FAU athletics celebrated its 49 spring graduates at a reception for family and friends on Tuesday, May 2
Neuner collects straight-set singles victory at the No. 2 position
Freshman Andrei Morin-Kougoucheff picked up first collegiate victory
Gonzalez was team captain of a national championship team
Owls host two nationally ranked and another regionally ranked opponent
Stokes has built a program based on consistent improvement with high quality student athletes in his five seasons as head coach of the men's tennis program. The Owls have received season ending regional rankings by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) after posting winning records within the state and region.
He came to FAU with the philosophy, methodology, intent, and vision to build a meaningful and significant championship program in the state, region, and nation. This mindset is called "The Owl Way". The foundation is based on four foundational concepts in leadership development, discipline, accountability, and enthusiasm. Each concept has three primary sub-concepts that provide the framework for every Owl to develop and excel emotionally, mentally, and physically. To summarize "The Owl Way" is this: self knowledge, organize and prioritize relationships, nurture awareness about self, the world, and the universe, and finally be passionate about life, training, and competing.
Stokes led FAU to a finals appearance in the first season and two semifinal appearances of the Sun Belt Conference tournament in the last two seasons. The Owls have posted winning records overall and won double-digit dual matches each season as the spring schedule continues to grow more challenging.
Stokes has coached eight Sun Belt All-Conference players, including Marc Abdelnour who received national rankings in singles and doubles by the ITA during his standout career. Abdelnour earned all-conference accolades in singles on three occasions and was honored in doubles with partners Eddie Majcher in 2009 and Ervin Garibovic in 2011. A freshman Owl rounded out the all-conference performers in 2010 in singles competition. Abdelnour is the program's all-time leader for career singles and total victories. Stokes was instrumental in him representing Syria during 2011 Davis Cup competition.
He also was instrumental in the development of Taylor Albrecht earning all-Sun Belt honors in singles and doubles with partner Will Neuner following the 2012 season. The duo ended the season ranked 10th in the ITA Southeast region in doubles. Meanwhile, Albrecht was ranked 16th in the ITA Southeast region in 2012 after posting the fourth-highest winning percentage for a single season. Albrecht begins the 2012-13 season preseason ranked 105 in singles and earned an automatic berth to the All-American Championships in singles and doubles for the fall of 2012.
Stokes guided Abdelnour to being named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week six times during his career, including three occasions during his 2011 senior season. Garibovic earned the FAU athletic department's Player of the Week honors following the Owls' victory over USF in 2011.
2010-11 was another year of improvement for the program as Abdelnour was named the FAU Male Student-Athlete of the Year and earned a regional ranking with his doubles partner Ervin Garibovic.
Academics and sportsmanship have also been at the foundation for building a successful program for Stokes. In 2010, a member of the team earned ESPN the Magazine First Team Academic All-District honors and was named to the Commissioner's List for the Sun Belt conference. In 2010 one of the Owls also earned the athletic department's Sportsmanship Award for the year. Also in the classroom, Daniel Vardag was recognized on the Sun Belt's academic honor roll for the 2010-11 season along with other teammates Marc Abdelnour, Ervin Garibovic and Derek Madon. In total, 25 student-athletes have been named to the university's honor roll and 14 have been named to the Sun Belt conference honor roll. The program also earned FAU outstanding team academic performance award for the spring 2011 semester.
Stokes started his college coaching career in January 2005 at Division II University of North Alabama. As the assistant for the men's and women's teams he assisted in recruiting, player development, and strength and conditioning.
In 2005-2006 he joined the Division I ranks at Wofford College as the assistant for the men's and women's teams. During his tenure, the men's team set a school record for wins in a season, and two men's players earned All-Southern Conference honors.
Stokes then moved to the sunshine state to become the assistant for the men's team at UCF. While with the Knights, he continued to assist in recruiting, practice design and implementation, and player development. The teams earned double digits wins and winning seasons each year. In 2007 the team made the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament for the first time in program history. The same season the team spent eight weeks nationally ranked. In 2008, the program was honored with a top-10 national ranking for mid-major programs by www.tennisrecruiting.net.
Before coaching in the collegiate ranks, Stokes worked as an independent tennis coach in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in junior development. He also was an associate head coach at ACE Tennis Academy and an associate tennis pro at Northside Athletic Club. Stokes began his coaching career in the high school ranks, as an assistant girl's tennis coach at Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
The 1994 University of Toledo graduate was a two-year letter-winner for the Rockets. He was named to the Dean's List three times and to the President's List, and earned Mid-American Academic Honorable Mention honors.
Brandon is happily married to Alisha Stokes and they raise a healthy and happy son, Wyatt Jackson Stokes.