JMU has named James Bryce as its next head women’s tennis coach, Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced today. Bryce takes over for Maria Malerba, who retired from coaching following the 2013-14 school year after 38 years at JMU.
“We are very excited to have James join our staff and take over the leadership of our women’s tennis program,” Bourne said. “He has a proven track record of being able to grow programs into national prominence and develop student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community. We are looking forward to great success and strides under James’ leadership.”
“It is a great honor to be selected as the next head women’s coach at JMU,” Bryce said. “I want to congratulate Maria Malerba on a fantastic career and wish her all the best in the future. JMU has a culture and tradition that is recognized on the national and international stage. The values and mission are student centered which align with my coaching philosophy and goals. I am honored and thankful to Mr. Bourne and Mr. Polglase for the opportunity to lead the JMU Women’s tennis team.”
Bryce has spent the last year as an assistant coach with the mississippi state women’s tennis program as an assistant coach. During that time, he helped coach Georgiana Patrasc to a No. 49 national singles ranking, a 23-9 overall mark and a berth in the 2014 NCAA Singles Championship.
Prior to his year at Mississippi State, Bryce was at Saint Leo University, where he served as the head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams from 2009-2013. He took over programs that were unranked when he arrived. In just his second season (2010-11), he had both the men and the women’s teams in NCAA Division II’s top 35 nationally. In 2011-12, the teams were 12th (men) and 13th (women) in the final rankings. In spring of 2013, both squads ended the year rated No. 8 nationally. This past year, with many of the players he recruited and coached, the team advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tennis National Semifinals.
He helped make history for the Lions’ tennis teams in 2011-12 as they accumulated 34 wins combined, of which the women’s team set a program-record of 18. Aside from those impressive records, Bryce was also named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s South Region Coach of the Year.
Before his time at Saint Leo, Bryce was assistant coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Columbus State University. During his two years coaching the Cougars, he helped lead both teams to NCAA postseason tournaments.
Prior to finding success at Columbus State, Bryce’s first collegiate coaching stint was at his alma mater, Samford University in the 2006-07 season. Before becoming a coach at Samford, he fulfilled his four-year role as a player on the men’s tennis team, where he was a member of the 2005 Ohio Valley Conference regular season champions as well as the program’s Most Improved Player during the 2002-03 season. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Samford in 2006 and master’s in public administration from Columbus State in 2009.
During his collegiate coaching career, Bryce has led nine teams to NCAA appearances, helped produce nine all All-Americans and multiple players who have achieved first-team, all-conference status. His players have produced excellent academic honors with multiple ITA Academic awards on both the team and individual levels.
Although Bryce possesses much experience as both coach and player in the U.S., he started his coaching career in his native home of Solihull, England, as a Development Tennis Coach for the Lloyd Leisure Club from 2000-05.