Elkin aims to continue Dean’s success on and off court

The Bowling Green women’s tennis team now has a new coach after former coach Penny Dean retired from 24 years on the job. Olga Elkin was named to the position by Director of Athletics Chris Kingston this past Monday.

“Thanks to Penny, Nikki Chiricosta, her sister, and all the girls that are on the team now, we were able to attract a tremendously strong pool of coaches and to include a number of division one head coaches,” Kingston said. “In that strong group, Olga just stood out and rose to the top. Simply put, when you’re looking for head coaches to lead our young men and women you’re looking for somebody who is already doing what we want to do.”

Elkin’s coaching career has been on a steady uphill climb since she’s started. First an interim head coach at Kennesaw State, Elkin improved the schools program and developed that schools first ever nationally ranked student athlete. Following her two year stint at Kennesaw, Elkin saw success with her time as head coach at Murray State before being hired to BG.

“This is the next step for me moving from the Ohio Valley Conference to the MAC. I played at a bigger school so I’m used to a bigger school like this,” Elkin said. “This is actually the same exact situation as when I started at Murray State. The head coach there retired after 30 years so both schools have the same culture of rich history and I’m excited to keep it going here.”

In her last year at Murray, Elkin showed that she could provide a winning culture. She won the OVC regular-season and tournament titles, won the OVC coach of the year, and got her team to the NCAA Championships. Following her success, Elkin is determined to bring the same winning atmosphere to the Falcons program.

“At the end of the day it’s really the same plan [from Murray]. It’s a process and we will take it one step at a time but I’m looking for a MAC championship,” Elkin said.

Even though Elkin comes in after the departure of Falcon standout Nikki Chiricosta, the Athletic Department is confident in the group returning this upcoming season.

“What we have is a strong core returning and couple that with a championship coach and that excites us for year one right away,” Kingston said.

In addition to her success on the court, Elkin makes it a priority for her players to succeed in the classroom. Her team went from having the worst GPA at Murray in her first year to having the best the following year.

“We had one of the worst GPA’s my first year coaching and to me that’s unacceptable,” Elkin said. “Tennis is a team that usually has one of the higher GPA’s and to me it should always be the highest. They’re student athletes and above all they’re students first. We have to make sure that we build for their future as well and put them in the best possible situation.”

Elkin will come to Bowling Green looking for success in every way possible. She and her team will begin regular season play at the Miami Invitational in Oxford, Ohio on September 13.