D.J. Gurule is entering his 13th year as the head coach of the Gonzaga University women’s tennis program.
Gurule has overseen the profound growth of the women’s tennis program. The Zags have won double-digit matches in six seasons under Gurule, including a school-best 16 in 2016 and four of the five highest win totals in the last 20 years.
His sixth career 10-win season came in 2016, the best in program history so far. In addition to the 16 dual wins, Gonzaga also won a record six conference matches that year, finishing second in the West Coast Conference and earning a historic berth to the WCC Championships’ semifinal round. The year also included an 11-match win streak – another program record – and single-season individual wins highs in both singles (25; Domonique Garley) and doubles play (25; Samantha Polayes and Sophie Whittle).
The Gonzaga women’s tennis program saw its first national ranking with Gurule at the helm when it was voted No. 72 by the ITA in February 2014. A year later, the Zags returned to the rankings at the beginning of conference play and picked up their first win as a ranked squad at Loyola Marymount.
During this rise, Gurule has coached 31 All-West Coast Conference honorees, including the Zags’ first-ever First Team All-WCC Singles winner (Katie Edwards, 2015), Doubles pair (Polayes and Whittle, 2016), and Second Team All-WCC honoree (Agalya Kokurina, 2008). He’s also seen numerous program records equaled or bested, including the most singles and doubles wins by an individual player during a season. Additionally, Gurule has coached many of the players on the Gonzaga career wins lists.
In addition to their skills on the court, Gurule’s teams have also found tremendous success in the classroom. The Zags have earned numerous ITA All-Academic honors as a team, and 32 student-athletes have been recognized individually. The West Coast Conference has also recognized 19 of Gurule’s student-athletes with WCC All-Academic honors.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Gurule has spent time working in tennis clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest. He’s served as co-director of the Spokane Racquet Club and also spent time at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Oregon, and Broken Top in Bend, Oregon. He got his start in coaching at Bend’s Mountain View High School.
Gurule played collegiate tennis at Pacific Lutheran University, earning four letters for the Lutes. He and his wife, Katie, reside in Spokane with their daughter, Eliana.