Mark Ellingson returns for his third season as the Saint Michael's women's tennis head coach in 2018-19 after being hired in the spring of 2016.
Saint Michael's fielded a nine-woman squad that counted only one student-athlete with more than one season of college experience in the fall of 2017. Two of the squad's four regionally-ranked Northeast-10 Conference opponents were among a difficult season-ending six-match run after the Purple Knights had reached .500 thanks to an early-season 4-2 stretch.
The Purple Knights approached .500 for the first time in two seasons during the fall of 2016, standing 6-4 late in the season before losing four times in five days, including against three Northeast-10 Conference Championship qualifiers, two of which were regionally ranked. Ellingson nabbed the first victory of his college coaching career on Sept. 7, when Saint Michael's downed Saint Anselm College, 6-3, as Riley Kruger '17 - a former student-athlete of his at nearby Colchester High School - struck for the clinching victory.
Ellingson stepped into his first college coaching position but brought a wealth of high school and clinic experience. Since 2009 he has been the varsity girls' tennis head coach at Colchester High, posting a 72-89 mark despite Colchester being one of the smallest Division I schools in the state. The Lakers went 11-7 while advancing to the state semifinals in 2013, a year after garnering the No. 7 seed and losing to the eventual state runner-up in the playdowns. In 2011 (9-8) and 2018 (8-9), Ellingson's squad lost to the eventual state champion in the quarterfinals. The Lakers were 7-8 in 2015 and 7-9 in 2016, when they garnered a No. 10 seed and sprung a first-round upset over the 7th seed before falling to the undefeated No. 2 team in Division I during the quarterfinals. The 2017 iteration of the Lakers finished 9-8, claiming the No. 7 seed in the postseason before being upset in a playdown.
A member of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Vermont Principals' Association (VPA) Tennis Committee, Ellingson was the head tennis pro at Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs for six summers in addition to coaching tennis in various capacities at Hellgate High School in Missoula, Mont., between 1998 and 2001. As head coach, he led the varsity boys and girls to second and fourth place, respectively, at the 2001 state championships.
Ellingson has been employed by Colchester High School since 2007, performing such functions as managing accounts, bookkeeping, purchasing, site administration and event coordination. He was also the girls' basketball varsity assistant coach and junior varsity head coach between 2009-10 and 2011-12, leading the JV squad to a 44-16 record and helping the varsity Lakers reach the 2011 state semifinals. Through the After School Program in Colchester, Ellingson has led tennis clinics to youths in town.
Ellingson graduated from the University of Montana in 2003 with a degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing, before finishing his master's degree in business administration, with a sports management concentration, at Southern New Hampshire University in 2014.