The Notre Dame men's tennis team closed out their regular season home schedule with a 5-2 win over Ball State.
One of the top players in the 87-year history of the University of Notre Dame men's tennis program, Ryan Sachire is in his seventh year at his alma mater. He served the first two as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in the summer of 2008.
Sachire ended his professional career in 2005 and was an assistant at Baylor in 2005-06, helping the Bears reach the semifinals of the NCAA Championship. A three-time singles All-American with the Irish, he replaced former Irish assistant Todd Doebler, who was hired as the head coach at Penn State.
Sachire's effect on the Irish took absolutely no time to take hold. In his first season at Notre Dame, the Irish reached the NCAA round-of-16 for the second straight year, finished with the most victories in a single-season since 1980-81 and ended the campaign ranked sixth in the country (the highest ranking to close a season since being ranked third at the completion of the 1991-92 season). Sachire also was instrumental in the performance of Stephen Bass, who not only became the 18th All-American in Notre Dame men's tennis history, but also captured the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award, which provides a stipend to the top senior player embarking on a professional career (an award Sachire captured in 2000).
In 2008, Sachire again helped guide the Irish to the BIG EAST title and their 17th NCAA Championship appearance. Notre Dame did so despite the graduation of three of its top six players from 2006-07 and the inclusion of three freshmen into the six starting singles spots.
In 2009, Sachire helped the Irish to their 18th NCAA Championship appearance while featuring a young lineup that showcased underclassmen at five of the six starting singles spots. He also helped guide Brett Helgeson to his second consecutive NCAA Championship Singles Draw appearance.
During the 2010 season, Sachire guided Casey Watt and Daniel Stahl to their second all-BIG EAST honor and Stephen Havens to his first all-league award. Watt also finished runner-up at the ITA Midwest Regional and advanced to the NCAA Singles Championship Draw.
In 2011, Sachire helped a talented group of newcomers make an immediate impact with the Irish as Billy Pecor put together a 10-2 fall campaign before being lost to injury, while Greg Andrews composed a 24-14 record, including 16-10 during the dual season that he eventually parlayed into being named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year; the first time an Irish player has earned the honor since the inception of the award.
Last year Sachire helped head coach Bobby Bayliss tutor BIG EAST Player of the Year and NCAA Singles Championship participant Andrews and NCAA Doubles Championship participants Niall Fitzgerald and Casey Watt as the Irish won 20-plus matches and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Sachire also has been a major factor in recruiting, as each of the six recruiting classes since his return to the Irish have ranked among the top-15 in the country, including the class of 2016 that will compete for the first time in 2013 and was ranked ninth by TennisRecruiting.net.
During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Sachire helped coach the elite USTA Collegiate Team as they competed against professional players from around the world. The experience led Sachire around the country as he mentored the top collegiate players in the nation.
Sachire was instrumental in helping Baylor compile an outstanding season in 2005-06. Despite losing two NCAA singles champions (Benjamin Becker and Benedikt Dorsch) to graduation, the Bears finished 25-7 and No. 4 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings. Baylor advanced all the way to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship before falling 4-3 to then-undefeated national No. 1 Georgia. The Bears won their fifth consecutive Big 12 Conference championship. Sachire helped several individual players to strong performances, as sophomore Lars Poerschke ascended to the national No. 1 ranking in singles on Jan. 10, 2006, and went on to be an All- American. Baylor ended up with three players (Poerschke No. 4, Michal Kokta No. 34, Matija Zgaga No. 62) and two doubles teams (Kokta/Poerschke No. 11, John Reckewey/Zgaga No. 51) in the final ITA national rankings.
Sachire remains one of the top players in Irish tennis history. He is the only Notre Dame player ever to win 30-plus singles matches in all four of his collegiate seasons and one of only two to earn four invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship. One of three Notre Dame players ever to be a three-time All-American, he finished in the national top 40 in singles four times and on five occasions appeared at a career-high of No. 2 in the ITA national singles rankings (four of those instances saw him behind only Harvard's James Blake). Sachire posted a 138-43 record in singles - placing him second on Notre Dame's all-time wins list - and a 73-32 mark in doubles.
In 2000, he swept the ITA's major awards for seniors, being tabbed the Ted A. Farnsworth/ITA National Senior Player of the Year while winning the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award, which provides a stipend to the top senior player embarking on a professional career.
An elite singles player throughout his career - he was 72-19 at No. 1 singles - Sachire was a regular in the collegiate grand slams. His best result was a trip to the title match of the 1998 ITA All-American Championships, where he lost to Blake. He also won the consolation title in the 1999 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and reached the semifinals of the 1999 ITA National Clay Court Championships. He also reached the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Championships three times, including a runner-up result in 1996. Sachire three times was invited to be on the elite USTA Summer Collegiate Team that trains and plays pro tournaments together in the summer.
Sachire ranks among the top five in 13 different categories in the Irish record book. Among his notable career rankings are second in combined singles and doubles victories (211) and combined singles and doubles dual-match victories (141), third in wins at No. 1 singles and doubles dual-match victories (64), as well as fifth in singles dual-match wins (77).
He helped the Irish compile a 67-33 (.670) mark during his collegiate days, as well as four consecutive finishes in the national top 35 (including 16th in 1997), four NCAA tournament bids and the 1999 BIG EAST Conference championship. Sachire was twice tabbed the conference tournament MVP and was the ITA Midwest Region Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000 after being the region's top rookie in `97. He was voted the team's MVP four times. A two-time BIG EAST Conference Academic All-Star, Sachire graduated in 2000 with a degree in economics.
Upon leaving Notre Dame, Sachire played five years of professional tennis, climbing to as high as 184th in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) world doubles rankings and 391st in singles before retiring in 2004. He captured 16 tournament titles in doubles, 14 on the futures circuit, as well as challenger-level championships at Waco in 2002 and Atlantic City in 2003. In singles, Sachire has a pair of pro titles to his credit, winning futures events in St. Joseph, Mo. (2002) and Lachine, Quebec (2003). He was among the top 35 American players in the ATP rankings in both singles and doubles and also served as director of tennis for the Wickertree Tennis and Fitness Center in Columbus, Ohio, before joining the Baylor staff.
Sachire is a native of Canfield, Ohio, and a 1996 graduate of Canfield High School. He dropped just five singles matches during his entire prep career en route to capturing a pair of Ohio state singles titles. He also was ranked as high as 24th in the USTA national singles rankings in the 16-and-under division.
Sachire married the former Cindy Harding - a 1999 Notre Dame graduate and former Irish cheerleader - on June 30, 2006, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus. Ryan and Cindy have two daughters, Anna and Emily.