Riza Zalameda, a Filipina, has been appointed the new head women’s tennis coach at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.
Seton Hall University was founded in 1856—making it the oldest diocesan university in the United States—by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley, who named it after his aunt, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Zalameda’s appointment was announced on Wednesday by Patrick Lyons, Seton Hall University’s vice president and director of athletics, according to the university website.
Zalameda, a 2008 graduate of the University of California in Los Angeles, takes on her first head coaching position after a stint at Columbia University, where she was the assistant women’s tennis coach for four years.
As assistant coach, she helped lead Columbia to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
“We are very excited to have Coach Zalameda join the Seton Hall family and begin mentoring our student-athletes,” Lyons said, also according to the website.
“She is a national championship winning athlete with a history of success throughout her career both on the court and as a coach, which makes her an invaluable resource for our student-athletes, who are striving for excellence in everything they do. We look forward to watching her help elevate our tennis program and compete for BIG EAST championships,” he added.
Zalameda, who had won five medals for her native Philippines at the Southeast Asian Games, said she was “absolutely honored and humbled to become part of the Seton Hall family.”
“Not only is this first-class institution progressing in everything that it does, the people here are wonderful and are continuously motivating each other to keep getting better. I really wanted to be a part of that,” she added.
Zalameda expressed “gratitude to my family, friends and Columbia Athletics for supporting me in this big step in my professional career. It is my hope that our tennis program [at Seton Hall University]enhances the student-athlete experience and grooms champions in the classroom, on the court, and in life.”
Before accepting the assistant position at Columbia University, Zalameda spent four years on the WTA tour, playing in all four major tournaments—Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open.
She achieved a top-100 ranking in doubles and has two ITF singles titles to go along with six doubles titles on the women’s circuit.
Prior to her professional career, Zalameda was one of the most highly decorated players in UCLA women’s tennis history.
In her four-year career with the Bruins, she was an eight-time ITA Division I All-American in singles and doubles.
Zalameda led the Bruins to their first-ever NCAA team championship in 2008, clinching the 4-0 win with a victory in the battle for the No. 1 singles spot.
She retired from professional tennis in 2011 because of injury and returned to school to finish her education, pursuing her master’s degree in contemporary global ethics and human values at the University of London King’s College School of Law.
A native of Beverly Hills, California, Zalameda attended Beverly Hills High School, where she was named the Los Angeles Times Player of the Year in her final season.
Her appointment as new head women’s tennis coach at Seton Hall University brought to two the number of high-profile Filipinos at the diocesan school.
The university’s president at present, the 20th, is Dr. Amado Gabriel Esteban.
The first lay president of Seton Hall in three decades, Esteban is also the first Filipino president of an American university.
ROMY P. MARIÑAS