Women’s tennis coach wins Midwest honors

women's tennis

Women’s tennis coach Shannon Tully, right, shown with player Jana Knoppe, was named ITA Midwest Coach of the Year. Photo: Steve Woltmann

By Laura White

UIC women’s tennis head coach Shannon Tully was named the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year for the Midwest Region.

The honor, announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, is the first such accolade of Tully’s career.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award and to lead this great program at UIC,” Tully said.

“Every year is a new year, this year especially with four new players and only three returners.  It was a totally new experience just trying to get the team to gel and to understand our history and what everything means.  It has been a really exciting year with such a new group.”

In her 12th season at the helm of the women’s tennis program, Tully guided the Flames to their 17th-consecutive conference championship after a record of 14-5 during the dual season, going 6-1 against Horizon League opponents.

After capturing the Horizon League title, UIC went on to make its 15th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

During Tully’s career, she has tabulated an overall record of 193-89, with a 118-1 record against Horizon League foes.  With 33-consecutive conference wins already in place at the start of her first season in 2001-02, Tully had the longest win streak in NCAA history to 146-straight before the Flames dropped a 4-3 decision to Detroit April 6.

Tully, eight-time Horizon League Coach of the Year, also set program records in the 2011-12 season with UIC’s 16-match win streak, defeating a nationally-ranked opponent (No. 75 Akron) for the first time in school history.

Tully has brought in several top recruits to continuously field nationally-competitive teams year after year.  Mariya Kovaleva, Tully’s No. 1 player from 2008-12, was named Horizon League Player of the Year four times and garnered a flawless 37-0 singles record against conference foes.

Tully also coached UIC’s first-ever ranked player when Beatriz Cabrera broke through the ITA rankings at No. 104 in 2004.  Cabrera finished the 2004 season as the 10th-ranked player in the Midwest Region.

Tully has also served on the ITA Midwest Regional Committee and on the NCAA Regional Committee.

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