Chris Elwood is returning as the men’s tennis coach at Westmont College.

Elwood, who had two stints as the program’s coach (1993-97 and 2001-09) will return for his 15th year at the helm. He’ll be guiding team the Warriors in their first season in NCAA Division 2.

The school officially transitioned from the NAIA to NCAA Division 2 on Thursday.

“We are thrilled to announce Chris as our next men’s tennis coach,” said Athletic Director Robert Ruiz on Friday. “In a competitive pool of candidates, Chris stood out as someone with great experience, a strong vision for the program, and a compelling plan to build for the future.

“He has a deep understanding and appreciation for our mission in athletics and I am confident that our student-athletes will benefit from his impact as their leader. I trust that Chris will bring a well-rounded approach coupled with decades of experience. I look forward to welcoming Chris and his family back into the Westmont community.”

Westmont Executive Director of Athletics Dave Odell added, “As I’ve gotten to know Coach Elwood more over the last decade, I have been impressed with his thoughtfulness and ability to communicate. It is easy to see his commitment to our mission and values in how he lives his life.

“He will be a wonderful mentor to our athletes and an excellent resource for the rest of our coaching staff.”

During his two tenures as head coach, Elwood compiled a program record 140 wins.

“It is with great joy that I return as the men’s tennis coach,” said Elwood. “I feel like I am returning to a home I’ve never left. I am so grateful to the Westmont community, and the Westmont Tennis community. That group includes Mark Basham, who has done an exceptional job over the last 14 years to carry that torch. 

“I am very excited to build upon what Mark and the rest of the community have done over the last 14 years.”

Elwood played tennis at Westmont from 1988-92. As a graduate in 1992, he received the prestigious Dean’s Award which is given to Westmont’s most outstanding scholar-athlete.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both English and Philosophy. Months later, he became the head coach of the men’s tennis program.

“I was captain of the team my senior year and then coached the team the very next season. That was an interesting transition, as I was the head coach of players who I’d played alongside,” he said.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.