Wednesday, July 15, 2020

New BYU men’s tennis head coach Dave Porter plans to continue winning ways

Dave Porter is an 11-time national champion tennis head coach. He has compiled a .882 winning percentage and 1,410 career victories, making him the winningest coach in collegiate tennis history.

He is also the new director of tennis and head coach of the BYU men’s tennis program.  

The Provo, Utah native is heading home after spending nearly 40 years coaching and teaching at BYU-Hawaii and is eager to hit the ground running with his new team.

“I’ve spoken with all of the players already, including the incoming freshmen, and they have an excellent attitude,” Porter said. “They have suggested to me that they are excited and ready to work hard.”

Porter, a former BYU tennis and basketball player himself, started the BYU-Hawaii men’s tennis program in 1984. In 1992, Porter took over the women’s program and continued to coach both teams until the university discontinued its athletics program in 2017.

Over the course of his 33-year coaching career, Porter was named ITA National Coach of the Year six times and led his teams to over 40 NCAA DII and NAIA national tournament appearances. He coached 13 first-team NAIA All-Americans, 44 NCAA Division II All-Americans and five NAIA scholar-athletes.

BYU men’s tennis player Sean Hill winds up for a serve during one of the team’s matches last season. The program recently hired Dave Porter as its new men’s tennis head coach. Porter hopes to continue his winning ways with the Cougars after recording 1,410 total victories as head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams at BYU-Hawaii. (BYU Photo)

In short, Porter knows what it takes to succeed on the court, and he plans on continuing his winning ways while at BYU.

“The goal is to win the conference and make it to the NCAA Tournament every year,” Porter said. “Having a climate where excellence is valued is key, and that certainly is the case at BYU.”

Porter hopes to convince his new team to never be completely satisfied with past successes. According to Porter, one of the most important lessons an athlete can learn is to always be looking for ways to further develop and improve their game.

Porter sees plenty of potential among his new players and is looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish. The Cougars, whose last conference championship win was in 2011, finished the shortened 2019-20 campaign with a 5-7 record but were a perfect 4-0 at home. Despite losing senior captains David Ball and Sam Tullis, along with ITA Mountain Region Senior Player of the Year Sean Hill, BYU’s incoming 2020-21 class was recently ranked in the top-25 by Tennis Recruiting Network.

In addition to helping his team succeed on the court, Porter also plans on teaching his players the importance of applying lessons learned from the sport to their personal lives.

“The most important goal is to assist the young men in the program to complete their education, become better people and prepare for a lifetime of service,” Porter said. “Hopefully they can learn a lot of those lessons through tennis.”

Hannah Miner
Freshman Jack Barnett practices with the BYU men’s tennis team during the 2019-20 season. (Hannah Miner)

Porter believes that creating a positive and safe environment where teammates can push and motivate each other will allow success to follow. Porter noted that his most unified teams at BYU-Hawaii were also the most successful ones on the court. He listed several such teams that have remained in constant contact with each other to this day.

Porter feels BYU is the perfect place to recruit and develop hard working student athletes determined to succeed. He believes any future recruits attracted to the university’s academics have what it takes to help instill a winning culture within the tennis program.

“BYU is not a hard pitch,” Porter said. “Most of the players are coming to continue to excel, to hit a peak, to prepare for a future and to have an experience with a dozen other young men who all have similar goals. Those who come in ready to work together to create something will develop and have long-lasting relationships.”

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