Andy Brandi, who led UF women's tennis to three national titles, dies at 72

women's tennis

Andy Brandi, who guided the Florida women's tennis team to three national titles during his 17-year tenure as coach, died last week in Boca Raton after an illness at 72.

Brandi took over as UF women's tennis coach in 1984 and held the position until 2001, leading the Florida Gators to national championships in 1992, 1996 and 1998. UF also won SEC titles in 14 of his 17 seasons as head coach. His .914 winning percentage (460-43) remains the highest for a UF coach in school history.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Brandi attended Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas, where he played for the school's men's tennis team. After a brief pro tennis career, Brandi turned to coaching, where he helped develop rising WTA talents Kathy Rinaldi and Carling Bassett. He also served as executive director of the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton before being hired by UF.

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In addition to leading UF to three national titles, Brandi also coached three UF players to individual NCAA titles. The most notable was Lisa Raymond, who won back-to-back national titles in 1992 and 1993 before going on to a successful, 17-year UF career.

"He taught me about the work ethic and discipline it would take to be a champion," Raymond told UF's athletic website. "For other players — a lot of other players — how he did it did not work, but Andy saw things in me that I didn't see in myself and everything for me took off. Once you earned Andy's respect, you were golden with him."