National

Andy Brandi, former USTA Player Development coach, impacted generations of players

Haley Fuller | February 09, 2024


Andy Brandi, former USTA Player Development coach, passed away this week at the age of 72. Brandi was a legendary coach at the professional and collegiate levels for several decades, leaving an indelible mark on the tennis world.

 

Brandi played NCAA Division I college tennis at Trinity University in San Antonio, then joined the pro circuit under the training of Harry Hopman for a bit before turning his attention to coaching. Throughout his career, he worked with WTA Top 10 players Kathy Rinaldi, Maria Kirilenko, Elena Dementieva and 12-time Grand Slam doubles winner Lisa Raymond.

He served as the head women’s tennis coach at the University of Florida from 1985 to 2001, leading the Gators to three NCAA titles, six National Team Indoor Championships, 14 SEC regular season titles and six undefeated regular seasons. Additionally, Brandi coached four NCAA women’s singles champions and four NCAA doubles champions during his time in Gainesville.

 

His teams posted a 460-43 overall record, and his overall winning percentage of 91.5 percent ranks as the highest for any coach in the history of women’s collegiate tennis with at least five years of experience.

 

In 2006, Brandi was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame due to his team’s success under his leadership, and the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012. He also received Coach of the Year honors from the United States Professional Tennis Registry twice and was voted the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year twice during his tenure. In 2018, Brandi was awarded with a Team USA Legendary Coaching Award from the USTA.

Andi Brandi honored with a Team USA Legendary Coaching Award in 2018. Photo by Dave Kenas/USTA.

Brandi began coaching with USTA Player Development in August 2010 after time spent at IMG at the Evert Tennis Academy and the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute, and he made a significant impact on those he worked with.

 

“Andy will be remembered by his many accomplishments and contributions in coaching at the junior, collegiate and professional level. He will also be remembered by many of us, his former colleagues, as a great coach, friend, colleague and mentor,” said Martin Blackman, the general manager of player development for the USTA.

 

“Andy's legacy will live on in the lives of the players that he coached, the parents he counseled and the love that he showed his friends."

 

In 2017, he started coaching the Louisiana State University men’s tennis team alongside his son, Chris Brandi. The pair brought the team to new heights, leading the Tigers to 10 overall wins in their first season, then to 16 in the second. Under his guidance, the LSU team also reached No. 20 in the rankings, and had the No. 14 ranked recruiting class—the highest in program history.

Kent Kinnear and Andy Brandi. Photo by Dave Kenas/USTA.

Rinaldi, now the USTA Player Development's head of women's tennis, trained under Brandi during her time on tour, and worked with him on the Player Development team. She said his impact helped her become who she is today.

 

"Andy was my coach since I was 13 years old. He was more than a coach to me—he was a second father. He and I shared many incredible memories together. Not only did he help me reach the highest level of our sport, he is the reason why I became a coach. He impacted my life in such a positive way on and off the court." Rinaldi said.

 

Kent Kinnear, the head of men’s tennis at the USTA, added that Brandi was a great ambassador for tennis who was incredibly dedicated to the sport.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are trying to move forward through these past two days since Andy's passing. He cared so deeply for people, and we all were blessed to have Andy use tennis as his vehicle to impact others. His wisdom and knowledge of the game was so deep, with his coaching philosophy built on a foundation of fundamentals, but with his eye always on where the modern game was going.

 

“He was so well-respected and loved by coaches, players, and parents across the country and the tennis world. He is and will continue to be incredibly missed.”

Skip Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Articles

  • Meet Ogidi Obi. He is a member of the USTA NorCal Junior Team Tennis (JTT) Committee, USTA NorCal Coaches Commission Committee and a JTT coach at Alpine Hills Tennis & Swimming Club, which recently won USTA NorCa's JTT Program of the Year. Ogidi reflects on his journey and impact on the next generation of players. Read More
  • This month is Black History Month. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, we have 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including one of the first HBCUs in the United States, the University of District of Columbia in Washington DC. Nine of them offer collegiate tennis programs. Read More
  • Ethel Parker was honored with the Mel Bergman Award for her work in tennis. But her work has inspired track champions and NFL athletes, too! Read More