ATHENS — Turns out the scandal surrounding Georgia tennis expands beyond the men’s team.
On Saturday, men’s coach Manuel Diaz confirmed that associate head coach Bo Hodge had been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed “personnel matter.” On Sunday, women’s coach Jeff Wallace confirmed that his associate head coach, Drake Bernstein, is also absent but declined to say whether he is suspended or fired. Sources have told DawgNation Bernstein is suspended.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity, himself a former women’s tennis coach at UGA, declined comment while watching Sunday’s match. No one associated with either program would say whether the two matters are related.
Both teams are currently competing in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 5-ranked Lady Dogs (19-5) advanced to the championship rounds — which UGA will host this week — with a 4-0 win over North Carolina State on Sunday at Dan Magill Complex.
After the match, Wallace was asked to provide any details he could regarding the absence of his top assistant and whether it has had an impact on the team. He did not.
“No comment is all you’re going to get from me right now,” said Wallace, who has guided the Bulldogs to 31 straight NCAA tournaments. “I think eventually I’ll have a comment.”
Sources close to the situation have told DawgNation that there is an investigation being conducted. No other details are available at this time.
The No. 12-ranked men’s team (20-7) also advanced with first- and second-round wins this weekend and will play in the quarterfinals against No. 4 seed Southern Cal on Thursday.
Volunteer assistant coach Vrnoi Van Berlo and graduate manager Will Reynolds handled assistant coaching duties on the court for the Lady Bulldogs on Sunday. On the men’s side, Diaz brought back former associate head coach Will Glenn, who resigned in 2015 to go into private business, to finish out the season with the Bulldogs. Former player Javier Garrapiz is also assisting.
Bernstein and Hodge both played tennis at UGA but at different times. Hodge played for the Bulldogs from 2001-04 and Bernstein competed from 2008-11. Both won national championships.
Bernstein came back to Georgia in 2012 after serving one year as an assistant at Alabama. Wallace promoted him to associate head coach from assistant in 2015.
Bernstein is from Winder. He is married to former UGA gymnast Cassidy McComb, who served as a volunteer assistant coach for former gymnastics coach Danna Durante until Durante was fired after this past season.
Hodge’s wife, Tatum, also works for the UGA athletic association. She is an administrative assistant for the baseball team.
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