Judging by his work ethic, attention to detail, recruiting efforts and increased seasonal win totals, guidance of the East Carolina men's tennis program continues to remain in the best possible hands.
A school-record 19-win season and a first-ever appearance in the national rankings three years ago now serves as an emphatic testament to Shawn Heinchon's leadership abilities.
Heinchon is in his eighth year guiding the Pirate Tennis fortunes to new heights after playing a pivotal role in leading the Wake Forest program to national respectability. While his official appointment to take sole ownership of the ECU men's squad came in July, 2005, make no mistake - the foundation-laying process began in earnest when the St. Petersburg, Florida native accepted an assistant's position at East Carolina year earlier after a notable and award-winning six-year tenure assistant coaching tenure with the Demon Deacons.
During his initial season at East Carolina, Heinchon made quite an impact piloting the men's squad as a top aide and was subsequently rewarded with his first career collegiate head coaching opportunity. In addition to leading the Pirates to four wins in their last seven matches and a double-digit win total, he also mentored senior Paulo Baumer to All-Conference USA honors - which marked only the second men's tennis player ever at East Carolina to earn league post-season accolades.
In the spring of 2006, Heinchon continued his diligent work changing the culture of Pirate Tennis with a young unit that posted one of its best win totals in the five previous years. He followed with a 10-win campaign a year later, the second-highest number of triumphs since 2002, despite lining up with five true freshmen.
The 2008 campaign featured an early optimistic glimpse at the future of the ECU men's tennis program as the Pirates notched their first winning dual match record since 2004 with a 13-12 ledger. Heinchon led a strong charge out of the gate which enabled East Carolina to rack up victories in 12 of its first 18 matches.
Yet, those accomplishments were pale in comparison to what was in store for 2009.
Despite featuring only one senior on their roster, the Pirates raced out to a 16-1 record and earned a pair of appearances in the national rankings as it cracked the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I Poll for the first time in program history last spring. When the sun finally set on the '09 campaign, Heinchon's team established a school record for single-season victories with a 19-5 mark, surpassing the previous standard of 16 that was set in 1957 and 2000.
From 1998 to 2004, during his stay at Wake Forest, Heinchon was an integral part of arguably the finest seasons in Demon Deacons' history. He helped the transformation of a WFU program which now consistently resides in the Top 25 rankings after a stretch of four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2001-2004).The Demon Deacons captured 79 dual match wins during his six-year stay in Winston-Salem, including three over Top 10 opponents. Additionally, he worked directly with 10 All-Atlantic Coast Conference players, two ACC Rookie-of-the-Year selections and six NCAA participants.
In addition to his daily coaching responsibilities at Wake Forest, which included recruiting, budget management, travel coordination, marketing and operations, Heinchon also served as tournament director for two prestigious events - the ACC Indoor Championships (1999-2004) and the USTA National 16 Zonal Championships (2000-2004).
For his efforts, he was named Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Assistant Coach-of-the-Year and was a finalist for the National ITA Assistant Coach-of-the-Year in 2002.
Prior to accepting the position at Wake Forest, Heinchon traveled extensively as a coach on the women's professional tour. He also coached several top-ranked American women's players who went on to compete at the NCAA Division I level, two of which played on Georgia's 2000 National Championship squad.
Heinchon spent four years as the Head Professional Instructor at Bardmoor Country Club (1996-98) and Bardmoor Stearns Academy (1994-1996), both located in Largo, Fla., where he oversaw private individual and group instruction for adults and junior players. He also planned and conducted camps for highly-ranked players as well as coached players in local and national tournaments.
As a player, Heinchon was a former top five junior player in the state of Florida, competing in numerous national and international tournaments. He also earned all-state and all-district honors in singles and doubles at Thom Howard (Fla.) High School as a senior in 1989.
A 1993 graduate of Southwestern Louisiana, Heinchon was a four-year starter in singles and doubles and helped his team to the 1992 Sunbelt Conference championship. After graduation, Heinchon competed on the ATP satellite circuit from 1993-96, primarily traveling and competing in Europe.
Heinchon married the former Meghan Molnar of Binghamton, N.Y., during the spring of 2008.