The Next Chapter
Toby Hansson
 
Toby Hansson

July 3, 2014

By Kim Ling,
Associate Athletics Media Relations Director

Eight years ago, Toby Hansson got a phone call from then-Ole Miss men’s tennis head coach Billy Chadwick with an opportunity to become the assistant coach. Hansson accepted the offer and the rest is history.  

Earlier this year, Hansson was tapped by athletics director Ross Bjork to replace Chadwick when the latter announced he would retire at the end of the 2014 season.

Hansson’s road to becoming the seventh head coach in Ole Miss men’s tennis history began as a child growing up in Bjärred, Sweden.  His father played tennis and has been involved with the sport for over 40 years. Tennis was all around Hansson and soon he picked up a racquet and started hitting balls. Hansson enjoyed several different sports as a kid, but settled on tennis.

“I basically tried every sport, but tennis was the one I was doing the best in and I had a lot of fun.  I had a lot of early success and in my junior career I continued having success,” Hansson said.

Through a connection from a family friend, Hansson left his home in Sweden as a junior player to go live with a family (Herschel and Kathleen Hodges) in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from Highland Park High School, Hansson received several scholarship offers from schools around the country, including SMU.

“I had a lot of support from the Hodges,” Hansson said. “I played several junior events and did quite well in Texas.  I got recruited by a few schools, including SMU. Since I was living close by, I decided to give it a try. I feel like for me it was a great choice. I enjoyed it.”

The Mustangs were on the rise when Hansson joined the program in 1997. He helped lead them to two WAC championships, three consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and two top-15 national finishes. Hansson earned All-America honors in singles and doubles and was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2000 and first team all-conference for both singles and doubles.  He was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in doubles and No. 13 in singles for the Mustangs.

Hansson graduated from SMU in 2000 and played professionally on the Futures Circuit before realizing something about himself.

“I discovered early on that I liked to help younger players.  When I was playing, I would give advice to all the younger players around.  It was natural for me to help out when I could.  After a few years of playing on the circuit, I got a phone call from the head coach at Texas Tech (Tim Siegel).  I didn’t know him that well, but I had competed against his assistant coach [at the time], Efe Ustundag, who is now the head coach at Rice. I decided to take the opportunity to be his assistant.  We had a great year [in 2005], finished No. 9 in the country and played Ole Miss in the [NCAA] round of 16.  We had the best year that Texas Tech has ever had, and I really enjoyed it.”

After one year of coaching, Hansson returned to Sweden and earned his master’s degree in international studies, while still trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.  On a visit to his host family in Dallas in the summer of 2006, Hansson received a phone call from Coach Chadwick hoping to persuade Hansson to give coaching a try again.

“He wanted me to come badly, and I felt like he really cared,” Hansson said. “He said if I didn’t like it, he could help me out in the direction I wanted to go. It worked out and it didn’t take me long to realize this is actually what I want to do.  I got great response from the guys on the team. I feel like that was probably the most important thing to convince me that I was on the right path.”

The relationship was mutually beneficial to all parties.  During his eight years alongside Chadwick, Hansson helped the Rebels maintain their tradition of excellence on and off the court, while learning the ins and outs of running a championship program.

“There are so many things I’ve learned from coach. He’s taught me to look at things from a positive angle at all times.  I’ve also learned to focus and pay attention to all the details. He stays involved in everything he does and is very meticulous in his work.  He taught me to be grateful for what you have around you every day and for the people you have around you and treat them like family.”

In Hansson’s eight seasons with the program as an assistant and most recently associate head coach, the Rebels finished among the nation’s top 10 four times and the top 15 five times. During that span, the Rebels produced the most All-Americans in the country with 11, including the most in the country in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

Hansson has been preparing for this moment for the last eight years, largely involved in the day-to-day running of the program, especially in recruiting.

“I am very happy that Coach Chadwick gave me the opportunity to be very active in the process,” Hansson said.  “He gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of freedom to go out there and find talent.  He showed me what to look for in a player.  I think we’ve done a really good job with all the individual accolades that all the players have received. I would like to say that we’ve both been successful at getting a lot of great players, and I want to continue to do that.”

Hansson is looking forward to putting his stamp on the program and building on the foundation that Chadwick laid.

“When you are around someone for eight years and talk to them on a daily basis, you can’t help but be influenced by the things that they say or do and the lessons you learn,” Hansson said. “No matter how much I try to be like him, I could never be Billy Chadwick.  I can always be Toby Hansson and that’s what I will do.”

When Bjork and Chadwick discussed his retiring, Chadwick made it known that Hansson was ready to take over a program he had built to prominence.

“Toby is one of the top young coaches in the country,” Chadwick said. “We’ve been very fortunate in that a lot of our success stems directly to him. For him to take over, what you’re going to see is we’re not even going to have a bump in the road. The program’s in great hands.”

The good thing for the returning players and incoming freshmen, they know what to expect with Hansson as their new coach.

“We have respect for each other and I feel like the transition will be very smooth, Hansson said. “They respond well to me and they are a great group of guys.  I am very fortunate to be working with them and I am thankful for the opportunity that Ross and Lynnette (Johnson) have given me.”

The Rebels will return six of their top seven players from this year’s team and will be bolstered by one of the nation’s top recruiting classes next season.

“I feel like we have a very competitive team and my focus will be on helping them develop and improve every single day,” Hansson said. “If you improve every day, the results will come. I am really looking forward to next year.  I have a great feeling about this group of guys. They are a hard-working group and are all willing to do what it takes to win every day.  We have the foundation and opportunity to do something big next year.”

The next chapter in Ole Miss men’s tennis begins now.


 

 

    • Raven Saunders the Talk of Track & Field World

      Friday, June 10, 2016 - Track & Field

      After Raven Saunders won her third NCAA shot put title and broke a 33-year-old collegiate record yesterday, she was due for some headlines in the track & field world. Her outgoing personality and flashy demeanor in front of the huge... read more

    • Oxford Regional - The Competition

      Friday, June 3, 2016 -

       By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant The 2016 season has been a big one for the Rebels. The 40-16 regular season record was the fourth 40-win regular season in program history. The Rebels went 18-12... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Sunday, April 17, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Saturday, April 16, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Friday, April 15, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • Ole Miss School Of Pharmacy Names Todd Sandroni Distinguished Alum

      Saturday, April 9, 2016 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThis weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field... read more

    • The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

      Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on... read more

    • Break Out the Powder Blue

      Monday, February 29, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsYou've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past... read more

    • Watch Six Rebels at NFL Combine on NFL Network

      Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Football

      Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.The Path to the Draft... read more

    • Welcome Back to Baseball

      Monday, February 22, 2016 - Baseball

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole... read more

    • Ole Miss Baseball 2016 Walk Out Music

      Friday, February 19, 2016 - Baseball

      With the 2016 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning today at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. FIU), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite?#1 DJ Miller: "Go DJ" by Lil Wayne#2 Ryan Olenek:... read more

    • Ole Miss to Appear at SEC Football Media Days on July 14

      Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - Football

      The Southeastern Conference today announced Kickoff '16, its annual football media days, will be held July 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and selected players (TBA) will visit... read more

    • Rebels Rule NCAA Stats, SEC History

      Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - Football

      Last week, I wrote this story about the 64 school records and numerous program firsts that Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss football team accomplished in 2015.Today let's take a closer look at where the Rebels' season stacked up in the national... read more

    • What They're Saying in 2015

      Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football is one of five programs in the nation to make back-to-back New Year's Six bowl games and will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 2016) for the first time since 1970. The Rebels are the... read more

    • Ole Miss Football: 2015 Offensive Juggernaut

      Thursday, December 3, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Rebel Offense Shatters School Records... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook

» «