Entering his 24th season with Barry University tennis, Dr. George Samuel has guided the men’s tennis team to postseason play nearly every year, achieving his ultimate goal twice by winning the 2013 and 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships.
Samuel owns a 426-122 record with the men's program, and has led the Buccaneers to 20 NCAA National Tournament appearances, advancing every year since 1994. His teams claimed back-to-back national runner-up finishes twice, in 2008 and 2009, and a decade earlier in 1998 and 1999.
In 2013, Samuel's team put together the best season in school history. No. 1 Barry went 29-0, beating No. 2 Armstrong Atlantic, 5-4, in the NCAA National Championship match. The Bucs won the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles matches, both in exciting 9-8 tiebreakers to complete a sweep after pairs play. After Romain Costamagna won his No. 4 singles match in straight sets to give Barry a 4-1 lead, the momentum shifted. Armstrong won three straight singles matches, and led 4-1 in the third set at No. 5 singles. But Barry's Leo Vivas responded, rallying to win the set, 7-5, to clinch the national title. It was the second time during the season the Bucs beat the Pirates, 5-4. It also marked the first time in school history Barry went undefeated in a season.
In 2012, the Buccaneers finished 22-6, winning the Sunshine State Conference tournament. Barry went 12-5 against nationally-ranked teams. The Bucs' season ended in the NCAA South Regional, where they fell 5-2 to arch-rival Lynn. Barry knocked off defending national champion Valdosta State twice during the season, the latter victory coming in the opening round of the regional. Barry finished the year ranked No. 4 in the country. Marco Mokrzycki, Leo Vivas and Fabian Groetsch each received All-American honors.
In 2011, Barry went 22-8, falling to Valdosta State, 5-2, in the national title match. The Bucs finished the season ranked No. 5 in the country. It marked the fourth straight year Barry advanced to the national title match. In 2010, the Bucs won the national championship following a 25-4 season. Though the Bucs suffered regular-season losses to No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic, No. 6 Ouachita Baptist and No. 3 Lynn, the team stormed through the SSC tournament and the South Regional en route to a showdown with Valdosta State in the national championship, where despite falling behind 4-2, the team won four of the six singles matches to capture the program’s first title.
The Bucs avenged their early-season losses to Lynn in the SSC tournament, Ouachita Baptist in the regional final and Armstrong Atlantic in the NCAA quarterfinals. Three Buccaneers earned ITA All-America accolades as Mokrzycki and Ales Svigelj took singles honors. Max Wimmer and Svigelj were doubles recipients.
In 2009, Samuel coached Barry to a 27-3 overall record, a 5-1 SSC record, a 12-1 regional record and an undefeated 13-0 home mark. The Buccaneers held the nation’s top ranking for the entire month of March and into April. Samuel’s team plowed through the NCAA Tournament defeating No. 28 BYU-Hawaii, No. 7 Georgia College and No. 12 Concordia. Barry, for the second straight year, faced Armstrong Atlantic in the national championship match and lost 5-4.
In 2008, Samuel’s Buccaneers advanced to the finals of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history, facing powerhouse Armstrong Atlantic. Barry lost the match 5-0 but took home the national runner-up trophy.
Barry made its 14th consecutive appearance at the NCAA South Regional Tournament in 2007 and advanced to the national tournament with a hard-earned 5-1 win over Rollins. After upsetting No. 2 Drury University in the round of 16, the Bucs were defeated, 5-2, by UC San Diego in the quarterfinals. Samuel led the squad to the NCAA South Regional Tournament in 2006, with the men advancing to the national semifinals. Thomas Hipp and teammate Patrick Rittenauer both earned ITA singles and doubles All-American honors.
In 2005, the men advanced to the national quarterfinals. The squad posted a 21-2 record, with a winning percentage of .913, as they captured their second consecutive and seventh overall SSC title. Three Buccaneers received ITA All-American honors. Sebastian Losavio and Hipp made the singles list, while Hipp joined with his partner Rittenauer in doubles, going undefeated on the season, earning the No. 1 ranking in the country.
In 2004, the men advanced to the first round of the NCAA Championship. Thomas Hipp garnered All-American honors in singles and joined up with doubles partner Gerold Wiring for All-American accolades. The men finished the season with a 21-6 overall record and a 4-1 performance in the SSC.
In 2003, the men’s team had a record-setting year with 23 wins, a school-best at the time. The team finished the year with only four losses and won their fourth SSC title, while also advancing to the NCAA nationals for the tenth time in school history. Samir M’Bioka and Thomas Hipp both earned First-Team All-SSC honors, while Hipp was dubbed the SSC Freshman of the Year and M’Bioka an ITA All-American.
In 2002, facing an injury-plagued season, the men’s team finished 11-10 overall, with M’Bioka and Losavio picking up First-Team All-SSC honors in singles and doubles. M’Bioka earned his first ITA All-American honor, while Losavio was named SSC Freshman of the Year.
In 2001, Samuel led the men to a 19-4 record and their eighth consecutive regional qualifier. However, the Bucs fell short of reaching their seventh consecutive appearance to the NCAA National Championship after falling to Francis Marion in the regional finals. In 2000, he led the squads to the NCAA National Championship for the seventh-consecutive season. The men made it to the first round of the nationals.
In addition to his work with the men’s program, Samuel led the women’s tennis program for 18 years, from 1991-2008, coaching them to national tournament appearances 16 times. His women's teams went 308-122 during that time.
Samuel also boasts academic excellence in his program. Thirty-five of Samuel’s women’s players and 28 of his men have earned scholar All-American awards. His teams have consistently ranked among the best at Barry in terms of cumulative GPA.
Samuel was honored by his peers as the NCAA South Region Men’s Coach of the Year for two straight seasons in 1998 and 1999 again in 2005, and three-straight times in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He also earned a prestigious “double” as he became only the second SSC tennis conference coach to be named both men’s and women’s Coach of the Year the same season in 1998 and again in 2005. He has won the SSC men’s award 12 times (1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012), the most of any tennis coach in the SSC.
A native of Miami, Samuel was ranked No. 10 in the state of Florida in the men’s open division during his storied playing career. He starred for Miami-Dade North Community College from 1981-83 and for East Tennessee State University from 1983-85.
Samuel is a graduate of Miami-Dade North, East Tennessee State and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. His owns a doctoral degree from SIU-Carbondale.