Sam Paul (far left) has been named National Coach of the Year
Sam Paul (far left) has been named National Coach of the Year
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Paul Named National Coach Of The Year
Release: 05/31/2017

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Following a landmark season for the North Carolina men's tennis program, Tar Heel head coach Sam Paul has been honored as the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year.

“The credit goes to my players,” Paul said.  “What an amazing ride they took us on this year. Our seniors – Ronnie, Jack and Chad – made such an impact on our program.  Tripp Phillips is incredible, one of the best coaches in the world. And Stuart DePaolo was so important to our success, as is our support staff. It's a village and a group effort.

“In the end it's really all about the players. They're the ones who made this happen. I'm so proud to be their coach. I just feel really fortunate to be at Carolina and to have these guys.”

Paul's 24th season as Carolina's head coach was a stellar one for the program. The Tar Heels finished as the NCAA runner-up, reaching the national championship match for the first time in program history and winning a school-record 29 matches. They finished the season ranked third overall, the highest post-season ranking in program history.

Senior Ronnie Schneider was named ITA Senior Player of the Year and freshman William Blumberg the ITA Rookie of the Year. Blumberg went on to reach the NCAA singles final, the first Tar Heel to reach that point, and earn All-America honors in singles and doubles. Junior Robert Kelly also was All-America in doubles.

The team also had an outstanding spring semester academically, with a team grade point average of 3.25, the highest semester average since 2012.

Paul became UNC's all time winningest coach this season with his 419th victory. He will enter the 2017-18 season as the ACC's winningest active coach with 444 victories.


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