No matter what time of the day or what day of the week, it is a near guarantee that the light in Paul Kostin’s office will be on and he will be working the phones or hammering out emails.
His insatiable work ethic has thrust himself into the national coaching spotlight as one of just five Division I tennis coaches all-time to eclipse the 800-win plateau.
Now in his ninth season as the head coach of the women’s program, Kostin’s success shows no signs of stopping after guiding the Rams to yet another NCAA Tournament appearance and yet another top-25 ranking.
After overseeing the men’s program for 11 seasons, Kostin took on the double duty of being the head coach for the men’s and women’s teams in 2002.
His impact on the women’s squad was immediate as the Rams reeled off a 20-3 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first and only time in school history. VCU was ranked as high as ninth nationally during the 2002 campaign and ended the year listed 17th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I team ratings, the program’s best-ever finish at the completion of a season.
The 2003 campaign brought even greater success for the Rams, as VCU completed the regular-season with a perfect 20-0 record, then won three more matches, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Colonial Athletic Association power William & Mary, to capture the first CAA championship in program history. VCU ended the year with an astounding 24-1 overall mark and a #15 national ranking by the ITA.
In 2005, Kostin directed the Rams to a 17-7 mark that yielded a pair of All-Americans in Marianna Yuferova, who advanced to the NCAA Singles Tournament Quarterfinals, and Olga Borisova.
However, Kostin’s greatest work for the VCU women’s program came in 2006, when the Rams won their first 29 matches, setting a new school record, on the way to a NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16” berth and a No. 12 final national ranking. That season he directed the Black and Gold to its second CAA Championship in four seasons and also oversaw the individual success of 2006 All-American Tatsiana Uvarova, who reached the NCAA Singles Tournament quarterfinals. For his efforts, Kostin was selected as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) East Region Coach of the Year.
Prior to his arrival at VCU in 1990, Kostin served nine seasons as the men’s and women’s tennis head coach at his alma mater, Arkansas-Little Rock, where he led the women’s team to a string of dominance during the school’s affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Under his direction, the Trojan women won the 1984 and 1985 NAIA national championship tournament, which earned Kostin the organization’s National Coach of the Year award both seasons.
In 16 years as a women’s head coach, Kostin has amassed a 292-85 overall record, including an impressive 184-49 mark at VCU.
Kostin’s players have also gone on to a great deal of individual success under his guidance.