Jim Poling begins his 13th season at the helm of the Army men's tennis program. Poling, four times named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, boasts a 181-119 record at the Academy, and a 408-286 mark through 28 years of coaching. He became the program's all-time winningest coach on April 12.
In 12 years at the Academy, Poling has mentored five Patriot League Players of the Year (Arnie Albornoz - 2003, John Sabia - 2004, Carl Fisher - 2006), including two-time winner Asika Isoh (2012-13), and three Rookie of the Year honorees (Donald Van Velzer - 2009, Gary Kushnirovic - 2010, Sam Lampman - 2014). He has taken the Black Knights to the conference championship match in 11 of 12 seasons. Army has now appeared in the Patriot League championship match 19 times in the last 20 seasons.
The 2014 Black Knight squad reached the 20-win milestone for the first time since 2005 going 20-6 overall. Army earned the regular season Patriot League crown with a perfect 7-0 conference record and topped Navy, 4-3, in the star match. The Black Knights cruised through the conference tournament to find the Midshipmen waiting in the title game. Army beat Navy yet again, 4-1, giving Poling his fourth Patriot League Tournament title, as the team earned its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance. Despite falling to Virginia in the NCAAs, Poling collected his fourth Patriot League Coach of the Year award.
Army went 16-7 in 2013 for its second consecutive 16-win season - its highest back-to-back season win totals since 2004 (19) and 2005 (21). Included in those 16 victories was a 4-3 Star Match win over Navy in the first ever Army-Navy tennis doubleheader, as the Black Knight women also claimed a Gold Star. Army went 6-0 against Patriot League opponents to win the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Despite owning the top seed, Army's season was cut short by being upset by Navy, 4-3, once again in dramatic fashion.
In 2012, Army's bid for a second consecutive conference championship came up short, falling to top-seeded Navy in the title match. The Black Knights ended the year with a 16-13 mark, which included an 11-3 record on their home courts and a notable win against service academy rival Air Force.
Despite having a young team with only one senior on the roster, the Black Knights ended their four-year drought of a Patriot League title in 2011 by defeating Lehigh, 4-2, to win the crown and the conference's automatic NCAA Championship berth. Army prevailed in all eight contests against Patriot League opponents - six in the regular season and two in tournament play. Army's 4-3 win over Navy in the annual Star Match marked the first time since 2004-2005 the Black Knights won back-to-back Star Matches, topping the Mids in 2010 as well. Poling garnered Patriot League Coach of the Year accolades in 2011.
In the four seasons leading up to 2011's championship Army fell in the finals match to service academy rival Navy. In 2006, the Black Knights won the championship defeating American 4-2 in the finals. During the 2005 season, the Black, Gold and Gray registered an Academy-best 21-5 mark. In 2004, Army tallied a 19-8 dual match record, including a 5-1 mark in conference play. The Black Knights were 15-5 in 2003, Poling's first season at the helm.
Poling arrived at the Academy with 16 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, serving highly successful terms at Rollins (1993-2002), the University of Tulsa (1985-88), the University of South Alabama (1980-83) and Mississippi State University (1979-80).
The Winter Park, Fla., native continued a legacy of tennis excellence at Rollins, guiding the Tars to the NCAA Tournament during each of his nine years at the helm. After directing Rollins to a 25-3 record and a Division II national championship in 2001, Poling was named Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II National Coach of the Year in the spring of 2002. Poling led the defending national champion Tars to a 21-4 mark and a top four national ranking throughout the entire regular season. He also garnered Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season (and third time in nine years), and was named ITA South Region Coach of the Year for the second time in six years.
Poling led the Tars to a trio of top-three finishes in the NCAA Tournament during his first three years at Rollins. His Tars club posted a 21-7 dual-match record in 1996 and reached the finals of the NCAA's. For his efforts, he was named the ITA South Region Coach of the Year for the first time. Poling guided the Tars to a pair of third-place NCAA finishes the previous two seasons.
The veteran mentor continued to build on his list of impressive accomplishments at Rollins. In addition to leading the Tars to the Division II national title in 2001, Poling presided over the National Rolex Doubles Champions, four All-Americans, the No. 3 doubles team in the nation, the top-ranked player in the nation, the conference player of the year and a pair of Sunshine State Conference team championships during that time. In all, three of his teams captured Sunshine State Conference crowns during his tenure at Rollins as he authored an impressive 147-79 (.650) dual-match record.
A 1970 graduate of Clemson University, Poling lettered three times on the Tigers' tennis squad. He was selected the team's most valuable player as a junior and helped Clemson to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship the following year. He went on to earn a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of South Alabama in 1982. Following his graduation from Clemson, Poling served two years in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.
He began his collegiate coaching career with a one-year stint as men's head coach at Mississippi State, before moving to guide both the men's and women's tennis programs at South Alabama in 1980. Poling led the Jaguar men to three consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles and was twice named the league's coach of the year. During his third season at South Alabama, the Jaguars captured the National Independent Tournament and Poling was named the NIT Coach of the Year. He spent three years running both men's and women's tennis programs at Tulsa, earning Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honors in 1987, before moving on to Rollins in September of 1993.
Poling is married to Marianne Ingard Poling, a member of a national champion tennis team during her undergraduate days at Stanford University. He has three children - Matthew, Lilian and Karl.