CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Traci Green, The Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head Coach for Harvard Women's Tennis, has announced the hiring of Omar El Kheshen as the program's next assistant coach. El Kheshen arrives in Cambridge after a successful stint as associate head men's and women's tennis coach at Southwest Baptist University.
"I am very excited to add Omar to our coaching staff," Green said. "His passion for the game and developing students on and off the court shines through. He will bring a lot of experience and enthusiasm to our program as we continue to build a culture of excellence."
While in Bolivar, Missouri, El Kheshen helped both programs reach postseason play in 2018-19, with the men advancing to the Elite 8, and the women earning a berth in the NCAA regional championship.
The Bearcat men finished the campaign with a 19-3 record and along the way, won the conference and regional tournaments. Southwest Baptist was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country, boasted a team GPA of 3.72 and had one NCAA All-American, who enjoyed a No. 11 national ranking. At the end of the season, El Kheshen was named the 2019 Division II Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year for the Central Region.
The Bearcat women, meanwhile, went 13-8 in 2018-19, and earned a spot in the NCAA field after defeating the fifth-ranked team in the nation en route to the conference finals. El Kheshen tutored a pair of All-Americans, ranked No. 3 and No. 20, respectfully, and helped Southwest Baptist rise to as high as No. 16 in the nation. As a team, the Bearcats produced a team GPA of 3.92.
Prior to being promoted to associate head coach, El Kheshen served as Southwest Baptist's assistant head men's and women's tennis coach. Both Bearcat squads reached NCAA postseason play with the men, led by three All-Americans, reaching the Round of 16 and the women, with their All-American duo, advancing to the regional championship.
The Southwest Baptist men won the 2017-18 conference and regional tournaments en route to a 19-3 record. El Kheshen guided the team to a No. 9 national ranking, which helped him earn the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year Award for the Central Region. Southwest Baptist also collected the ITA Central Region Community Service Award and had a CoSIDA Google Cloud First-Team Academic All-American.
On the women's side, El Kheshen helped the '17-18 edition of the Bearcats achieve success as they compiled a 14-4 record. They, too, had a player earn CoSIDA Google Cloud First-Team Academic All-America honors and enjoyed a No. 10 national record.
Before starting his coaching career at Southwest Baptist, El Kheshen was a standout as a player at the school, earning All-America honors in 2014, after being ranked eighth in the nation in doubles. In the two seasons El Kheshen spent at SBU, he led the Bearcats to the NCAA tournament twice, with the team advancing to the Elite Eight during his senior campaign.
In addition to his playing and coaching history at Southwest Baptist, El Kheshen spent time working as an assistant tennis coach at Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California, from 2015-17, where he coached and prepared players for tennis at the collegiate level.
El Kheshen, who was an Egyptian National Team member from 2002-10 and ranked in the top 240 in the world (U18) by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Southwest Baptist in 2014, and received his master's degree in athletic administration from the school in 2016.
El Kheshen holds two tennis certifications (Level C, Level B) from the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (GPTCA) and has his fitness certification from the ITF.