By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – After leading the Ole Miss women’s tennis team to the most wins in more than a decade and a top 25 final national ranking for the third time in four years, Rebel head coach Mark Beyers has agreed to terms for a new four-year contract.
Beyers coached the Rebels to their fourth straight NCAA appearance this past year and a final national ranking of No. 18. The Rebels (18-9) hosted the NCAA first and second rounds for the first time since 1999 and finished among the top four in the overall SEC standings for the second time in three years. The 18 wins are the most since the 1999 team posted 21. The Rebels also advanced to the National Team Indoor Final 16 for the first time since 2000.
“Our women’s tennis program is a perennial NCAA and top-25 team with Coach Beyers at the helm,” said Lynnette Johnson, Executive Associate Athletics Director. “We continue to compete for championships and graduate our student-athletes. The future is very bright for this program under Mark’s guidance.”
“I would like to thank Ross Bjork and Lynnette Johnson for their confidence in me,” said Mark Beyers, two-time ITA Southern Region Coach of the Year. “I am very honored to remain the head coach at Ole Miss and look forward to continuing our quest to bring SEC and national championships to Oxford. With our upgraded facility and new athletics leadership, there is no place I would rather be coaching than right here at Ole Miss.”
In addition to an 8-3 record in the SEC to finish fourth overall, the Rebels reached the SEC Tournament semifinals for the third time in four years.
Kristi Boxx and Abby Guthrie earned All-America honors bringing the total in the program to 10. Boxx became the second Rebel player ever to earn All-SEC first team honors all four years as well as the second player in program history to record 200 combined wins in singles and doubles. Boxx was joined on the All-SEC team by Caroline-Rohde Moe, Abby Guthrie and freshman Erin Stephens. Julia Jones made the All-Freshman Team along with Stephens.
Since taking over the program in 2002, Beyers has coached five players to All-America honors and 14 players to All-SEC honors.
In addition to on-court success, Beyers’ teams have been among the best in the nation academically. The Rebels have earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award 15 consecutive years. Senior Gabby Rangel was a finalist for the SEC Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Postgraduate Scholarship and earned a prestigious Taylor Medal (highest academic honor at university). Both Rangel and Boxx graduated this past May, and Rangel graduated with highest honors.
The Rebels return five of the top seven from this year’s team, including All-SEC performers Rohde-Moe, Stephens and Jones in addition to sophomore Vivian Vlaar and freshman Iris Verboven. Also returning is Paige Keating. The team will add Russian native Santa Shumilina, who joined the Rebels in January and will be eligible in 2013, and Swedish standout Marija Milutinovic who signed this spring and will arrive in the fall.