Seasons at Tennessee: Seventh Season
Career Record at Tennessee: 133-40 (50-16 SEC)
SEC Regular-Season Titles: 2 (2010, 2011)
SEC Tournament Titles: 1 (2010)
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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
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 is 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.
The victories have begun to add up. Winterbotham has a 133-40 overall record at UT, which is the most wins by a head coach in his first six seasons on Rocky Top. Not to mention he has a 50-16 record in the SEC, including 21-1 in 2010 and 2011.
In terms of sheer number of victories, the Vols just wrapped up their most successful four-year period in program history with a 101-18 record from 2008-11. Tennessee was ranked in the top five nationally every polling period in 2010 and 2011 as well.
Individually, the Vols have enjoyed a tremendous amount of individual success. During Winterbotham's six-year tenure, Tennessee has had 12 All-America and 19 All-SEC selections. Fourteen different Vols have been ranked nationally in singles, including two - John-Patrick Smith and Rhyne Williams - who have held the No. 1 ranking.
Smith and Williams were each finalists in the NCAA Singles Championships 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.
The 2012 season featured plenty of freshmen in the lineup with three newcomers playing on the top three courts. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, playing at No. 1 and 2 respectively, were both ranked in the top 100 during the spring season, with Libietis climbing up to No. 28.
When it comes to schoolwork, the Vols have been successful there too. The last four years, UT has been named an ITA All-Academic Team with a cumulative grade point average above 3.2. A team-record four Vols were named ITA Scholar-Athletes in 2012, each of them posting a year-long GPA above 3.5.
Smith, who was already an All-America on the court, earned ITA Scholar-Athlete honors his last three years as a Vol and was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2011.
"When you're consistently succeeding both areas, you feel the program is really starting to do what you hoped to do," said Winterbotham, who was named ITA Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year again in 2011. "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 have quickly vaulted up the charts since then. Tennessee ended 2010 at No. 2 and has finished the last five seasons in the top 25.
Colorado Head Coach (2002-2006)
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.
Baylor Assistant Coach (1999-2002)
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.
Collegiate Playing Career
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, Great Britain, 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.
|What are your favorite aspects of coaching?|
|"My favorite aspects of coaching are working with a player individually and helping them develop. I love working with a guy and seeing him get better. To see them grow from a freshman to a senior and how they've grown as a player and person is very fulfilling. Another favorite thing for me is competition. Competition teaches you so much and its great to see my guys learn through competition and use what they've been working on in competition."|
|What makes the University of Tennessee a special place?|
|"The people are phonemonal. The community bleeds orange and white. They are friendly, kind and supportive of each other. I remember speaking with Mike Hamilton during the interview process and he talked about the Tennessee family and you really do become a close member of the family."|
|What is your proudest coaching achievement?|
|"The accomplishment at Colorado. I'm very proud of my time there. We showed up in August with four players on the roster and with that in mind immediately strengthed the schedule to were we were competing against top college teams. We definitely took some lumps those first few years but you could see we were developing the program and were able to turn it around into a top program in four years. Just being apart of what those guys had to endure at Colorado and how they came out on top. I'm just so proud of them and they'll always have a special place in my memory."|
|What are your goals as a coach?|
|"To win a National Championship and to bring in the finest talent in the country and help them develop so they are strong physically, mentally, technically and tactfully to play after college. And during that process that talent will win National Championships for the University of Tennessee."|
|What are you looking for in a young man who wants to come play tennis for you?|
|"We've got three expectations of every young man in our program.
1. Be honest.
2. Give your best effort.
3. Always believe in yourself.
"To be great you have to be honest. We're looking for guys that have the ability to push through the tough times and that handle adversity with class and determination. I believe my players are capable of doing anything they set their mind too and work towards. It gives me such confidence that they will be successful when they believe they can do it too."
|What do you like to do in your time away from the courts?|
|"I have a fantastic wife and four beautiful children. That is my No. 1 priority. That's how I spend my time away from the courts. I also have one indulgence and that's following the greatest soccer team in the world, Stoke City."|