May 12, 2009
Knoxville, Tenn. - - In continuing with the growing success of the men's tennis program, University of Tennessee coach Sam Winterbotham was named the 2009 Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Region Coach of the Year.
The third-year Volunteers coach has guided the team to a 23-6 record and a No. 5 national ranking this season. He and his team are preparing for a round of 16 matchup with the No. 12 Texas Longhorns (21-6) in the NCAA Tennis Tournament which begins Thursday, May 14, in College Station, Texas at 10 a.m. ET.
"It's really a great honor to be recognized by my peers in the region," said Winterbotham. "This isn't something I did myself, though. It goes back to the success the student-athletes have had this season and the coaching staff. Chris Woodruff has done a phenomenal job coaching the guys on the court and Milos Popovic has also been an outstanding teacher with our younger players. Chris won the assistant coach of the year award last year, so we are proud of his accomplishments as well."
This year's accolade compliments the 2008 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award he took home after leading the Vols to a 23-4 mark. It is his second region coach of the year honor he has received in his seven-year career, taking home the award in 2006 while at the University of Colorado.
A testament to gaining this recognition is the fact that Tennessee owns a 17-6 record against squads in the 64-team NCAA field, and played 14 matches against nine of the top 14 national seeds in the tournament, going 8-6. The Vols handed No. 3 Ohio State its only loss of the season in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February as they reached the semifinals of that tournament.
The Vols boast two singles players ranked in the top 40 in No. 5 John-Patrick Smith and 37th-ranked Boris Conkic. They also have a pair of top-50 doubles tandems in third-ranked Smith and Davey Sandgren and the No. 42 duo of Conkic and Matteo Fago.