Davidson Kozlowski finished his third campaign directing the Bulldogs’ fortunes after being named head men’s tennis coach at Drake on Sept. 6, 2012.
Kozlowski came to Drake after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He guided the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season as Drake earned its second NCAA Tournament victory in program history with a 4-2 win over No. 32 Louisville. The Bulldogs finished the 2014-15 season ranked 32nd nationally with a 25-6 record, including a 13-4 mark against ranked teams, after falling to No. 4 Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Drake won its fifth straight MVC regular season championship and second MVC tournament title. The Bulldogs took home six MVC postseason honors as senior Alen Salibasic led the group by being named MVC Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Salibasic competed in the NCAA Singles Championship for the second straight season, becoming the third Bulldog in school history to play in two tournaments. Salibasic also received the NCAA Elite 89 Award for second time and was the recipient of the MVC Elite 18 Award three times.
Kozlowski led the Bulldogs to a 22-6 record during the 2013-14 campaign en route to Drake’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance on the strength of claiming the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles.
The Bulldogs, who finished the season ranked 45th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), registered nine wins over ranked opponents, including besting No. 28 Harvard (4-1), No. 32 Memphis (4-3), No. 44 Nebraska (4-0), No. 55 Iowa (7-0), No. 56 Princeton (4-2), No. 62 St. John’s (4-2), No. 67 New Mexico (4-1), No. 70 Wisconsin (4-0) and No. 71 Georgia State (4-0).
Drake equaled a school record with five student-athletes garnering first-team All-MVC accolades with junior Alen Salibasic headlining the group being selected as the 2013 MVC Player of the Year. The honor marked the eighth consecutive year in which a Drake player has taken home the league’s top accolade since the award’s inception in 2007.
In doubles, the Bulldogs equaled a school record for the eighth time as a pair of Drake tandems was recognized with first-team selections. Mullis and Salibasic won top-league honors at the No. 2 position, while Frost and Patel were tabbed at the No. 3 spot. Pulling in MVC All-Select team accolades was sophomore Ben Lott.
Chosen by his peers as the MVC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row was Kozlowski.
Three Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA Championship as Salibasic was in the 64-player field for the singles draw, while Goodman and Patel took part in the 32-team doubles bracket. Salibasic opened the tournament with a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-4 triumph over 23rd-ranked Austin Smith of Georgia before falling in the second round against 47th-rated Roberto Cid of South Florida. Goodman and Patel lost in their opening round match to the eventual national champions from Tennessee.
Off the court, Salibasic was selected as a second-team honoree to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I At-Large Team, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He was the first Drake men’s tennis student-athlete to collect national honors as selected by CoSIDA. He joined Enrique Garcilazo, who was chosen by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for recognition during the 1997-98 campaign, as the only academic All-America recipients in program history.
Salibasic also hauled in the NCAA Elite 89 award for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships. For the second year in a row he was named the recipient of the MVC Elite 18 award.
Garnering first-team MVC Scholar-Athlete accolades were Goodman, Mullis and Salibasic.
During the fall campaign, Kozlowski helped Goodman and Patel become what is believed to be the first Drake doubles squad to capture a regional title in program history. By virtue of their 8-5 triumph past Minnesota’s Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg, the duo earned a berth into the United States Tennis Association/ITA National Indoor Championship at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., where Goodman and Patel advanced to the quarterfinal round.
Drake had two players reach the semifinal round of the ITA Central Regional in singles for the second consecutive year as Frost and Lott advanced to the semifinals.
For their efforts, Goodman and Patel achieved a No. 8 national ranking, the highest in program history, in the 2014 ITA preseason poll. Frost checked in at No. 123 nationally in singles. As a team, Drake entered the 2014 spring campaign earning its highest-ever preseason rating at No. 30.
The 2012-13 campaign for the Bulldogs was one for the record books as Kozlowski helped Drake garner its third consecutive and seventh overall NCAA Tournament berth en route to establishing a school record for victories with a 25-4 ledger.
Drake entered the 2013 spring season with its then highest preseason ranking in program history by the ITA, coming in at No. 45.
The Bulldogs opened their campaign with a tough 4-3 setback versus No. 33 Florida State at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Malibu, Calif., before rolling off 17 consecutive victories. During its winning streak, Drake registered triumphs on the road over No. 30 VCU (4-3), No. 66 Minnesota (4-3), No. 14 Washington (4-3) and No. 44 Memphis (4-1).
The Bulldogs achieved their highest ranking in school history on Feb. 26, 2012, as Drake was rated No. 27. The ranking was broken on March 5, 2013, after the Bulldogs downed No. 14 Washington, marking the highest-ranked opponent Drake had ever defeated.
The Bulldogs closed their campaign with a 6-1 mark, including a home win over No. 69 Wisconsin, en route to capturing their third straight regular season Missouri Valley Conference crown.
His peers for his coaching efforts honored Kozlowski as the 2013 MVC Coach of the Year. Senior James McKie garnered Player of the Year accolades for Drake for the seventh consecutive campaign. Joining McKie on the first team at the Nos. 2 and 3 singles positions, respectively, were Salibasic and Goodman, while Jean Erasmus was tabbed to the MVC All-Select squad.
Despite being upset in the finals of the MVC Championship, the Bulldogs captured their first-ever at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Drake took full advantage of its opportunity registering the Bulldogs’ first-ever NCAA Tournament triumph, a 4-1 decision past No. 34 TCU in Los Angeles, Calif., before top-seeded UCLA posted a 4-0 victory over Drake in the second round.
Off the court, Goodman and Salibasic earned first-team All-MVC Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete honors, while Erasmus was chosen as an honorable mention selection. Salibasic garnered the MVC Elite 18 award presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point-average competing at the finals site of each of the league's 18 team championships. He later went on to be named a first-team honoree to the Capital One Academic All-America All-District VI At-Large team, as chosen by CoSIDA.
Senior Anis Ghorbel became only the sixth Drake men’s tennis player to be selected to participate in the NCAA Championship and first since 2008 with his inclusion as an automatic qualifier in the 64-player field. He dropped a 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 decision versus 11th-ranked Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine in the opening round at the NCAA Championship in Champaign, Ill.
Individually during the fall campaign, Ghorbel and Goodman advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Central Regional, while Salibasic qualified for the quarterfinal round. In doubles, the duo of Ghorbel and McKie reached the championship match of the ITA Central Regional and along the way dealt the No. 1 doubles team in the country a loss.
During his tenure in Birmingham, Ala., Kozlowski spearheaded recruiting, assisted with team travel and budget management and coordinated fundraising and community outreach.
The Blazers concluded the 2011 season with a 17-9 overall record, their highest-victory total since posting 19 wins in 2000. UAB rose to as high as No. 59 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking before concluding the campaign at No. 75.
"We were really impressed with Davidson throughout the search process as his coaching and recruiting philosophies are ones that promise to be a great fit for the Drake Men's Tennis program,” Drake associate athletic director Brian Brown commented. "Davidson has had much success in his coaching and professional career and I am confident that we have the right coach to lead our program to the next level. We are excited about the direction of our program under his leadership."
Kozlowski came to UAB after spending three years as the Director of Tennis at Birchtree Swim and Racquet Club, a position he continued to hold until his appointment at Drake.
A native of Sarasota, Fla., Kozlowski played collegiate tennis at Auburn (1994-96) before transferring to Florida State for his final two seasons (1997-99). While competing for the Seminoles, Kozlowski was a regular in the FSU lineup both of his years in Tallahassee and played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
Following graduation from Florida State, Kozlowski played on the Futures and Challenger Circuit from 1999-2002.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Florida State in 1999.
Kozlowski and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: Alex, Anya and Chase.