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Now in his 23rd year as the head coach of the men's and women's tennis programs, Quinnipiac Athletics Hall of Famer Mike Quitko has transformed the Bobcats from a Division II powerhouse into one of the top mid-major Division I programs in the nation.
Entering the 2012-13 season, the man they call “Q” remains just 15 wins shy of 500 for his career. In addition to his win-total, Quitko also has an unprecedented 10 Northeast Conference Championships to his name, and nearly picked up #11 last season. The women’s team trekked through the NEC Tournament; but fell two points shy of their seventh crown.
Previously though, Quitko led the Bobcats to six Northeast Conference women's tournament titles from 2004-11. The men's team also won three straight NEC championships from 2004-06. The women's team faced UCLA (2011), Stanford University (2004, 2006), the University of Georgia (2005), UCLA (2007) and Miami (Fla.) (2008). The men's team has played Stanford (2010, 2006), Harvard University (2004) and the University of Illinois (2005).
Quitko has recorded a combined mark of 485-277 (.636) in his 21 seasons with the Bobcats. The men's side has posted a 222-148 (.600) record, while the women's squad has gone 263-129 (.671).
On April 8, 2008, Quitko earned his 400th career victory as the Quinnipiac women defeated Fairfield. Quitko ranks second among active New England Division I tennis coaches in career victories and is first all-time among Quinnipiac coaches, moving ahead of legendary men's basketball coach Burt Kahn (459 career victories). For his accomplishments, Quitko was inducted into the Quinnipiac Athletics Hall of Fame on February 28, 2009.
Named the Northeast-10 Women's Tennis Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993 and 1996, Quitko was also named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2011. Along with NE-10 Men's Coach of the Year Awards in 1993, 1997 and 1998, and NEC Men's Coach of the Year Awards in 2004, 2005 and 2010, Quitko's total is 14 conference coach of the year awards.
By virtue of winning both the Northeast Conference men's and women's tournaments on April 24, 2004, Quitko took another step up the Division I ladder as the Bobcats secured NCAA Division I tournament berths for the first time in school history.
In 2005, Quitko guided the Bobcats to a repeat. On April 24, 2005, the women's team defeated Long Island and the men's team downed Mt. St. Mary's to make it back-to-back titles and NCAA appearances. The programs combined for a 26-14 record in 2005.
For his efforts, Quitko was named 2005 NEC Coach of the Year in both men's and women's tennis. It was the second straight year that he had earned the honor from the league.
The Bobcats made it a three-peat in 2006 as the men defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-0, and the women slid past Long Island, 4-3, April 23, 2006, in the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship.
Following the 2006 season, 13 players (seven men and six women) earned All-Northeast Conference honors.
The women's team earned a fourth straight conference title on April 21, 2007. The Bobcats were trailing, 3-2, to Long Island in the finals with both Mary Wilson (No. 2) and Amanda Petruzzi (No. 4) behind in the remaining two matches. Petruzzi trailed, 6-1, in the third-set tie-breaker, and faced five consecutive championship points. She proceeded to win seven straight points to claim the tie-breaker and even the score. Wilson, who was down, 4-2, in the third set, closed out four straight games to grant the championship to Quinnipiac.
The Quinnipiac women defeated Long Island, 4-2, in 2008 to earn a fifth consecutive championship. Wilson was named NEC Player of the Year as a sophomore and freshman Adrienne Markison earned NEC Rookie of the Year honors. The Bobcats made it a clean sweep of the NEC awards as Quitko took his sixth NEC Coach of the Year award. Five Bobcats were named all-conference. In addition, Quitko led the men's team to a runner-up finish.
The top-seeded Quinnipiac women returned to the top and collected their sixth NEC title in 2011. With an exciting 4-3 win over #2 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, the Bobcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a first round match-up against UCLA.
Once again, Quitko remains in elite company on the national level. Quitko joined Winthrop University's Cid Carvalho as the only coaches to lead both their school's men's and women's teams to the NCAA Tournament in three straight years, 2004-06.
A respected member of the tennis community, Quitko completed a three-year term as East Regional chair for the Division I women's tennis committee in 2007-08, his fifth year on the committee.
In 2003-04, the men's and women's programs combined to post a 30-11 record (.732). The women's squad finished the regular season with a 13-4 mark and rolled through the NEC tournament with shutout wins over Robert Morris, Mt. St. Mary's and Long Island.
Meanwhile, the men's squad closed with an 11-5 mark, sandwiching shutout wins over St. Francis, N.Y. and Sacred Heart around a 4-3 thriller in the NEC semifinals against Fairleigh Dickinson.
For his efforts, Quitko was named 2004 NEC Coach of the Year in both men's and women's tennis.
He was also named the 2004 USA Tennis New England College Coach of the Year. Earlier in 2004, Quitko claimed his 300th career coaching victory in a 7-0 triumph over Holy Cross on February 21.
In 2003, Quitko guided the women's team to its fourth straight Northeast Conference tournament final, where it once again lost to Maryland-Baltimore County. The men's tennis team also reached the Northeast Conference tournament semifinals, where it lost to eventual champ UMBC.
In 2002-03, the Bobcats placed a combined seven individuals on the one of the two All-Northeast Conference teams.
Under Quitko's tutelage, the doubles team of Stephanie Petrycki/Cristin Arahovites earned the school's first-ever ITA Northeast Regional ranking in the 2001-02 season, checking in at No. 15. In 2001-02, Quitko had a combined 10 players from the two teams earn All-Northeast Conference honors.
In 2000-01, the women's team posted a 14-3 record and made the NEC championship match for the second straight year.
In 1999-2000, the women's team recorded a school record 20-4 mark and advanced to the NEC championship match. As a result, Quitko earned NEC "Coach of the Year accolades. In 1998-99, the Bobcats finished with an overall record of 15-7 and a third place finish in the Northeast Conference.
On the men's side, Quinnipiac was 9-8 in 2000-2001 and finished with a respectable 11-8-1 record during the 1999-2000 season.
Quitko led the Bobcats to a 10-2 record and a second-place finish in the NE-10 Championships in 1992. It was then that the Bobcats began a 42 dual-match undefeated streak in conference play that spanned four seasons from 1993-1996.
The squad established a then-school record of 12 victories in 1993 and won four consecutive NE-10 Championship crowns from 1993 through 1996.
Quitko captured national recognition following the 1994-95 season as he was honored as the ITA/Wilson Division II Women's Tennis National Coach of the Year. The award followed yet another 12-victory season and the team's first-ever NCAA Division II regional Tournament appearance.
The 1995 season was highlighted by a top-20 national ranking, the NE-10 regular season and tournament titles, and the squad's second NCAA Division II East regional appearance.
Quitko has enjoyed similar success as the leader of the men's tennis program. He led the team to two straight Northeast-10 regular season and tournament titles in their final two seasons in Division II. For his efforts, Quitko was voted the NE-10 Men's Coach of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1998.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Quitko is a 1973 graduate of Southern Connecticut, earning a B.A. in communications. He is the current U.S.P.T.A./New England president and certified tester, as well as a National Board of Directors member. He is also on staff at the North Haven Health & Racquet Club. Summers, Quitko is the Head Tennis Professional at the Ridgetop Club in North Haven.
Quitko resides in North Haven with his wife, Betsy, a graduate from Quinnipiac with a degree in nursing in 1977. The couple has a daughter, Megan, who also graduated from Quinnipiac, in 2000.