Sandy Collins enters her fourth year with the Red Raider tennis squad and her first season as head coach. Collins took over the head coaching duties in the fall of 2002 ?It is always exciting to start another season but also nerve racking. You have confidence in you team, but never really know until you get that first win,? Collins said.
Collins, a native of San Bernardino, California, went to Odessa College after high school where she played tennis for Coach Virginia Brown. After two seasons at Odessa, Collins moved on to UT-Permian Basin where she concluded her collegiate career.
Collins started a highly successful amatuer career in 1978 on the professional circuit and went on to turn pro after her graduation in 1980. She continued her pro career until 1995. During her 17 years on the tour Collins had some impressive accomplishments, including beating Billie Jean King in 1982.
Collins downplays the victory over the tennis legend.
?I was young and just getting started, she was at the end of her tennis career. I just caught her at the right time,? she said.
Collins had a successful pro career with a number of victories over top competition. She defeated Tracy Austin at the German Open in 1983 at a time when Austin was ranked No. 1 in the world. At different points in her career, Collins was ranked as high as 17th in the world in singles and doubles. She played at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open 18 times and was paired in doubles with partners such as Mary Pierce and Amanda Coetzer.
Her latest appearance at Wimbeldon was last summer. Collins was one of 16 women invited to return to England and play in the 35-and-over doubles event. The 16 players were paired off and placed into two groups of four teams. Each team was guaranteed at least three matches in a round-robin format.
Through her accomplishments Collins was recognized by Oakley Sunglasses. She became the first tennis athlete to be endorsed by the company.
Collins retired from the professional circuit in January 1995 and began coaching at Tech in 1999 with her mentor and former coach, Virginia Brown.
Collins says the chance to work with her college and pro coach at Texas Tech was an opportunity she was eager to accept. She brings to the coaching level knowledge and experience of the game that is hard to match.
There is only one thing that Collins enjoys more than tennis and that is spending time with her daughter Reagan.