The Texas Tech women's tennis team will prepare for their second year under the direction of head coach Virginia Brown. Experience and education could be two words to describe her first year at the helm of the Texas Tech women's tennis program. The squad finished 3-18 with all wins coming on the road. Brown, an experienced winner as coach, came to Texas Tech with a vision of nothing but the best. Through last year's rough road the women's squad has learned and have recruited, adding many new faces that will impact the squad immediately.
A graduate of Baylor University, Brown began her coaching career at Odessa College. During her 16 years at Odessa coaching the men and women, Brown won 10 national junior college championships and finished as runner up six times. While at Odessa, Brown also found time to coach the University of Texas-Permian Basin women's tennis team. Her UTPB teams were consistent winners, finishing as high as fifth in the nation at one point. While it may seem hectic to coach two programs at once, Brown said it was a natural progression.
"UT-Permian Basin was an upper level school at that time for tennis and they were close together. The junior college players sort of fed into the UTPB team. We were able to practice together and travel together so it was possible to do both," she said.
During the off-season, Brown found time to coach professionally. She coached on the professional circuit for seven years and also coached world team tennis for nine years. Sandy Collins, one of her former professional players and now the women's assistant coach at Tech, was ranked as high as No. 17 on the circuit at one point while another one of her players, Ann Smith, won the Grand Slam in doubles and was ranked as high as No. 15.
Brown has been honored by her peers and by the media many times. She has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and is a past winner of the Texas Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year Award. She was the first woman to win the awared and at the time was the only woman to ever be nominated for the honor.
"That was a big honor for me" Brown said. "The year I won the award Tom Landry was selected as the professional coach, Forrest Gregg was selected as the collegiate coach and I was selected for the junior college level. It's not bad company to be in."
In 1988 Brown was honored as the NAIA Coach of the Year, an award voted on by her peers in the coaching ranks. She also served as president of the National Junior College Tennis Association.
With all the time she has spent in and around the sport of tennis, the opportunity to coach at Texas Tech is "icing on the cake" for Brown.
"Tennis has been so good to me," Brown said. "I've been very fortunate in this profession. It's something I love and enjoy and this is a reward to it all. Division I is something I've always wanted to coach in but just didn't pursue it."
"As you look at Texas Tech, I think they are on the move to make it truly first class. Everybody is really trying to build in their areas and I'm excited to be a part of that."
"My goal here is to mold this group into a team and start winning. It might not happen right away but I know we can get there."
COACH BROWN FILE
HOMETOWN: Fort Worth, Texas