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Pura rejoins the Duke men's tennis staff

Pura rejoins the Duke men's tennis staff
Pura rejoins the Duke men's tennis staff


DURHAM Former Blue Devil TJ Pura will rejoin the Duke men's tennis staff as Duke's head coach Ramsey Smith announced on Friday.

Pura, who served as Duke's volunteer assistant coach during the 2022-23 season, will return as the Blue Devils' first assistant coach. He returns to Durham after spending one season (2023-2024) as the first assistant coach at Vanderbilt University. While in Nashville, Pura helped the Commodores to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019 and mentored Danil Panarin, the 2024 SEC Freshman of the Year and overall NCAA Singles participant. Vanderbilt jumped from No. 72 in the national rankings the year before Pura arrived to a final ranking of No. 42 in 2024. In addition, Pura helped recruit nine players to the program and helped implement the Commodores' NIL strategy.

“I am thrilled to welcome TJ back home to Duke,” said Smith. “This is a historic day for Duke Men's Tennis. TJ holds a very special place in my heart, and he is undoubtedly a unique coach and mentor for our student-athletes. I recruited TJ, coached him through his I think TJ is the most impressive coach, mentor, motivator, energizer and leader in the world. He has a deep passion for life, people, development and growth, and he is committed to lifelong education in these areas. TJ has an endless drive and investment tirelessly in the student-athletes with whom I am so excited to work with TJ at Duke and build on the positive momentum within our men's tennis program.”

Pura was a member of the Duke program from 2013 to 2017, earning Third Team All-ACC honors in 2017. The two-time team captain graduated sixth in program history with 30 ACC singles wins and tied for seventh in most career ACC singles matches. played with 41. Pura also finished his career tied for first in single-season ACC singles wins (11) and singles winning percentage (1,000; 11-0) during his senior year. Additionally, he compiled the longest single-season ACC winning streak in program history when he went 11-0 in 2016-17.

For these efforts, Pura was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's 2017 Carolina Region Most Improved Senior and received the team's first annual Robert C. Taylor Leadership Award.

Pura also found his way into the Duke record book in his freshman year when, as a rookie, he tied for first in highest ACC winning percentage in singles with a mark of 6-0 (1,000) and fourth in highest winning percentage in the doubles with a record of 12-2 (.857). During his Blue Devil tenure, Pura helped Duke to a 71-39 overall record and three NCAA team championships (2014-15-17), including an appearance in the Round of 16 in 2015. He owned one singles title (Winthrop Invitational – 2A , 2013) for his career and captured one doubles title (Duke Fab Four Invitational – White Bracket, 2013).

“I feel very fortunate to rejoin the Duke Tennis family and the broader Duke community. To have the opportunity to join forces with Ramsey, someone who has played an integral role in my development as a person, player and coach, is incredibly meaningful. Ramsey's passion and dedication to Duke Tennis is infectious and he has built tremendous positive momentum within the program on several levels. I truly believe this is a special time for Duke Tennis and I am honored to be a part of it This university means so much to me and I look forward to representing Duke with the utmost dedication, passion and integrity!”

Pura graduated from Duke in 2017 with a degree in computer science and history with a certification in innovation and entrepreneurship. After graduating, Pura became a professional tennis player on the ITF Futures Tour. Since retiring from the professional circuit, Pura spent three years in investment banking and corporate finance before realizing his true passion was coaching and high performance. He has become a mentor and mental coach for countless athletes, including Tommy Paul, a top-15 ATP player.

To stay up to date with Blue Devils men's tennis, follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by searching “”.

Duke Centennial
In 2024, Duke will celebrate its centennial, the hundred years since Trinity College became Duke University. Duke will use this historic milestone to deepen understanding of its history, inspire pride and strengthen bonds and partnerships, and prepare for a second century of continued excellence and impactful leadership. For more information please visit

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