Avi Kigel enters his fifth year as Barry’s head coach.
Kigel, who once served as an assistant coach for Barry, took over in 2008 for Dr. George Samuel, who served as head coach for the men’s and women’s programs for 17 years. Kigel has a 93-14 overall coaching record.
In 2012, Kigel led the Bucs to a 26-1 mark, going unbeaten in the regular season. The Bucs advanced to the NCAA semifinals before falling to eventual champ Armstrong Atlantic, 5-2.
In only his third season at the helm of Barry women’s tennis program, Kigel put the Buccaneers in the national spotlight in 2011 with a near-perfect 26-1 record and the school’s first NCAA women’s tennis national championship. The team’s only loss on the season came in conference play at the hands of No. 3 Lynn University, whom Barry would ultimately defeat in the Sunshine State Conference final and NCAA Championship. In the national championship, the Bucs trailed 2-1 after doubles play, but were dominant in singles to secure the 5-3 win over the Knights.
For his efforts, Kigel was named Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight season, and was selected as the 2011 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year. Barbi Pocza was named the ITA Division II Player of the Year.
In 2009-10, Kigel continued moving the women in the right direction with a 24-4 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in the Sunshine State Conference. The Bucs breezed through the SSC tournament and the Division II South Regional Tournament, qualifying for the national tournament for the 17th time. The Buccaneers peaked at No. 3 in the country as three players earned ITA All-American honors. Barbra Pocza and Angie Werschel claimed singles honors, while Yulia Kashelkina joined Pocza in earning doubles accolades. In addition, Kigel was named South Region Coach of the Year and SSC Coach of the Year.
In his first year, Kigel’s team boasted a No. 21 ranking at the beginning of the 2009 season. The team posted a 17-8 record, and lost in the regional finals.
Kigel came to Barry after four years as an assistant coach at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. While at Davidson, Kigel helped lead the Wildcats to a 73-32 mark, including a 33-7 record in the Southern Conference. With the help of Kigel, the Wildcats reached the Southern Conference tournament finals in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Prior to Davidson, Kigel spent four seasons with the Bucs as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s programs. During that first stint with the Buccaneeers as an assistant, Barry strung together a 90-22 record and national semifinal appearances in three of the four years. The Bucs set a record in 2003 for wins in a season (27). In 2005, the Bucs were 23-3. In 2002, the Bucs won the SSC title and finished third at the NCAA Division II National Tournament. In 2003, they reached the national finals for the first time in program history.
Kigel was ranked 15th as a singles player in NCAA Division II, playing for Norfolk State University. As a freshman, Kigel was named Freshman of the Year in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. He helped NSU win the conference titles in 1995 and 1996, and was named Most Valuable Player both years. After his sophomore year, NSU moved to NCAA Division I and joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. During the Spartans’ first two years of MEAC competition, Kigel helped lead them to the semifinals of the conference tournament. As a junior, Kigel amassed a 41-10 record, largely over Division I opponents.
Kigel added to his collegiate success, playing in United States Tennis Association tournaments after graduation. In 2003, Kigel won the USTA Florida Section Men’s 30 Singles Tournament Championship, defeating his opponent, 6-1, 6-3.
Kigel has been a member of the USTA since 2002. In addition to his USTA affiliation, Kigel has been a member of the United States Professional Tennis Registry since 2006.
Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, he grew up playing tennis since age four. Kigel was ranked as high as sixth in Israel as a junior, and was a member of the Israeli Junior National Team.
Kigel received a bachelor of science degree in 1999 from NSU in health and fitness and a master’s degree in exercise science from Barry in 2004.