(Courtesy of Pacific Media Relations)
STOCKTON, Calif. - Tina Samara will take over the Pacific women's tennis program as the next head coach, it was announced Thursday. Samara joins the Tigers after three seasons at Wisconsin.
"We're extremely pleased to welcome Tina to the Pacific Tigers family," said Director of Athletics Dr. Ted Leland. "She has a wealth of experience as a head coach, and as a national championship winning player, but what really stands out is player development. At every stop in her career, Tina has proven the ability to help her student-athletes reach their potential to be the best players they can possibly be, and best student-athletes they can be."
"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to be the next head coach for the Pacific women's tennis program," Samara said. "Pacific has a tremendous reputation academically and is clearly climbing the national ranks in all of their sports as well. I am so impressed with the caliber of coaches and staff at Pacific. I can't wait to join an athletic department that is truly a family. I want to thank Dr. Leland, Tim Dickson, and Ryan Redondo for believing I can take this program to new heights."
At Wisconsin, Samara brought in some of the best recruiting classes in school history. Two of her players finished ranked in the final ITA Rankings, with Lauren Chypyha peaking as high as No. 32 and sophomore Ekaterina Stepanova finishing in the top 100. Under her leadership, the Badgers increased their Big Ten Conference win totals each season, climbing in the standings each year, despite routinely facing 10 or more ranked opponents.
The Badgers posted their most conference wins since 2011 in the last two seasons, and Samara also helped the development of Chypyha, UW's first three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection since 2007, who posted a 51-20 over the last two seasons, including a mark of 31-11 at No. 1 singles.
Prior to Wisconsin, Samara was the head coach at West Virginia starting with the 2010-11 season, where she guided the program through the transition from the Big East to Big XII, and brought two of the top ranked played in Mountaineer program history. In three seasons at West Virginia, her team netted 20 Big East Academic Honor Roll selections.
Her first head coach appointment came at Louisiana-Lafayette, where she led the program to the semifinal round of the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The 2010 Ragin' Cajuns posted the highest grade-point average of any team in the school's athletic department.
Samara also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado, 2006-07 and 2007–08, helping the Buffaloes to the program's best record since 1999 and a third place finish. Colorado finished ranked No. 37 nationally, the program's highest ranking in eight years.
She graduated from the University of Georgia in 1996, where she was a two-time All-American. While earning a degree in family and consumer sciences, she led the Bulldogs to the program's first-ever NCAA title in 1994, clinching a doubles match to win the national championship. She was part of the No. 1 ranked doubles tandem in 1995 and won the National Clay Court doubles title in the fall of 1994. The team won the USTA/ITA National Indoor title in 1994 and 1995, with both competitions held in Madison.
Samara also won the 1993 Collegiate Grasscourt singles championship, was a member of Georgia's 1994 SEC title team and was a two-time national team indoor champion.
In addition to her career on the USTA/WTA/LTA Pro tour, Samara represented Norway for three years in the Federation Cup (1996-98). Samara spent five years competing and coaching on the USTA/WTA/LTA Pro tour before her coaching stops at Colorado, Louisiana-Lafayette and West Virginia.