Ojeda named to Baylor Women’s Staff

Former All-American and all-SEC selection Alison Ojeda has been named an assistant coach of Baylor’s women’s tennis program head coach Joey Scrivano announced today. Ojeda spent the last five seasons as the head coach at Middle Tennessee State University.

”We are extremely excited to have Alison join our coaching staff, she brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to our program,” Scrivano said. “Her positive attitude and vibrant personality are contagious and will be an asset to our team. I have a lot of respect for what she has done as a head coach at MTSU, taking that program to the next level. We’re thrilled to have her join the Baylor Tennis family.”

A former All-American and WTA player, Ojeda inherited an MTSU team with just two returning players in 2005, but brought the program back to the national rankings in 2010. Helping the Blue Raiders to their first winning season in six years, Ojeda led MTSU to an 11-10 record, while earning an ITA ranking of No. 75 after a 5-0 start. After winning 15 matches in her first two seasons, she led her team to nine wins in her third and fourth year at the helm.

“I am excited to become a part of Baylor’s Athletic Department and look forward to being back in Texas,” Ojeda said. “Joey and his players have done an exceptional job taking the Baylor Bears to the Elite Eight four of the last five years in the NCAA Tournament. Through the team’s success, it is obvious the players respect and trust Joey as a leader and tennis coach.

Ojeda was an assistant coach at Alabama in 2005 and served two years at Texas A&M, earning the 2004 Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year honor. Alabama fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and finished the year ranked 38th nationally. TAMU posted a 44-19 record during her two seasons in College Station, winning Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and making a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, including reaching the Sweet 16 in 2003.

While at Texas A&M, Ojeda helped the Aggies finish the 2004 season ranked 16th in the nation. She also coached four All-Big 12 players and one All-American, Jessica Roland.

Ojeda spent eight months on the WTA tour in 2004 between her stops as an assistant at Texas A&M and Alabama. She also was the tournament founder and director for the College Station Open, a 64-player open level tournament, during her time as an Aggie.

The San Antonio native enjoyed a stellar playing career at the University of Tennessee, posting 102 singles and 100 doubles victories. She earned All-America honors in singles as a junior, was a four-time Academic All-SEC selection, and was voted the national recipient of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Humanitarian Award and Cissie B. Leary Leadership and Sportsmanship Award in 2002. The Cissie B. Leary Award is presented to someone who displays inspiring commitment and dedication to her team, enhancing the team’s performance and exemplifying the spirit of college tennis. Ojeda was the Southeast Region winner of the Cissie B. Leary Award as a junior, as well.

Ojeda was also a three-time SEC Sportsmanship Award honoree. During her senior year, she helped captain UT’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Final Four. Ojeda finished her career ranked 26th in the country in singles and 59th in doubles.

She finished ranked No. 23 in singles and No. 16 in doubles as a junior, making the NCAA Individual Championships in both events and leading UT to its first-ever SEC championship match appearance. The Lady Vols finished the year ranked No. 6 nationally, the team’s first Top 10 final ranking in 25 years.

As a sophomore, she ended the year ranked 38th in singles and 21st in doubles, making her first NCAA Championships appearance in both singles and doubles. She posted a 47-22 combined mark as a freshman, picking up Tennessee’s lone point in the NCAA Team Championship in a loss to Stanford.

Ojeda garnered First Team All-SEC honors in singles as a junior and Second Team accolades in doubles as a sophomore. She is one of only three players in Lady Vols history to post more than 100 victories in both singles and doubles.

Ojeda was a three-time all-state selection at Douglas MacArthur High School and registered a 2008 combined singles and doubles mark. She reached the finals of the state tournament as a senior before falling in the title match and also advanced to the state tourney as a sophomore and junior. She played in the Sugar Bowl Tournament and National Indoor Championships in 1996-97.

Welcome to the PAC-16, the best tennis conference is history

I really don’t have a bunch of time to sweat on this, but now that it seems that the Big 12, as we know it, is really going the way of the Soviet Union, it may be time to talk about the greatest tennis conference in the history of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the PAC-16!

Obviously it is still up in the air in as to whether the West Coasters want Baylor or Colorado (they really prefer Colorado), but let’s break this down.

The PAC-10 men’s tennis schools include: USC (2-time defending NC), UCLA (top-10 and 2005 NC), Stanford (top-10 and won it a few times), Cal (not bad, NCAA tournament team), Washington (solid NCAA tournament team), Arizona (NCAA tournament team), along with Oregon.

The Big 12 men’s tennis teams include: Texas (top-4 this season), Baylor (top-10 and quarterfinalist), Texas A&M (top-10), Oklahoma (quarterfinalist), Texas Tech (top-20), Nebraska (NCAA tournament team), Oklahoma State (last team left out of NCAAs this season) and Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, K-State and Iowa State, who all don’t have teams.

So the new conference would be: #1 USC, #4 Texas, #6 UCLA, #7 Baylor (pending their inclusion), #9 Stanford, #10 Texas A&M, #15 Texas Tech, #17 Oklahoma, #18 Cal, #28 Washington, #31 Arizona, #47 Oklahoma State and Oregon. Not too shabby.

On the women’s side, despite Texas’ improvement, this has been all about Baylor. If the Bears gets the invite, they will finally have someone to keep them on their toes within conference. It would include: #1 and defending NC Stanford, #4 Baylor (maybe), #6 UCLA, #12 Cal, #16 Texas, #20 USC, #21 Arizona State, #23 Washington, #37 Texas A&M, #42 Oklahoma, #51 Arizona, #62 Oklahoma State, #72 Colorado (maybe) and Texas Tech, Washington State and Oregon.

Honestly, I like the conference. I know this is being done for football and the travel for the ‘Olympic’ sorts will be a mess, but the level of competition will be tremendous.

I’ll write more as this goes down.

Trinity Men, Vandy Women named ITA National Sportsmanship Award winners for May

The Trinity men’s and Vanderbilt women’s tennis teams have been honored as May’s recipients of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award, the ITA announced today.

The ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award is a monthly award that goes to one men’s and one women’s team that has exemplified outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis. The winners are selected by the ITA Ethics and Infractions Committee from nominations received from all ITA member institutions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges). This monthly award began in 2003. In addition to the obvious reasons, sportsmanship and fair play are considered important in college tennis due to the fact that players make their own line calls during a match.

Trinity University is a NCAA Division III school, coached by Russell McMindes, and is located in San Antonio, Texas.

“At Trinity, dating back to well before I was a player for Butch Newman, our philosophies have always been about personal growth and development as a priority over on-court success,” said Head Coach Russell McMindes. “I believed in that, and made it my goal to carry that philosophy forward during my tenure as head coach. We don’t do it to win awards, we do it to hopefully impact our players in a positive way and prepare them for the journey of life.”

“Just by following these principles, we hold our players to the highest standards of sportsmanship,” explained McMindes. “We believe in doing things the right way and a way you can be proud of. We have great captains who lead by example and I couldn’t be happier that their efforts were recognized with an award such as this.”

Vanderbilt University is a NCAA Division I school, coached by Geoff MacDonald and is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

“This award is such a great honor,” said Head Coach Geoff MacDonald. “We talk a lot about handling adversity with class, about respecting the game of tennis and being very tough competitors who are scrupulously fair. It’s such a superb game for building character and doing things the right way. My team is class personified, and I’m honored to coach them.

Hilltopper Legend, Dan Dwyer, passes away

Former Hilltopper tennis great and St. Edward’s Athletics Hall of Fame member Dan Dwyer died Tuesday, May 25th in Oceanside, N.Y. He is survived by his daughter Kimberly, son Shawn, and two grandchildren.

Dwyer played for legendary head tennis coach Brother Emmett Strohmeyer at St. Edward’s in the late 1950s. In his senior season at St. Edward’s, Dwyer and doubles partner Julio Rojas teamed up to win the Big State Conference Doubles Championship.

In 1989, Dwyer was selected as a member of the St. Edward’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He was the third student-athlete from the tennis program to earn this honor. There are only nine men’s tennis athletes in the SEU Hall of Fame.

In a recent tribute article by Nancy Gill McShea on the Point Set Racquet Club website, Dwyer’s brother Jim recalled a story about Dan while enrolled at St. Edward’s. To read this story and other memories of Dwyer.

Dwyer had been the head tennis professional at Woodmere Country Club in Woodmere, N.Y. for more than 50 years and also the manager/part owner of Point Set Indoor Racquet Club. During his years of coaching, he coached numerous future tennis stars: Mary Carillo (Former Women’s Tennis Professional and CBS Sports Broadcaster) was a student of Dwyer’s, along with ITA Hall of Famer John McEnroe.

Dwyer, a pioneer of Wheelchair Tennis, was selected as the United States Tennis Association’s first wheelchair committee chairman, and became one of five people appointed — and the only American — to serve on the International Tennis Federation wheelchair committee.

Dwyer was named USTA Man of the Year in 1997 and was inducted into the USTA Hall of Fame in 1998.

Funeral services were held Saturday, May 29, 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 1346 Broadway in Hewlett, N.Y.

In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted as follows:

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Long Island Chapter
40 Marcus Drive, #100
Melville, NY 11747
(631)864-8337