• The ‘John Wooden of Tennis’ leads Baylor men into new era

    Head coach Brian Boland talks to the Baylor men's tennis team

    Baylor men’s tennis has had a lot of success over the last two decades: 13 Big 12 regular season titles, 8 more conference tournament championships, and a national title. With that kind of track record, it would take someone with a pretty impressive resume of their own to take the helm of one of the sport’s most successful programs.

    Enter Brian Boland, named last summer as the ninth head coach in Baylor men’s tennis history.

    Between 2013-17, he coached the University of Virginia men to four national championships in five years. Under his leadership, Virginia dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), winning 13 consecutive conference championships and embarking on a 140-game ACC winning streak — the longest Division I winning streak in any sport, ever. A two-time national coach of the year, his teams at Indiana State and Virginia reached the tournament 17 times in 21 seasons.

    The man collegially called “the John Wooden of tennis” by Virginia head basketball coach Tony Bennett went looking for a different challenge in 2017. Having led Virginia to three straight national titles, Boland moved into a new role with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), where he led the training and coaching of male junior, collegiate and pro players and managed all the USTA’s national men’s coaches. But the allure of traditional coaching — and the opportunity to do so at Baylor, specifically — brought him back to the collegiate ranks.

    “We want to help these young people grow and become great leaders, great young men and women,” Boland said at his introductory press conference. “We’re going to do things the right way and win championships and have fun doing it.”

    His first team at Baylor enters 2019 with strong expectations. The Bears earned a No. 11 national preseason ranking and were picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason poll behind Texas. Baylor returns six players ranked in the preseason ITA rankings, including two in the top 50 in singles play (No. 17 Will Little and No. 33 Johannes Schretter).

    Already this year, Baylor has picked up top-25 wins over 12th-ranked Georgia and 24th-ranked Michigan en route to an undefeated 5-0 start.

    Sic ’em, Baylor men’s tennis!

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