April 14, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame graduate David DiLucia – the only five-time All-American in Irish men’s tennis history – has been selected for induction into the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. DiLucia helped the Irish to the 1992 NCAA finals and holds nearly every Notre Dame career record.
“It is impossible to quantify the impact that David had on Notre Dame tennis,” said head coach Bobby Bayliss. “His greatest moment occurred in 1992 where he picked up teammates and coaches on his skinny little shoulders and carried us all to the finals. He was a charismatic team captain and unbelievable versatile player and remains an even better person.”
DiLucia’s storied career at Notre Dame – which still stands as the best by any player under 19th-year head coach Bob Bayliss – saw him ascend to the national #1 rankings in both singles and doubles, earning All-America accolades in singles in 1990, ’91, and ’92, as well as in doubles in his final two campaigns. He still holds several Irish career records, including those for singles victories (146-33 record), combined singles and doubles wins (219-63), wins at No. 1 singles (90-11), and wins at No. 1 doubles (45-19).
DiLucia is the only ND player ever to be ranked #1 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in singles and is the only Notre Dame player to have won more than 37 singles matches in a season (38-9 in 1988-89 and 46-7 in 1990-91). In his final season, DiLucia turned in an incredible 21-1 mark at No. 1 singles, leading the Irish to the title match of the NCAA Championship.
Recently, DiLucia served as the personal coach for the then world’s #1-ranked women’s player, Lindsay Davenport, before her retirement. Davenport, who finished both 2004 and ’05 as the world #1, hired DiLucia in late December of 2005. He then moved from Key Biscayne, Fla., to join Davenport for a brief training stint in southern California. The pair went to Hong Kong for an exhibition event to begin 2006 and then headed down under to Australia in preparation for the season-opening grand slam.
As a professional, DiLucia played in the singles main draw of every grand-slam event and notched wins over such players as former world #1s Gustavo Kuerten and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, as well as Mark Philippoussis and David Wheaton. He peaked at 248th in the world in singles and 92nd in doubles and went on to clinch the 2001 World Team Tennis title for the Philadelphia Freedoms before retiring and joining the USTA staff as a coach for its high performance program in 2004.
Prior to his time with Davenport, DiLucia spent two years on the USTA staff before rejoining the staff in November of 2006. Prior to working with the USTA in 2004, DiLucia was a traveling coach for Lisa Raymond and other touring professionals.
DiLucia is one of several former Irish tennis players who have gone on to successful coaching career. Brian Kalbas (’89) was an assistant at Notre Dame immediately after graduation and then moved on to be the head women’s tennis coach at William & Mary, being named ITA National Coach of the Year in 1998. He is now in his fifth season as the head coach at North Carolina, which has been a staple among the national top 10 during his time there. Doubles All-American Andy Zurcher (’94) also was an assistant under Bayliss, and he was tabbed the 1997 ITA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Three-time All-American Ryan Sachire (’00) was the assistant coach for Baylor, the 2004 NCAA champions and ’05 runners-up, in 2006 before spending the last two years back at Notre Dame under Bayliss.
DiLucia will become the first player to represent Notre Dame in the Hall of Fame. Legendary head coach Tom Fallon was inducted in 1998.
— ND —