Lama Signs Contract Extension
New Contract Runs Through 2021 season
DENTON — North Texas head tennis coach Sujay Lama has signed a contract extension through the 2021 season.
The Mean Green’s all-time winningest tennis coach is entering his 12th season in Denton. Lama has compiled 139 dual match victories with the Mean Green and has led the program to three conference titles, three NCAA tournament appearances and has been named conference coach of the year three times.
“I feel very fortunate and blessed to be doing what I love to do and am passionate about,” Lama said. “To me, there is no better job in the world than being a collegiate coach. I have the privilege to impact the lives of young people each day.”
“I am thankful for the confidence our Athletic Director Wren Baker has shown in me and I’m excited to be the coach of the Mean Green tennis team,” he added.
In his 11 seasons at North Texas, Lama has defeated Power-5 schools such as Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas and Arizona. They’ve reached a national ranking as high as No. 40 and are one of the toughest teams to play at home.
During his tenure, North Texas owns a .654 winning percentage at home and has finished with a winning record at home nine times. Furthermore, Lama has never lost on senior day.
He has guided many student-athletes to individual success too.
North Texas has earned all-conference honors 20 times since Lama took over the reins of the program. Last season, the Mean Green set a program-record with five all-conference honors.
“Coach Lama has moved this program in a positive direction and we believe we can compete for Conference USA championships under his leadership,” North Texas Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and director of athletics Wren Baker said. “He understands the importance of developing a complete student-athlete and has consistently led his program to be one of our best academically. We are excited to have him continue his leadership as the head women’s tennis coach.”
In the classroom, his tennis athletes are some of the brightest.
Every year under Lama the Mean Green have made the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations All-Academic team for having a team grade point average of 3.20 or higher. Additionally, each season he’s had at least one tennis player named an ITA Scholar-Athlete for having a cumulative G.P.A of 3.50 or higher.
In May, his program was awarded the highest academic honor from the NCAA with an outstanding APR score in the top 10 percent in the nation. The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams.
“We built this program from ground up with the goal of creating a culture of excellence both in the class room and on the courts,” Lama said. “Since day one these student-athletes have bought into our vision and have worked very hard. I am extremely proud of how far we have come and the consistency of the success we have had due to their dedication and effort.”
This past season, sophomores Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze earned a program best No. 58 end of the year national ranking by the ITA. The North Texas No. 1 doubles team who were named C-USA first team all-conference in doubles finished 17-1 and set numerous program records.
Kononova was also named first team all-conference in singles after winning a program record 18 dual match wins and owning a .782 winning percentage. In March of 2017 Kononova was ranked No. 61 by the ITA, which is the highest a Mean Green tennis player has ever been ranked.
“The future of this program is bright,” Lama said. “We have our most talented and deepest roster this coming year. We are determined to bring home the Conference USA title and make many more NCAA championships.”