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.