Joe Cabri was the architect of the greatest Division II dynasty that has ever existed with eight straight men’s tennis national championships at Lander, which still stands as a Division II record for consecutive titles in any sport. Cabri coaches the Bearcats for 31 years, overseeing the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and the Peach Belt Conference and during his tenure he won 12 national championships overall and 23 league titles, 12 of those in the Peach Belt.
The longest serving coach in Lander Athletics history, Cabri won his first four national titles in the NAIA and eight more in NCAA Division II. His greatest run was from 1991-2000 when Lander captured 10 consecutive national championships, including an NCAA-record eight straight in Division II. He also guided the Senators/Bearcats to two national runner-up finishes in the NAIA and four fourth-place finishes.
He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 and has also been inducted into the Lander Athletic Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. He was named a national Coach of the Year 10 times and the PBC Coach of the Year three times.
Cabri, hired as a mathematics professor at Lander, admits that he was no tennis expert when he began coaching. The Long Island, N.Y. native began learning the art of coaching by reading books and attending Van Der Meer clinics. But the professor-coach says he learned the most from NCAA Division I coaches Chuck Kriese of Clemson (now The Citadel), Kent DeMars of USC and Dan Magill of Georgia. Those coaches gave Lander an opportunity to play against some of the best teams ever fielded by Clemson, Carolina and Georgia, and in the process, Cabri's players improved their caliber of play.
Cabri, in 12 years in the NCAA, coached a national doubles champion, a Dan Magill Award winner, 28 All-Americans, 24 academic All-Americans, three national Arthur Ashe Award winners, two Tennis Magazine All-Star Team members, and 60 All-Peach Belt Conference players, all while winning 11 straight PBC championships.