DENTON, Texas (5/4/10)
- North Texas head tennis coach Sujay Lama was selected as the 2010 Sun Belt Conference's Women's Tennis Coach of the Year Tuesday afternoon.
Lama led the Mean Green to its first Sun Belt Conference Championship in school history, winning in dramatic fashion over No. 49 Florida International, 4-3.
The 2009-10 season was the second season in a row that North Texas finished 17-6, which makes 2008-10 season's 34 wins the best two year span since 1980-82.
"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of our team," said Lama. "This is a reflection on how a group of young ladies believed in a vision, worked hard and never gave up in wanting to accomplish their goals."
The Mean Green earned both its first ITA National team ranking in program history, when it debuted in February at No. 73, and its highest ranking in school history when it came in at No. 60 last week. North Texas currently registers a No. 64 ranking.
"I would like to share this recognition with my coaching and support staffs who have worked very hard and are instrumental in us winning our first conference championship," added Lama. "None of this would have been possible without the assistance and dedication of my associate head coach, Jeff Maren."
With only one player graduating, Lama has restored a program that went 2-19 in his first year as head coach, to a conference powerhouse for years to come.
"We had the utmost confidence in Sujay's ability to be successful when we hired him three years ago and we knew that it would just be a matter of time until he elevated the tennis program at North Texas," Director of Athletics Rick Villarreal said. "Winning a conference championship and taking this team to the NCAA tournament validates the faith that we all had in him."
North Texas will make its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championship May 14-15.