May 24, 2000
ATHENS, Ga. — Notre Dame senior men’s tennis All-American Ryan Sachire lost a first-round match at the NCAA singles championships in Athens, Ga., to Arizona State’s Alex Osterreith 7-6 (11-9), 6-3, but later in the evening was named the winner of both the Ted A. Farnsworth/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Senior Player of the Year and the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award winner, sweeping both national senior awards. Sachire was selected for both awards from nominees from the eight regions in NCAA Division I men’s tennis regions. The Canfield, Ohio, native is the first Notre Dame player to win either award.
“To win the senior player of the year came as a complete shock and it certainly was amazing to win both awards,” said Sachire. “It’s almost like I’ve been given a gift already to be at Notre Dame and be able play college tennis so to be given awards for it is pretty special. I wish I could give college tennis an award because of how much these four years have meant to me but instead I was awarded.”
“Today was a pretty tough day. I wasn’t exactly on cloud nine after the loss. Granted it was my last match, but it was just one match. These awards have helped me see the big picture. They have put things into perspective and helped me realize all the great memories I’ll have.”
“I’m extremely proud of Ryan and his achievements,” said 13th-year Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “No one has put more into his tennis in my tenure at Notre Dame than Ryan Sachire. He has always put the team’s success ahead of his individual success. I look forward to following him as he begins a career in professional tennis. Ryan will always be a special part of Notre Dame men’s tennis.”
The National-Senior-Player-of-the-Year award, which also factors in a player’s improvement throughout his career, was renamed in memory of former Princeton player Ted Farnsworth, who won this award in 1984. The John Van Nostrand Memorial Award gives a stipend to an outstanding senior who completes college studies at an NCAA or NAIA school, is a varsity award winner, demonstrates financial need and plans to pursue a professional tennis career. Sachire graduated from Notre Dame on Sunday with a degree in economics.
Sachire completed his career at Notre Dame on Wednesday with a four-year record of 138-43, including a 30-11 mark this season as he became the first Irish player in modern history to win at least 30 singles matches every year. Currently ranked ninth in the ITA rankings, Sachire has earned singles All-America honors for the third consecutive year, joining former Irish player David DiLucia (1989-92) as the only players in the 77-year history of Notre Dame men’s tennis to earn three singles All-America honors.
He came to Notre Dame without much fanfare in the fall of 1996 but, with his trademark hard work and intensity, worked his way into the No. 1 singles spot – a position he would hold all four years — and developed into one of the best players in the country with a booming serve and big, compact groundstrokes to go with his 6-6 frame. Sachire compiled a 77-19 record at the top singles spot and was 64-24 in doubles in dual matches at all three doubles positions and 73-32 overall in doubles. He voted the team’s MVP all four of his years at Notre Dame and has been named to both the 1998 and 1999 United State Tennis Association USA Tennis Summer Collegiate Team and is a finalist for the 2000 six-person squad as well.
As a freshman he went 37-9 in singles and reached the round of 32 at the ’97 NCAA championships and the final of the ITA Region IV Singles Championships. Sachire avoided any sophomore slump by earning All-America honors by all three ITA criteria: earning a seed at the ’98 NCAA championships, advancing to the NCAA third round and finishing as a top 20 singles player in the ITA rankings with a 34-14 record. Sachire reached his first ITA collegiate grand slam final as a junior at the ITA All-American Championships and later won the consolation singles title at the Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the third leg of the grand slam, before finishing with a 37-9 record. He was named the top seed of the first two grand slams as a senior and reached the semifinals of the first at the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court Championships. Sachire was named the BIG EAST Championship most outstanding player for the second consecutive season.