Aug. 31, 2001
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback has signed a multi-year contract to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish women’s tennis program. During his 12-year tenure, Louderback’s teams have made eight appearances in the NCAA women’s championship and have advanced to the round of 16 each of the past two seasons.
The 22-year veteran of the collegiate ranks has guided Notre Dame to a 225-101 record (.690) since he took over as head coach in the fall of 1989 and owns an overall record of 429-279 for a .606 winning, percentage. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Louderback spent seven seasons at Wichita State (1980-86) and three years at Iowa State (1987-89).
The Arkansas City, Kan., native has developed the Irish into one of the top women’s programs in the country. He also was influential in bringing the NCAA women’s tennis championship to Notre Dame in 1998 — an event that will return to the University in 2003.
Louderback has been recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the Regional Coach of the Year three times (1995, ’98 and 2000) as his teams have compiled a 50-4 record against regional opponents since 1996. He also has been selected as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year five times in six years while leading his teams to four conference crowns in ’96, ’97, ’99 and 2001.
In the last eight years, Louderback has coached his players to 13 All-America honors. Most notably, Michelle Dasso, an ’01 graduate, became the first Irish player to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Division I tournament, while earning All-America accolades in both singles and doubles this past season. She also became the first Irish player to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Division I tournament in May of ’01 and the first to reach the finals of a grand slam event when she made it to the final of the now-defunct National Clay Court Championships. Dasso teamed with Becky Varnum to earn a doubles seed at the NCAA championship and a final ranking of ninth. She was selected as the ITA national senior player of the year in ’01, the first Irish women’s tennis player to earn the award.
Notre Dame’s ’01 squad, which was ranked 10th in the final ITA poll, posted its best record under Louderback as the Irish finished with a 25-5 record, marking the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in six seasons that they had reached the 20-win plateau. It also was the best mark ever by a Notre Dame team since beginning play at the NCAA Division I level in 1985-86.
“Jay Louderback certainly has done a terrific job in elevating our women’s tennis program,” said Notre Dame director of athletics Kevin White. “His teams have annually been ranked among the best in the country nationally. Jay is well-respected by his coaching peers and is extremely popular with his players.
“Jay was instrumental in helping bring the NCAA championships to Notre Dame in ’98 and back to our campus in ’03. We look forward again to having the opportunity to showcase our superb facilities to coaches and student-athletes from others schools.”
“Notre Dame has become a very special place for me and my family,” said Louderback. “I appreciate the support and commitment Kevin White has shown to my program as well as to the entire athletic department. This is a very exciting time here at Notre Dame for everyone associated with the University.”