March 6, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame men's tennis head coach Bobby Bayliss added another honor to his already rich coaching legacy recently as he has been selected to be part of the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.
The 2013 ITA Men's Collegiate Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet is scheduled for May 22 during the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Championships at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill. Joining Bayliss in making up the class of 2013 are coaches Dennis Emery (Kentucky) and John Peterson (Tyler Junior College), players Paul Goldstein (Stanford University), Kelly Jones (Pepperdine University) and Harold Solomon (Rice University) and contributor Alan Schwartz (Yale University).
"I am still a bit numbed with this honor," said Bayliss. "It's not something you aspire to or dwell on as a coach, but rather something that simply happens. Going in this year makes it special for me, coming right at the end of the season. The ITA requires there to be a ten year time period for selection from the end of a player's career, but only a ten minute break from that of a coach. I only found out that I was on the ballot because I saw the list of nominees prior to balloting. Most coaches announce their retirement towards the end of their last season, but mine was known well in advance; this allowed me to be eligible now.
"This recognition is certainly surreal - thinking about so many of the previous induction ceremonies and imagining myself in this position, being included with so many other coaches and players that I have admired for so long. Having the privilege of coaching at Notre Dame has certainly allowed me to do things that otherwise might not have been possible."
Bayliss, who came to Notre Dame from MIT in 1987, has amassed 463 wins with the Irish and 754 overall in his 44-year head-coaching career. The 754 wins make him the active career leader for men's Division I tennis and puts him sixth on the all-time list, one win from a tie for fifth place.
The Richmond, Va., native is a five-time ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and was honored in 1992 as the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year after helping the Irish to the 1992 NCAA Finals. To reach the finals the Irish, who were seeded 10th, knocked off No. 7 Mississippi State, 5-3, No. 3 Georgia, 5-4, and No. 1 Southern Cal, 5-1, before losing to No. 2 Stanford, 5-0.
Bayliss has led the Irish to the NCAA Championship 21 times since 1991, including every year since 2004.
Along the way Bayliss has coached 11 All-Americans in singles, including three-time All-American and coach in waiting Ryan Sachire, and eight All-Americans in doubles.
Seven student-athletes have been named ITA Midwest Region Player of the Year, while four newcomers were tabbed ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year.
The Irish under Bayliss have often dominated the BIG EAST, as Notre Dame has reached the finals of the BIG EAST Championship in 15 of the 17 seasons it has been in the league. The Irish have reached at least the semifinals all 17 years, with seven titles, seven runner-up finishes, one third place finish and fourth place finish. The 2003 finals between the Irish and Miami was suspended and never finished. Each time the Irish claimed a championship Bayliss was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Before the Irish joined the BIG EAST for the 1995-96 season, Bayliss and his squad won seven Midwestern Collegiate Conference Championships in a row from 1989-95, while Bayliss compiled four coach of the year plaques.
Bayliss came to Notre Dame by way of MIT and Navy, where he piled up 291 wins between the two schools, with 248 coming at the Naval Academy. He was at Navy from 1970-84 and at MIT from 1985-87.
"Coaching at the Naval Academy put me in a position to be influenced by so many people who embodied the virtues of accountability and integrity," said Bayliss. "I walked away from the Academy a better person for the experience. Becoming the coach at Notre Dame allowed me to operate on a bigger stage and interact with the best coaches and teams in the country. There are few coaches who have had opportunities like mine."
Away from Notre Dame, Bayliss also helped the United States win a gold medal at the World University Games in Sheffield, England in 1991.
Bayliss and the Irish hit the road for spring break as they travel to Montgomery, Ala., for the elite Blue Gray National Tennis Classic March 15-17.