Sam  Winterbotham

Sam Winterbotham

Head Coach


Seasons at Tennessee: 11 Seasons
Career Record at Tennessee: 217-104 (72-54 SEC)

SEC Results
SEC Regular-Season Titles: 2 (2010, 2011)
SEC Tournament Titles: 1 (2010)
All-SEC Selections: 27
SEC Player of the Year: 3 (John-Patrick Smith, 2010; John-Patrick Smith, 2011; Mikelis Libietis, 2013)

National Team Results
NCAA Finalists: 1 (2010)
NCAA Quarters: 3 (2010, 2011, 2013)
NCAA Round of 16: 6 (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014)
Final ITA Top-10 Finishes: 5 (2008 - No. 9; 2009 - No. 8; 2010 - No. 2; 2011 - No. 4; 2013 - No. 6)

National Individual Results
NCAA Doubles Champions: 1 (Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese, 2014)
NCAA Singles Finalists: 2 (John-Patrick Smith, 2008; Rhyne Williams, 2011)
NCAA Doubles Finalists: 2 (John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren, 2009 & 2010)
All-American Selections: 18

2013 ITA National Coach of the Year
2013 ITA Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year
2011 ITA Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year
2010 ITA Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year
2010 SEC Coach of the Year
2009 ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year
2008 SEC Coach of the Year
2006 ITA Mountain Region Coach of the Year
2006 Big 12 Coach of the Year


SEC Title Seasons


  • Overall Record:
  • SEC Record:
  • Final ITA Ranking:
    No. 2
  • NCAA Finish:

Tennessee returned to the finals of the NCAA Championships for the first time in nine years and ended the season ranked No. 2 nationally with a 31-2 record, good for the second-most wins in program history. The Vols finished 11-0 in Southeastern Conference play to claim their eighth SEC regular-season title and went on to become the first team to capture the SEC Tournament title courtesy of three 4-0 shutouts.

Three players -- Smith, Williams and Davey Sandgren -- earned All-America honors. For the first time in Tennessee history, five Vols were named All-SEC. Five players also finished the year in the national ITA rankings.


  • Overall Record:
  • SEC Record:
  • Final ITA Ranking:
    No. 4
  • NCAA Finish:

With most of the lineup returning from the 2010 squad, the Vols captured back-to-back SEC regular-season titles for the first time in program history. The Vols finished the conference season 10-1 and clinched the trophy with a 4-3 victory at Georgia in the season finale.

Whether in team or individual standing, the Vols enjoyed time at No. 1. During the season, Tennessee regained the No. 1 national team ranking for the first time since 1990. Smith and Boris Conkic held the top national doubles ranking from March 1 through the end of the season. Both Smith and Williams spent time as the No. 1-ranked singles player.

A record four Vols earned All-America honors: Conkic, Smith, Williams and Tennys Sandgren. Williams and Sandgren faced each other in the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championships.

Former Players Talk about Sam Winterbotham

Sam Winterbotham and associate head coach Chris Woodruff have made it their goal to build a successful program by preparing players to succeed in matches and off the court as well.

That mission has translated into team, individual and academic success.

On the court, Tennessee has been back among the elite tennis programs. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were nothing short of historic for the Vols, as the team captured back-to-back SEC regular-season titles for the first time in program history and made a run to the NCAA title match in 2010. After starting with a nearly brand-new roster in 2012, the Vols returned to the top 10 in 2013 and reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the ninth time in program history and third time in four years.

In 2014, the Vols advanced to the round of 16 by advancing through a road regional for the first time in program history, beating 11th-seeded Duke 4-2 for a second time in the season to reach final site competition in Athens, Georgia.

The year was ultimately highlighted by Tennessee's first NCAA doubles championship in 34 years. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese outlasted Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in the title match. In Winterbotham's nine years at Tennessee, the Vols have either had a representative in the singles or doubles final five times.

The victories have begun to add up. Winterbotham has a 217-104 overall record at UT. He also has a 72-54 record in the SEC, including a near-perfect 21-1 mark in 2010 and 2011.

Individually, the Vols have enjoyed a tremendous amount of individual success. During Winterbotham's tenure, Tennessee has had 18 All-America and 27 All-SEC selections. Seventeen different Vols have been ranked nationally in singles, including three -- Mikelis Libietis (2013), Rhyne Williams (2011) and John-Patrick Smith (2010) -- who have held the No. 1 ranking. Smith was named the SEC Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and Libietis picked up the awards trail as a sophomore, being named the conference player of the year in 2013.

In the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments, the Vols produced one finalist every year from 2008-2011. Smith and Williams were singles finalists in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and Smith made it to the title match of the NCAA Doubles Championships with Davey Sandgren in 2009 and 2010.

When it comes to schoolwork, the Vols have been successful there too. Four times UT has been named an ITA All-Academic Team with a cumulative grade point average above 3.2. In 2014, five Vols were named ITA Scholar Athletes for keeping their cumulative GPA above 3.5.

The Vols have earned ITA Scholar Athlete honors 17 times and have been on the SEC Academic Honor Roll 38 times. In addition to on-court accolades, Smith concluded his career by earning an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

"When you're consistently succeeding both areas, you feel the program is really starting to do what you hoped to do," said Winterbotham. "Chris and I hoped we would have a team that would compete and win championships, and we also want to develop fine, young men that are going to be successful in all aspects of their lives."

Winterbotham was named the 10th coach in Tennessee tennis history on Oct. 24, 2006. He and Woodruff joined forces when Tennessee was ranked No. 50 nationally, but the Vols quickly vaulted up the charts.


In 2006, Winterbotham, was named ITA/Wilson Mountain Region Coach of the Year and Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year while leading Colorado to a 20-9 record. 2006 was UC's first 20-win season since 1996-97, the team's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1988 (team advanced to the round of 32) and a final ITA ranking of No. 23, a school best.

The 2006 Buffs posted a third-place finish in the Big 12 standings as Colorado recorded its most conference wins since 1998 at 5-2. In his four seasons at Colorado, Winterbotham's teams posted a 42-56 record. The Buffs continually climbed up the Big 12 ladder, finishing sixth in 2003 and 2004, fifth in 2005 and third in 2006.


Prior to his stint in Boulder, Winterbotham spent three years at Baylor, two seasons as a full-time assistant (2000-2002) and one as a volunteer coach (1999-00). During that time he helped the Bears become a national power in the collegiate game.

In addition to assisting Baylor with the day-to-day operation, Winterbotham had a hand in recruiting one of the best teams in the nation that eventually won the first team national championship in Baylor history as the Bears were crowned 2004 NCAA champions.

While at Baylor, Winterbotham was named the 2002 Region VI Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Bears win the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament. Baylor advanced to the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16 and finished the season ranked seventh nationally.


Prior to coaching, Winterbotham attended Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City where he was a four-year NAIA All-America and ranked No. 1 nationally. In 1997 he won top honors as the NAIA Rolex national singles champion.

At OCU, Winterbotham also was the 1999 Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year in soccer, where he was named to the All-Region first team and honorable mention All-America team. He graduated in April 1999 with a degree in marketing and was honored as OCU's 1999 international business student of the year. Winterbotham was inducted into the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.


A native of Stoke on Trent, England, Winterbotham was born Oct 1, 1973. He is married to the former Tara McClure, a native of Asher, Okla. The Winterbothams have four daughters, Zoe, Ryann, Sophia and Savanna.



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