Daily File Photo; Jaak Jensen
Chuck Merzbacher, the former women’s tennis coach for the Gophers, accepted a job as the head coach of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga men’s tennis program.
Merzbacher was introduced as Chattanooga’s new coach on Thursday. He had announced his retirement on April 11 and resigned as the head coach of the Gophers women’s tennis team at the end of the 2017 season. He coached the Gophers, his alma mater, for five seasons before leaving.
“I was planning on retiring, that was the goal,” Merzbacher said. “I took a look at Chattanooga; it’s a great tennis town. I have some really good friends there that are tennis people.”
Merzbacher said Chattanooga first reached out to him around July 4.
“My lifestyle [with Chattanooga] will be a lot different than with a Power Five job [at Minnesota],” Merzbacher said. “I think I was completely worn out on the way the Power Five jobs operate.”
Minnesota has since hired Catrina Thompson as the team’s new head coach, becoming the first woman to lead the women’s tennis team since Ellie Peden from 1975-83. Thompson arrived at Minnesota after coaching at Yale, Boise State and Notre Dame. She spent her collegiate playing career with the Fighting Irish.
“Thompson has the freedom to do whatever she wants to do,” Merzbacher said. “I just want to help her however I can … She was really a great player and she’s a young coach.”
Merzbacher’s daughter, Caitlyn Merzbacher, is currently a junior on the Gophers women’s tennis team.