UNCW tennis alum Vaughn returns as assistant


Taylor Vaughn, left, watches on as freshman Marshall Waren plays in UNCW’s Seahawk Invitational over the weekend.

Calvin Shomaker | Assistant Copy Editor | @cshomaker12

A familiar face has returned to the UNC Wilmington men’s tennis program this season. After spending the past two years at Ole Miss, former UNCW assistant coach and player Taylor Vaughn has returned to the Port City to serve his alma mater as a volunteer assistant.

Vaughn played two seasons in his home state at the University of Louisiana-Monroe before transferring to UNCW for his junior and senior seasons. In his senior year Vaughn was selected to receive the prestigious Golden Seahawk Scholar Athlete Award.

Vaughn was on the coaching staff at UNCW during one of the best spans in program history. In his six years here as an assistant he saw the Seahawks win four conference titles and make five NCAA tournament appearances from 2009-2014.

Though Vaughn loved his time at Ole Miss, Wilmington is home for him and his wife.

“I have so many good memories here,” Vaughn said. “I love the beach. I like to surf. I really take advantage of the coast. This school fits who I am. I’m just glad to be back. It feels really nice and is refreshing.”

The Seahawks have appeared in four tournaments heading into last weekend’s Seahawk Invitational, their last outing of the fall.

In three of the four tournaments competed in at least one Seahawk reached the finals of his draw.

New Hanover High School product Marshall Waren, a freshman, has shown he can play at the collegiate level in his first tournaments of the fall by winning his first two matches and reaching the doubles final at the Wolfpack Invitational with junior Andres Torres.

Vaughn coached Waren in his youth tennis academy for junior players from the time he was 10 years old, so the two share a close bond.

“He knows how to get the best out of me,” said Waren. “Days I am slacking off he will tell me immediately and I will be able to change it. He has been a great coach and an even better mentor for life along with tennis.”

After losing Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year Santtu Leskinen and All-CAA selection Christiaan Van der Burgh to graduation, head coach Mait DuBois and staff expect Torres, Josh Hublitz and sophomore Agustin Savarino to lead the newcomers.

“They are court rats,” Vaughn said of this year’s group. “They love to play tennis. All of them do extra individuals pretty much every day and they’re putting in the time and the effort. We have got a lot of good players, a lot of good attitudes and a lot of guys who love tennis.”

Though it’s lost experience, expectations are still high for a gritty and historically-competitive program headed by Coach DuBois, who is in his tenth year at UNCW.

“I think we can be special here,” said Vaughn. “That’s why I am back. I think we can be really good.”

The spring season will begin on Jan. 21 when the ‘Hawks host instate rival Appalachian State University on the UNCW courts at noon.