the season, was named to the Conference USA second team.
In 2004, UAB posted a 13-10 overall record and tied for fifth overall at the C-USA Championships. The Blazers were an impressive 11-5 when they lost their No. 1 player, Tobi Klein, for the season. At the end of the season, Klein was named second team all-conference. UAB was led by senior Sanzaruz Zaman, who recorded a team-best 16-3 dual-match mark.
The Blazers tallied a 10-15 overall mark and a 3-3 conference record in 2003. UAB had three newcomers who made significant contributions throughout the season. Freshman Bastian Gruendler played at the No. 1 position most of the season, while another freshman, Andre Maier, played primarily at the No. 2 spot. Kristijan Mitrovski, also a freshman, recorded a 12-10 record for UAB. The Blazers were short on experience, as they only had two seniors on the squad, Patrick Suhrbier and Rusty Walker.
In 2002, Tarr's team finished with a 16-9 overall record and placed fourth in the Conference USA championship. After being out of the ITA rankings for the first time since 1992, the Blazers rebounded with a No. 46 ranking in March 2002. UAB finished the season ranked 67th in the country.
With the loss of All-American Martin Woisetschläger, UAB was focusing on a rebuilding year in 2001. The Blazers finished the season 5-12 and placed seventh in the C-USA Championship.
In 2000, Tarr's squad finished with a 19-7 (.731) record, earning it a fifth appearance in the NCAA regionals in which the Blazers defeated No. 45 Florida Atlantic. In the second round, they were eliminated by the No. 3 seeded Florida State Seminoles.
The 32nd-ranked Blazers highlighted their season with victories over ranked teams No. 24 LSU, No. 25 Boise State, No. 29 Indiana State and No. 36 Alabama. Senior Martin Woisetschläger posted a 31-10 record on the season, ranking as high as 12th in the ITA national rankings. He was also named GTE Academic All-American, GTE Academic All-District IV, C-USA Player of the Year, First-Team All-Conference and earned C-USA Player of the Week honors twice.
Senior Kolie Van Zyl was named second-team All-Conference USA while junior Tom Dalby and sophomore Alexander Jung both received third-team All-C-USA honors. Dalby and Jung also were ranked No. 54 on the ITA doubles rankings.
In the 1990s, Tarr accomplished more at UAB than any other tennis coach in the school's history.
In 1999, UAB posted a record of 16-6 and was ranked 51st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national poll. Junior Martin Woisetschläger posted a 29-9 record on the year, was ranked as high as No. 34 in the ITA poll, earned First-Team All-Conference USA honors for the third consecutive season, earned C-USA Player of the Week honors three times during the season and defeated six ranked opponents. Junior Kolie Van Zyl and senior Anthony Parun were both named Second-Team All-Conference USA. Freshman Alexander Jung received third team conference honors.
In 1998, UAB finished with a record of 13-8 and ranked 53rd in the ITA poll. The season was highlighted by winning the University of California-Irvine Invitational (March 26-29) and wins over No. 22 Middle Tennessee and No. 48 Louisville. Woisetschläger earned first-team All-C-USA honors for the second straight year, went 16-4 on the season, defeated four ranked opponents and finished the season No. 75 in the ITA poll. Parun earned third-team All-Conference USA honors and was ranked as high as 84th during the season. Freshman Tom Dalby also earned third-team All-C-USA honors.
In 1997, UAB posted an impressive 16-9 record, advanced to the semifinals of the C-USA Championships and qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the third straight season. The 26th-ranked Blazers grabbed nine victories over ranked opponents, including two versus teams ranked in the top 10 of the ITA rankings. Conference USA¹s Freshman of the Year and first-team Conference USA honoree, Woisetschläger (62nd in the final ITA singles rankings), led the way for the Blazers while sophomore second team all-conference player, Parun, contributed steady play.
The Blazers advanced to the NCAA Regionals in the first season of Conference USA play in 1996 and finished 17-9. UAB defeated 26th-ranked Tennessee before falling to host and No. 14 LSU in the semifinals of the Region III Regional. Eric Brunner finished the season ranked 95th in the ITA Collegiate Rankings. Brunner and Gerd Albiez earned first-team all-conference honors. UAB was 21st in the final ITA Collegiate Rankings and played a total of 16 ranked opponents along the way.
Tarr led the Blazers to their fifth straight conference championship in 1995, finishing the season with an overall mark of 15-9. The team ended the season by advancing to the NCAA South Regional, defeating South Florida before losing to Florida. Three players off that NCAA team -- Albiez, Paul Rosner and Vaughan Snyman - went on to earn All-America honors.
In 1994, Tarr led the Blazers to a 20-10 record overall, facing 16 teams with national rankings. During the season, UAB rose as high as No. 11 in the national rankings. He produced two All-Americans in juniors Rosner and Snyman.
Tarr coached the Blazers to a 20-5 record in 1993, facing one of the toughest schedules in collegiate tennis. The Blazers posted nine victories over teams in the ITA poll, with notable victories over No. 7 Mississippi State, No. 16 Arkansas, No. 12 Florida and No. 18 Miami.
Before Tarr took command in 1989, UAB had never produced a nationally-ranked player, never been nationally ranked as a team or defeated a nationally-ranked team. Five Blazers earned national rankings in 1993, a feat topped during the season by only USC and UCLA.
Selected as conference Coach of the Year for six consecutive seasons (1990-95), Tarr was the ITA/Wilson Region III Coach of the Year in 1993 and a finalist for national honors that same season.
A former professional player, Tarr ranked in the top 100 in singles and doubles during his career. He defeated Tim Mayotte, Henri Leconte and Andre Agassi during his seven-year pro career.
A 1981 graduate of Auburn University, Tarr was a four-time All-SEC performer who became the Tigers' first All-American in 1981. He posted a 91-16 career record and was the Tigers' first SEC individual champion (at No. 4 singles) in 1978. He took the SEC No. 1 singles title in his senior season of 1981.
In addition to his duties at UAB, Tarr is the teaching professional at Brook Highland Racquet Club in Birmingham, where he helps coordinate the Eddleman Pro Tennis Classic, an ATP event that attracts some of the world's top players. His resume also includes two years as the coach of a club team in Germany.