Rafa Bulnes, a former two-time All-American McPherson men's tennis player, has been named the Bulldogs new head men's and women's tennis coach effective immediately, director of athletics Andrew Ehling announced Monday afternoon.
"In 2016, I graduated from McPherson with a vision to become a head coach in the future," Bulnes said. "I worked for two years on my craft at Fort Hays State (Kan.), and I want to thank Coach (Brian) Flax for sharing his experience with me.
"As a former player, it is an absolute dream to become the new head coach at McPherson. I want to thank (president) Michael (Schneider) and Andrew (Ehling) for this amazing opportunity. I want to thank my parents for the constant support over the years. Finally, I want to thank Craig Holman for his commitment to the college and the tennis program. Craig has been an amazing mentor to me over the years, and to work with him will bring nothing but success."
Bulnes inherits were a McPherson men's program that is 17-0 in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) play and 16-1 on the women's side in the last two seasons. Last season, the McPherson men's team won its second-straight KCAC title and fourth-straight KCAC Championship crown and reached the National Championship second round. On the women's side, the Bulldogs claimed a share of their fifth-straight KCAC title and made their fifth-straight appearance in the KCAC Championship title match.
"It's great to have Rafa back on campus," Ehling said."He's hungry to be a successful coach and mentor to our student-athletes. Rafa was a tireless competitor as an athlete, and I can't wait to see what he brings to our tennis program and community as a coach."
Bulnes spent the previous two seasons (2016-18) as the graduate assistant women's tennis coach for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association member in NCAA Division II.
Bulnes was a two-time All-American in his two and a half seasons (2012-16) donning the Red and White, leading the Bulldogs to a KCAC Championship title and berth in the National Championship first round. As a sophomore, he was voted the KCAC Player of the Year.
Before joining McPherson, Bulnes was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) second team All-American in 2012 at Vincennes (Ind.), helping lead the Trailblazers to a fifth place finish in the NJCAA Division I Championship.
The Osmalen, Netherlands, native earned a Bachelor of Arts in health science from McPherson in 2016 and a Master of Science in health and human performance from Fort Hays State in 2018.
The Bulldogs men's team is 51-6 in KCAC matches in the last eight seasons, having not lost more than one conference match in a season during that time.
The McPherson women's squad is 38-1 in KCAC matches in the last five seasons.