Ole Miss Women's Tennis History
Women's Tennis at Ole Miss has become synonymous with excellence on and off the court since the beginning days in the middle 70s.
Recently retired head men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick got his start in coaching at Ole Miss as the women's tennis coach in 1979, laying the foundation for future success. In 1982, he led the women's team to the SEC finals, AIAW Nationals and the program's first top 20 national ranking.
Success continued in the 20th century with unprecedented heights reached. Four-time All-American Paloma Collantes is arguably the best player in the history of Ole Miss women's tennis. She became the first ever Ole Miss tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles. She led the Rebels to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1992 and 1993 and advance to the Final Four in singles her senior year (1994).
Led by All-Americans Marie-Laure Bougnol, Courtenay Chapman and Agnes Muzamel, in 1996, the program took a major step forward in becoming one of the top collegiate programs in the country when it finished the season ranked No. 8 in the nation, its highest team ranking ever at the time.
The Rebels would follow with top 10 finishes in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The 1999 season ranks as the most successful in program history. Ole Miss won its first SEC title, capturing the SEC Tournament Championship by knocking off 1998 NCAA Champion Florida, in the final. The Rebels posted their highest win total in history with a 24-5 overall record and finished second in the SEC at 12-2. Furthermore, the Rebels advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth time and earned their highest final national ranking ever at No. 6.
Muzamel became the second ever four-time All-American in women's tennis at Ole Miss and finished second all-time in wins (122) behind Collantes. Chapman became the first Rebel to win 100 singles and doubles matches in a career during her senior year in 1999.
Success continued into the 21st century, as longtime Rebel assistant Mark Beyers took over the reigns of the women's team. Under his watch, the Rebels captured their first of two SEC Western Division Championship in 2005 and made the program's 11th NCAA appearance.
The Rebels have made six consecutive NCAA appearances, including the Sweet Sixteen in 2010, and finished ranked in the Top 25 three times since 2009.
As has become a tradition with the Lady Rebels, the team has achieved outstanding success off the court. For the 18th consecutive year in 2014, the Rebels received the distinction of being named an ITA All-Academic Team. Numerous players have earned national academic honors, while also being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. The team has also won the Chancellor's Cup three times as the varsity team with the highest cumulative GPA.
With five of the top six returning and the addition of a talented recruiting class, the Rebels have their sights on making noise in the SEC and nationally in 2015.