Rex Ecarma is in his 14th season as head coach of the University of Louisville. Under Coach Ecarma’s guidance, the Cardinals are coming off of their second-consecutive third place finish in Conference USA, and their third 20-win season in four years .
Ecarma was named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2000 after guiding the Cardinals to their first ever league championship and their second NCAA tournament appearance in three years.
In 1990, he became one of the youngest head coaches in Division I tennis in the country at the age of 23. Under Ecarma’s tutelage, the school has attained its highest national ranking at No. 30 in the ITA computer rankings and No. 18 in Bob Larsen’s College Tennis Daily.
Six of his former players went on to play professionally. He coached former touring professionals Andy Schrecker, Russell Schutzman and Michael Mather. He also coached former NCAA All-Americans Scott Campbell and Mather. Twenty-eight of his former players have gone on to become tennis coaches.
In addition to his U of L accomplishments, his summer junior city club team has won the city championship in three of the past six years.
Ecarma, the 2000 Kentucky Tennis Association Coach of the Year, was also given the honor in 1998 after he led the Cardinals to an 18-8 season and the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance. Ecarma has been on the NCAA Tournament Regional Selections Committee three times. In 2003 he was selected as the Chairman of the Conference USA coaches, a position which he also held in 1997.
Ecarma serves as the director of the national award winning Bass-Rudd Tennis Center, for which he designed the operations manual and business plan. Before the center was built, he was instrumental in sharing his vision of a top facility with boosters and the university. He also aided the development of the tennis center by raising money with the help of boosters, U of L officials and the Louisville community. The $3.75 million facility was constructed in his fifth season at U of L.
Ecarma’s successes are not limited to coaching. In November, 2000, he was given the Distinguished Filipino-American Award by the Filipino Medicine Association of Kentucky and Indiana. A sought-after motivational speaker, he was named among the Who’s Who for Executive Managers in 1999. In 1998, he was named to Business First’s “40 Under 40” list, as one of the top young leaders in the Louisville area. That same year, he was a member of the International Who’s Who. Ecarma also earned the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997-98; the Community Service Award, 1996-98 and Mentor Appreciation Award in 1998. The Doss High School graduate was inducted in the All-Time Outstanding Graduates of Jefferson County Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame with other Louisville athletes such as Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Phil Simms, New York Knicks star Allan Houston, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Chris Redman, Portland Trailblazers’ Derek Anderson and former WNBA star Kym Hampton.
Before embarking on his successful coaching career, Ecarma was a standout player for U of L. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother Reggie, who was a letterwinner for the Cards from 1980-82. Coach Ecarma is currently ranked second in the school’s career doubles wins with 92. When he was a junior, Ecarma compiled 58 singles and doubles wins, which places him second in all-time combined wins.
His senior year, the Cards qualified for the National Indoor Qualifying Team Championships for the top eight teams in the Southeast. In 1987, they recorded a team win against defending SEC Champion and 25th ranked Auburn, marking U of L’s first win over a top 25 team. He was runner-up in his position in the Metro Conference Individual Tournament in 1985 and 1987 and placed third in 1986.
A Louisville native, Ecarma
earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Louisville,
where he was the 1987 recipient of the coveted Ed Kallay Award which honors
the top student-athlete in the University. He earned a Master’s
Degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Regent University in 1995. In
1996, he married Melissa Guess. They have a three-year-old daughter, Alexis
Faith and a one-year old son, Donovan Xavier.