- Mark Tjia
|Years At UAB:|
Mark Tjia, a veteran tennis coach with 20 years of coaching experience at multiple levels, was named UAB's head women's tennis coach on Jan. 17, 2014.
Tjia joined the Blazers after spending three and a half seasons as the assistant men's tennis coach at his alma mater, TCU.
Tjia, who was actively involved in all areas of the program at TCU, including recruiting, budgeting and travel, individual and team instruction, and marketing, was named the 2012-13 ITA Texas Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the Texas region. He played an instrumental role in helping the Horned Frogs to one of the top home-court advantages in the nation as TCU placed No. 1 in the ITA Fan Attendance Race after never having been ranked before his arrival. He was also instrumental in helping rebuild a Horned Frog men's program that was ranked #52 when he arrived in the Fall of 2010, but finished the 2015 season as the #4 team in the country along with a Final Four showing.
Tjia joined TCU after serving as the Head Tennis Professional at the 300 Swim & Tennis Club in Gainesville, Fla., since 1997. In 2010, he was an assistant coach for the Florida women's tennis team that reached the final round at the NCAA Team Championship, won the SEC, and finished No. 2 in the nation. The Gators dropped a 4-3 decision to national champion Stanford in the final match.
Tjia spent eight months in 1995 coaching and travelling on the WTA tour with then world 60th-ranked Shaun Stafford. He was courtside as she recorded three top 25 wins while making the quarter finals of the Italian Open and the third round at Wimbledon. Tjia played singles and doubles for three top-10 Horned Frog teams between 1988 and 1992, including the 1989 squad that reached the semifinal round at the NCAA Championships, and the 1992 squad that was #2 in the nation.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration from TCU in 1992, Tjia participated for several years on the ATP pro circuit. He achieved a high world ranking of No. 589 in singles in November 1994. After his playing days, he served as a coach on the WTA Tour and wrote and published the book "Loving the Battle!" - Tips to Improve Your Tennis Performance.
In his first season with the Blazers, the team recorded its first win over a ranked opponent in seven years when they defeated No. 67 Northwestern State. Later that year, the Blazers defeated UTEP in the first round of the conference tournament, which was the first time in nine years that they won a match at the conference tournament.
In his second season, the Blazers returned the same squad, but avenged 3 losses from the previous year with wins over ULM, UTSA, and Southern Miss. They also played one of the toughest schedules maybe in their history with matches against 10 opponents that were ranked at some point in the season.
Tjia is married to the former Jenna Blythe and they reside near downtown Birmingham with their dogs, Kimo and Sabe.