Elizabeth Schmidt Named Women’s Tennis Coach
Schmidt returns to Rice after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Notre Dame.
HOUSTON – Rice Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte announced the hiring of Elizabeth Schmidt as women’s tennis head coach Thursday afternoon. Schmidt replaces Roger White, who resigned on August 1st.
“It has always been my aspiration to be a head coach at an institution that provides both the resources and environment to be a top-ranked program,” Schmidt said. “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to rejoin Rice athletics. I would like to thank Chris Del Conte and Leslie Claybrook for putting their trust in me to lead the women’s tennis program.”
“Rice has an excellent academic and athletic tradition,” Schmidt continued. “My goal as head coach will be to recruit and develop players that can help Rice achieve national prominence and win Conference USA championships while also excelling in the classroom. I will work passionately and diligently to make these goals a reality at Rice.”
Success on the tennis court and in the classroom has been a trademark of Schmidt’s teams as an assistant coach during her tenures at Notre Dame and Rice.
The Fighting Irish compiled a 50-13 record over the last two seasons, including a program-best 28-4 mark en route to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2007. Notre Dame upended 13 teams ranked in the Top 25 and ended that season with a No. 7 ranking. The Irish reached the NCAA Second Round last season and TennisRecruiting.net gave Notre Dame’s incoming recruiting class a No. 3 ranking.
“We’re excited to have someone with Elizabeth’s credentials leading our women’s tennis program,” Del Conte said. “She possesses all of the necessary tools to build a program that will compete on the national stage.”
The Owls reached a pair of conference finals during Schmidt’s two seasons in 2005 and 2006. The Owls won the 2006 C-USA title en route to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. Both Rice teams also achieved national rankings with the 2005 squad peaking at No. 29.
As a player at UCLA, Schmidt was a member of two teams that reached the NCAA Quarterfinals in 1997 and 2000. She also reached the NCAA individual singles and doubles Tournament twice in addition to racking up NCAA All-American Doubles accolades.
Schmidt received three Pac-10 All-Academic selections. After graduation, Schmidt joined the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) professional tour, ultimately achieving a Top 140 international ranking.
“My playing career has greatly aided my coaching career,” Schmidt said. “Competing at UCLA and on the professional tour exposed me to the highest levels of tennis. This hands-on experience will allow me to recruit top student-athletics to Rice.”
Rice is coming off a 17-5 campaign where Julie Chao and Dominique Karas earned All-Conference USA First-Team singles selections. The Owls also notched their 10th consecutive ITA All-Academic Team award earlier this week. Kristina Kraszewski will remain at Rice as an assistant coach.