NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In collaboration with TurnkeyZRG, Rachel Kahan, who coached Middlebury College to two NCAA Tournament semifinal appearances and was a successful student-athlete at Duke, has been named the Swensen-McMahon Head Coach of Women’s Tennis at Yale. The announcement was made by Victoria M. “Vicky” Chun, Yale’s Thomas A. Beckett Director of Athletics.
“I am thrilled to announce Rachel Kahan as the Swensen-McMahon Head Coach of Women’s Tennis,” Chun said. “Rachel has winning in her DNA. Her success as a head coach and student-athlete at two high level academic and athletic institutions will serve her well at Yale. What impressed me most was her genuine care and concern for her student-athletes which is so fitting with the coaching chair being named after David Swensen and Meghan McMahon.”
Kahan enjoyed remarkable success in four seasons at Middlebury, including one that was cut short by the pandemic. The Panthers posted a 40-10 overall record, won six NCAA Tournament matches and advanced to two NESCAC Championship matches during her tenure.
“I would like to thank Vicky Chun for appointing me the next Swensen-McMahon Head Coach of Women’s Tennis at Yale,” Kahan said. “It is an honor and privilege to work at an institution with such rich history and tradition. I will do my very best to continue the success the women’s tennis program has experienced. I look forward to competing for Ivy League championships and postseason success.”
Kahan was named the head women’s tennis coach at Middlebury in the spring of 2018. She had served in an interim role since July of 2017 and was an assistant coach with the program for the 2016-17 season.
During the 2017-18 season, Kahan guided the Panthers to the NCAA semifinals, finishing with a then program single-season tying 17 wins (17-4). Middlebury also advanced to the NESCAC Championship match. In 2018-19, Middlebury returned to the NESCAC Championship match and made its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA semifinals with a program single-season record 19 wins (19-3). The Panthers also had two doubles pairs play their way into the NCAA semifinals.
In her one season as an assistant coach, Middlebury finished with a 17-5 record and reached the NCAA semifinals.
Kahan is a 2015 graduate of Duke University where she enjoyed an incredibly successful tennis career, earning the second-most Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) singles wins (36) of any student-athlete in Duke history. In her first season, she posted a record of 31-1 and a perfect 11-0 mark in conference play on her way to being named the ACC Rookie of the Year. She had a singles record of 26-5 as a sophomore and helped the Blue Devils win the ACC championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In her senior campaign, she had a 20-6 singles mark and was the National Indoor Champion after missing her junior year due to injury. As a Blue Devil, she accumulated an overall singles record of 77-12 and a 44-22 mark in doubles. Kahan was ranked as high as 77th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) at the conclusion of her rookie year.
Originally from Unionville, Connecticut, Kahan is familiar with Yale’s tennis facility. She participated in the Pilot Pen Professional Tournament at Yale as an amateur in 2009. Her other success on the junior circuit included winning the New England United States Open Qualifier Tournament in 2010, posting wins against International Tennis Federation (ITF) juniors ranked No. 1, No. 10 and No. 40 in the world and being the top-ranked player in New England from 2005-07.
In addition to earning her undergraduate degree as a sociology major at Duke, Kahan attended Duke’s Graduate School in the Master’s and Liberal Studies program in 2014-15 and earned a Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from American Public University in 2020.
What Other’s Say About Rachel Kahan
“What an absolutely tremendous hire for both the women’s tennis program and the entire Yale community. The passion, drive and commitment that Rachel brings to everything she does will be infectious for all of those around her. She has demonstrated through her playing career at Duke and her coaching career at Middlebury that her love and knowledge of the game are second to none. The commitment level to improve herself and those around her which she brings to the courts on a daily basis will pay incredible dividends for all current and future Bulldog tennis players. The team will quickly learn that they have a coach that is extremely knowledgeable, dedicated, and focused to the task at hand. They will undoubtably leave Yale as not only better tennis players but better people as well. I could not be happier for Rachel and for the Yale family.” – Jamie Ashworth, Women’s Tennis Coach, Duke University
“Yale hired a great coach and terrific person in Rachel Kahan. She is a competitive, hard-working and passionate coach. Many of the top players looking to attend college will want to consider Yale because Rachel will provide one of the best student-athlete experiences in the country.” – Chris Garner, Men’s Tennis Coach, US Naval Academy
“It has been such a joy to get to see Rachel Kahan grow from being one of the top competitors in the country as a student-athlete at Duke into one of the hardest working, best relationship building, and overall great young coaches in the country. She is truly a rising star nationally, and I know she will do great things with Yale Women’s Tennis.” – Mike Morgan, Women’s Tennis Coach, Pomona-Pitzer
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