June 13, 2014
COMPLETE PEPPERDINE RELEASE
MALIBU, Calif. - Proven winner and championship-caliber coach Per Nilsson will lead the Pepperdine women's tennis team into a new era as he has been named to succeedGualberto Escudero as the head coach. Nilsson is a familiar face in Malibu and was an assistant coach for the Waves' men's tennis team for five seasons, including the 2006 squad that won the NCAA championship.
"I am so excited for Per's return to Pepperdine to lead our women's tennis program," said Director of Athletics Steve Potts. "Per has enjoyed great success all along his coaching career and I am confident that he will be able to take our very successful program to even greater heights. Per's commitment to our Christian mission, to the academic well-being of our student-athletes and to competing for championships at the highest level make him a great fit for Pepperdine."
After leaving Pepperdine in 2007, Nilsson spent the last seven seasons coaching the men's squad at his alma mater, Mississippi State. There he compiled a record of 95-76 while going 36-42 in the tough Southeastern Conference. He led the Bulldogs to back-to-back SEC West titles in 2011 and 2012 and brought MSU to four-straight NCAA Tournaments from 2011-14.
"I'm still speechless," Nilsson said upon his hiring. "I will never forget my first day at Pepperdine 12 years ago. It is such a special place and a dream to return and coach the women's team.
"I want to sincerely thank Dr. Potts and President (Andrew) Benton for giving me the opportunity and entrusting the women's team to me," continued Nilsson. "Coach Escudero has built an amazing program at Pepperdine and it's such an honor to be able to work alongside him as we continue to move forward."
Nilsson takes over for Escudero, who has been at the helm for 37 seasons beginning in 1977-78. He stepped down at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, but will remain on staff as the associate head coach. Nilsson inherits a team that has made 27 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and captured the West Coast Conference championship for the 24th time in 2014 while earning a final national ITA ranking of #24.