Ashleigh Antal has been named the next head coach of App State women’s tennis, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Monday.
“We are excited to welcome Ashleigh to the App Family,” Gillin said. “Her championship experience as both a player and a coach made her the right choice to be the next leader of our women’s tennis program. Ashleigh has an impressive vision for how to be successful on the court and in the classroom, while being a great partner in the community.”
Antal, who was an All-American and national champion as a student-athlete at Vanderbilt, will take over an App State program that went 6-4 in the shortened 2019-20 season after compiling a 15-6 record and winning its first regular-season Sun Belt Championship with a 9-1 league mark in 2018-19.
A North Carolina native, Antal arrives in the High Country after spending two successful seasons as an assistant coach at Big West powerhouse Long Beach State, where she helped the Beach boast a 25-10 mark, highlighted by LBSU’s 2019 Big West Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. It was the first time LBSU won its conference title since 2015.
“First of all, I’d like to thank Doug Gillin, John Welch, Makini Thompson and the entire search committee for all their hard work,” Antal said. “I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity to come back to North Carolina and to continue cultivating App State’s tradition of excellence on the court and in the classroom. I’m looking forward to getting to work, and I’m looking forward to building a program to new heights while engaging our community in Boone. I intend to lead this program with passion, drive and a growth mindset to ensure that we are a force in the Sun Belt.”
In 2019 during the Beach’s 17-6 campaign, she coached five All-Big West selections and Freshman of the Year, Wiktoria Rutkowska.
Antal showed her ability to recruit top talent, as LBSU boasted the eighth-best recruiting class in 2020 among mid-major programs according to Tennis Recruiting Network. The 2020 signing class was first in the conference and third in Southern California among mid-majors.
Before Long Beach State, Antal put forth a stellar playing career at national powerhouse Vanderbilt. She played a pivotal role in the Commodores’ first national championship in 2015, as well as the 2015 SEC title. She was a four-year starter and a two-year captain while achieving a career-high ranking of No. 9 in doubles and No. 101 in singles. She reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA doubles tournament and was named an NCAA Doubles All-American her senior season.
She finished with 204 total singles and doubles wins with 19 nationally ranked wins. She won at least 20 singles and doubles contests every season, including a career-high 35 doubles and 28 singles wins her senior year. Her milestone 100th career singles win was key as she posted the first Commodores point in their 4-2 win over UCLA in the national championship match.
Antal graduated from Vanderbilt with a double major in psychology and English with a concentration in creative writing. She earned four SEC Academic Honor Roll awards and was a 2015 ITA National Academic Award winner.
In addition to her studies, Antal co-authored a Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published study on the treatment of mood and cognitive symptoms in late-life depression.
Outside the classroom, Antal co-founded the Vanderbilt Undergrad Raising Autism Awareness program during her freshman year.
A native of Wilmington, N.C., Antal was a five-star high school recruit and nationally ranked No. 30 in her graduating class.
What They’re Saying About Antal
“I applaud Appalachian State for hiring Ashleigh Antal. She was one of the most impactful tennis players in Vanderbilt history. Just as she led her team as a player to both the SEC and NCAA titles, Ashleigh will roll up her sleeves and get to working and teaching her players how to win the right way; with class, grace and also a gritty toughness.”
Geoff McDonald (Former Vanderbilt Head Coach)
“I’m so excited and proud of Ashleigh for becoming the head coach at App State. The program is getting one of the exciting young coaches in the country. She is more than ready to have her own program and take App State to the next level”
Jon Ingham (Director of Tennis in Wilmington, N.C.)