For the fourth time during his seven seasons as men’s tennis coach at Tennessee, Sam Winterbotham has been named ITA Ohio Valley Region coach of the year.
Winterbotham led the No. 6 Vols (25-8) to a second-place finish in the SEC and to at least the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Tennessee will play Mississippi State on Thursday for a spot in the final eight.
The coach has helped the Vols bounce back from a 2011-12 season that saw them finish 15-14 and lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament with an almost entirely overhauled roster from the 2010-11 team.
But the bumps that inexperienced group took paid off this season. One player who has shown significant improvement, sophomore Mikelis Libietis, also was honored Tuesday as the Ohio Valley Region Player to Watch, an honor given to a player who has not yet won the regional singles championship and who is expected to play a significant role nationally next season. But as the No. 1 ranked player in the country in singles and doubles, Libietis also has made an impact this season.
Assistant coach and former Vol All-American Chris Woodruff was named the Ohio Valley Assistant Coach of the Year for the third time.