Tennis community mourns loss of Ken Flach

March 13, 2018

Ken Flach, who served as Vanderbilt's head men's tennis coach from 1997-2005, died at age 54 on Monday after a sudden illness.

"Ken Flach was a great player and a great coach, but most importantly he was a great person," said Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director, David Williams II. "He will always be a member of the Commodore family and remembered as the overall champion that he was."

Flach was a true trailblazer for the Vanderbilt tennis program, guiding the Commodores to their first-ever NCAA tournament berth in 1999. Flach led Vanderbilt to a statement season in 2003, claiming the SEC tournament championship and securing Vanderbilt's second-ever NCAA tournament championship final appearance in any sport.

For his efforts, Flach was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and ITA Regional Coach of the Year in 2003, a program first.

Remembered as one of the greatest U.S. doubles players in the sport, Flach was an Olympic doubles champion (Seoul, 1998), winning two Wimbledons and two U.S. Opens alongside Rovert Seguso and earning a No. 1 world ranking. Flach won French Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles, as well, paired with Kathy Jordan in 1986.

"Here at Vanderbilt, Ken's players loved him," said Vanderbilt women's tennis coach Geoff Macdonald, who coached alongside Flach during his Commodore tenure. "Ken's passing is a huge loss for tennis. When I got the word last week that he was this ill, I was stunned that something like this could happen so quickly. In 2003, his men's team came a game or two short of winning what would have been Vanderbilt's first national title in any sport.



"Ken was one of those people that everything he touched became successful. That era of players he coached was a group of really special guys. The guy won championships, and once he knew his '03 team could make a run in the tournament he knew how to handle that moment. Some people are scared of that moment, and he wasn't at all. Ken had a championship mindset."

Proud Sponsors of Commodore Athletics