Staff
Head Women's Coach
DJ Gurule

D.J. Gurule is entering his 14th year as the head coach of the Gonzaga University women’s tennis program.

Gurule has overseen the profound growth of GU women’s tennis. The Zags have won double-digit matches in seven seasons under Gurule, including a school-best 17 in 2017 and five of the six highest win totals in the last 20 years.

The last two seasons have been the program’s best ever. The Bulldogs finished in second place during the 2016 and 2017 West Coast Conference regular season standings, a feat that had never been done before. In 2017, the Zags reached the final match of the WCC Championships for the first time ever, one year after reaching the program’s first semifinal. Also in 2016 and 2017, program records were broken in team wins, team winning percentage, individual singles wins, doubles pairs wins, and more.

After the 17-4 season in 2017, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 5 in the Northwest Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the highest ranking in program history. In 2014, Gurule led the team to a national ITA ranking for the first time ever, and the Zags returned to the national poll a year later.

In addition to the strong WCC showing, the 2015-16 campaign 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).

During this rise, Gurule has coached 35 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). Additionally, Gurule has coached most of the players on the Gonzaga career wins lists.

Success hasn’t just come on the court; Gurule’s teams have also achieved highly 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 21 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 two daughters.

Head Men's Coach
Peter MacDonald

Peter MacDonald begins his 13th season at the helm of the Gonzaga University men’s tennis team in 2017-18.

Under MacDonald, the Bulldogs have steadily improved on and off the court. MacDonald has coached two All-West Coast Conference Singles selections (Alvaro Nazal, 2013 and 2015), one All-WCC Second Team Singles selection (Roman Dojak, 2010), seven All-WCC Singles Honorable Mentions and six All-WCC Doubles Honorable Mentions. Academically, the program has seen four CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 selections (Roman Dojak in 2010 and Levin Guillermo from 2011-13) and 16 All-WCC Academic honorees.

MacDonald has led the Zags to numerous program firsts and top seasons, the most recent coming in 2014-15. Most notably, the Zags picked up their first WCC Championships opening round victory in school history, dispatching Santa Clara 4-0 to begin the 2015 tournament. The win advanced them to the tournament’s second round, also a program first. Additionally, Gonzaga posted three conference victories during the regular season for the first time, and the Zags tied for sixth in the regular season standings, their highest finish under MacDonald and highest in a 10-team West Coast Conference.

In all, the Bulldogs have finished seventh or better five times in the tough WCC with MacDonald at the helm. They’ve recorded four seasons with double-digit victories under MacDonald, and they’ve twice won 11 dual matches (2007 and 2015).

Under MacDonald, the Zags have seen numerous other records fall as well. Alvaro Nazal broke the program’s single-season and career singles victories with 27 and 76, respectively, and Nazal became the first Bulldog to play at the ITA All-American Championships in during the 2013-14 season. In October of 2014, MacDonald coached Nazal to the semifinals of the ITA Northwest Regionals, the deepest run throughout Gonzaga tennis history in that tournament.

During his time in Spokane, MacDonald also served as Co-Director of the Spokane Racquet Club. The Spokane Racquet Club was the home site of men’s and women’s home matches before The Stevens Center opened in 2013-14.

Before Gonzaga, MacDonald was a private tennis coach in Portland, Oregon. During that time, he developed a high performance junior tennis program while organizing and coordinating clinics for the top players in the Pacific Northwest. As a private instructor, MacDonald helped coach several players reach national open tournaments in both singles and doubles play. MacDonald also served as the assistant women's tennis coach at the University of Portland from 1996-98, helping with the technical and strategic development of the players.

MacDonald is a 1996 graduate of the University of Portland, earning his bachelors of science degree in business management.

Assistant Women's Tennis Coach
Natalie Pluskota

Natalie Pluskota is entering her second year as assistant coach of the Gonzaga women’s tennis team.

Her first season was the most successful in Gonzaga history. Pluskota helped lead the Zags to a program-best 17-4 record in 2017, reaching the West Coast Conference Championships final for the first time in school history. During the regular season, the Zags finished second in the conference, and they ended the year with a fifth-place ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Northwest Regional rankings, another program high.

Pluskota helped four Zag individuals or doubles teams earned All-WCC honors, including a pair of First Team – Singles players in Sophie Whittle and Nevada Apollo. Both finished the year in the ITA’s Northwest Singles ranking as well.

Pluskota came to Spokane after a four-year pro career and two years of teaching experience. Most recently, she served as a tennis professional at Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club in Bridgehampton, New York. There, she gave lessons to members and oversaw children's summer tennis camps. During the 2015 dual season, Pluskota served as a volunteer assistant coach at Oklahoma State for the 2015 dual season, helping lead the Cowgirls to a 23-6 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 16.

During her professional career, Pluskota saw particular success on the doubles court, reaching a No. 157 world ranking and claiming four pairs titles. Most recently, she won the $10,000 Evansville (Indiana) Tournament in 2014 while adding wins in Rock Hill, South Carolina; Phoenix; and Atlanta. In singles play, she was a finalist in a $25,000 tournament at Landisville, Pennsylvania, reaching a world ranking of 478.

In college at the University of Tennessee, Pluskota earned four All-American honors, being recognized for her doubles play in 2009, 2010, and 2012, and singles play in 2012. She reached three NCAA Doubles Tournament semifinals, reaching the championship match in 2010. Additionally, Pluskota earned three All-SEC First Team or Second Team awards along with Freshman All-SEC Team honors in 2009. She won four doubles titles in college, including the 2011 ITA Ohio Valley Regional and the 2010 ITA All-American Tournament.