FORT SMITH, Ark. – UAFS director of athletics Dr. Dustin Smith has announced that Ben Anderson has been named as head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams.

Anderson served as interim head coach this past spring and previously was a volunteer assistant coach for four seasons.

"Coach Anderson has served us admirably as the interim head coach during a season that wasn’t the most easy to navigate, nor was it the most ideal situation," Smith said. "He provided leadership and stability to our program at a time when we needed it."

Anderson is a 1977 graduate of Ozark (Ark.) High School, where he played No. 1 singles in tennis. He went on to play collegiate tennis for four seasons at Arkansas Tech, where he played No. 1 singles.

He graduated from Arkansas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

After deciding to enter the ministry, Anderson attended seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where he graduated with a master’s degree in divinity in 1985. He later earned a second master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Arkansas in 1993.

Anderson has been a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1985 and has taught philosophy at UAFS since 1997. He and his wife, Laura Beth, have two children, Tyler and Andrew.

"The interview process was rather long, intense and, at times, extremely daunting. As daunting as the process was, Ben handled the teams extremely well," Smith said. "I feel confident that Ben can lead our men’s and women’s tennis teams into what I anticipate will be a very bright future."

The past spring, the Lady Lions were ranked No. 50 in the nation and finished 12-7 overall and 5-1 in the Heartland Conference. They were runner-up in the Heartland Conference Tournament for the first time since becoming an active NCAA Division II member three seasons ago.

Three Lady Lions earned All-Heartland Conference honors, including Abby White who also was Freshman of the Year.

The Lions finished 6-12 overall and 3-3 in the conference. They qualified for the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed and lost to No. 2 seed St. Mary’s in the first round.

"Our women’s tennis team finished second in the conference, a feat we have never accomplished as a Division II school, and we had three all-conference selections on the women’s team," Smith said.