Ki Kroll enters his fourth season as the head men’s tennis coach for Northern Arizona University. Before coming to NAU, Kroll served as the head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi from 2011-13, where he produced an impressive three-year stint, helping a program recover from NCAA violations reach a national ranking, a 15-win season and one of the best recruiting classes among mid-major schools landing the top players from the UK and Portugal.
His success has undoubtedly carried over into his short time with the Lumberjacks as he led the team to a 13-9 record in his first season, the most wins since 2010. Kroll has accumulated 37 victories overall, 22 wins in the Big Sky, two appearances in the Big Sky Championship and 12 All-Big Sky selections during his tenure at Northern Arizona. The expectations remain high in the classroom as well, with Kroll garnering six Big Sky All-Academic selections, 15 Golden Eagle Scholar Athletes and one ITA All-Academic Team selection since the start of his tenure.
Most recently in the 2016 spring campaign, Kroll’s squad finished with yet another winning record of 13-12 overall including an 8-3 clip in the Big Sky. Freshman Tim Handel earned All-Big Sky First Team nods while his fellow classmate, Lucas Taylor, landed on the honorable mention team. This same season, Handel was also a Big Sky All-Academic selection alongside Felix Schumann. Adi Zilberstein also reeled in another academic honor for the ‘Jacks as he was named to the 2016 ITA All-Academic team.
Before Kroll’s hire, Northern Arizona only managed to win six matches and NAU looked for a new voice to lead the tennis program in a different direction. The team made a complete turnaround under Kroll’s direction. In 2015, Lumberjack tennis reached the Big Sky Championship after pulling off two upsets, beating no. 1 Weber State and no. 3 Montana to get there. Not to mention the victory over the no. 67 ranked program in the country, Nevada-Reno, which was NAU tennis’ first win over a ranked opponent since 2002 and only the second time in program history.
In 2014, Kroll and his squad were a force to be reckoned with in the Big Sky. They finished third in the conference despite their eighth place preseason poll predictions. The Lumberjacks rattled off streaks of four and six wins with some memorable victories over Montana State, Grand Canyon and the 2013 Big Sky Champions Sacramento State. After NAU's exceptional play, Kroll had four players named All-Big Sky Honorable Mention in Jordan Gobatie, Kester Black, Alex Locci and Fabio Tomasetti.
Prior to Southern Mississippi, Kroll served in dual roles as the Head Men's Tennis Coach and the Assistant Athletic Director/Business Manager at Vassar College, where he led the Brewers to three consecutive NCAA Division III Tournaments from 2005-10. He was a three-time Liberty League Coach of the Year during his five seasons. Over the span of his coaching career, Kroll coached four All-Americans, the 2010 and 2011 ITA Northeast Singles champion, the 2008 ITA Northeast Doubles champions, 18 All-Academic selections and one Capital One Academic All-American.
Coach Kroll received national acclaim for his involvement as the Director of Tennis at the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas, Nev. Most notably, he is credited with developing a strong inner city tennis program for Andre Agassi into one of the most successful programs of its type in the country. A number of his former students have been ranked in the top-five nationally in the junior tennis, earning opportunities to represent the United States in international play. Several players went on to play Division I tennis as well as professionally.
When asked about his appointment as head coach, Kroll said, "I’m very happy to now be representing NAU, and am very thankful to our Vice-President/Athletic Director, Lisa Campos who has placed her confidence in me. This is a wonderful opportunity, one that I take very seriously. I am here to move the NAU men’s tennis program into a new direction, helping to not only motivate our players, but also improve their understanding of how to best play their game. Tennis has always been my passion, and I’m looking forward to taking this team to the next level.”
Kroll played collegiately at Penn State and received his bachelor's degree in History from Eastern New Mexico University.