Former WTA Top 100 professional tennis player Anousjka van Exel joined the Rice Owls as the volunteer assistant coach in 2016.
Prior to joining the Owls, van Exel was the sports nutritionist of the AZ professional soccer squad in her native country, The Netherlands, for five years.
After concluding her professional tennis career, van Exel served as an assistant coach for two seasons at Baylor (2008-09). In her first season, the Lady Bears reached as high as second in the ITA rankings during the year and finished ranked fourth, their highest ranking ever, finishing at 32-3. The Lady Bears won their fifth-straight Big 12 Conference regular season championship and their fourth-straight conference tournament championship.
During her first semester at Baylor van Exel completed her master's degree in exercise and sports nutrition at Texas Woman's University. She also holds a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Tulsa University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1999.
During van Exel's collegiate career, she was twice honored as the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year (1998, 1999). In that two year span, van Exel also was named an NCAA All-American, an All-WAC first-team member in singles and doubles, an Academic All-WAC first-team member, an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Academic All-American, and was a GTE CoSIDA Academic All-America award recipient in 1999.
As a professional, van Exel played from 2001 to 2004; she competed on some of the biggest stages including the U.S. Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Her best result was reaching the round of 16 Australian Open doubles in 2002. In one of her most memorable moments, van Exel faced Martina Navratilova and Todd Woodbridge in front of a sold-out center court crowd at Wimbledon.
Van Exel also competed for the Netherlands as a member of her native lands 2003 Fed Cup team.