Dr. Rick Harley
Dr. Rick Harley is in his 10th season as the head tennis coach at Nebraska Wesleyan University. In his nine years at the helm, the men and women have 11 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) titles, have a combined league mark of 113-18, finished lower than second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) standings just three times and have been regulars at the NAIA National Tournament.
In 2012, Harley was selected to the NWU Athletic Hall of Fame as the Spirit of the Plainsmen women. In the Fall of 2010, Harley was inducted into the Nebraska Tennis Association Hall of Fame for his work as the NWU head tennis coach and his individual success as a tennis player.
Six times during his career, Harley has been named the GPAC Coach-of-the-Year.
Last year, Harley led the NWU women to their second straight undefeated GPAC regular season, a GPAC regular season title, GPAC Tournament title and another trip to the NAIA National Tournament. Aside from the success on the court, two of his players were named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
The 2011 season had Harley guiding both the Prairie Wolves men and women to GPAC regular season titles and perfect records in conference play. The women finished 15-7 overall, 8-0 in GPAC and also won the GPAC Postseason Tournament to earn a spot at the 2011 NAIA National Championship, their fourth appearance in the past five years. The NWU men were 11-11 overall and also unbeaten at 7-0 in GPAC action. He was GPAC Coach of the Year for both the women and men.
In 2010, Harley directed the NWU women to a GPAC runner-up finish in the regular season as the Prairie Wolves were 7-1 in GPAC action and 12-11 overall. He helped the men to a 4-3 mark in conference play and a 8-13 overall mark despite playing without a senior on the roster.
During the 2009 season, he guided both the men's and women's teams to the NAIA National Championships. The men were co-GPAC regular season champions, then both teams won the GPAC tournament to advance to the NAIA Tournament. It was the third straight trip to nationals for the women, and the first trip for the men since 2006.
In the 2008 season, he helped the women’s team share the GPAC regular season title and advance to their second straight NAIA National Championship appearance. The men also lost just one conference match and finished as GPAC runner-up.
In 2007, Harley led the Prairie Wolves to GPAC Championships posting perfect undefeated records for both the men and the women. The NWU men earned the No. 1 seed at the NAIA Region III Tournament but lost in the championship to the University of Sioux Falls. Coach Harley was named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Men’s Tennis Coach-of-the-Year. The NWU women won the NAIA Region III Tournament and qualified for the NAIA National Championships for the first time since 1996.
In 2006 Harley guided the Prairie Wolves to GPAC Tournament titles for both men and women, as well as a pair of regular season championships (the men were co-champions with the University of Sioux Falls). The NWU men advanced to the NAIA Championships after winning the NAIA Region III Tournament, while the women were Region III Runners-up. In addition, Harley was selected as the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Coach of the Year for men was named the Co-Coach of the Year for women.
Harley, who served as an assistant on the tennis staff in 1996 and 1997, took over the top job in 2003 after a successful run as head coach of the NWU women’s golf team. Under his direction, the Prairie Wolves won four conference titles (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000) in seven seasons. Nebraska Wesleyan had won only two league crowns in women’s golf prior to Harley’s arrival.
A three-year letter winner in tennis at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1962-64, Harley attended medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and served as a family practitioner in Lincoln for 21 years before retiring in 1992.
Harley has played in adult tennis tournaments since 1970 and has consistently appeared in state and regional rankings. He has also played in senior events in Palm Springs and Phoenix for several years. In 1992, Harley was a member of the 4.0 Senior USTA National Championship team.
Harley participated in the 2004 World International Tennis Federation (ITF) senior grass court championships in Philadelphia, and he currently plays on a variety of USTA tennis teams during the summer. Harley resides in Lincoln with his wife, Pat.