Feb. 14, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - When the 2012-13 men's tennis season concludes, so too will one of the longest tenures of a head coach in University of Notre Dame history. Twenty-six year men's tennis coach Bobby Bayliss will step down, marking the end of his time with the Irish and star-studded 44-year college coaching career.
"I don't think there's another men's tennis coach in the country who is more respected by his peers than Bobby is, not just for his accomplishments on the court but for how he has represented the game," said Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick.
"He has had a fabulous run, he has taken the Notre Dame program to another level and made his team into a consistent NCAA contender."
Bayliss, a 1995 recipient of an honorary Monogram, is not hanging it up entirely, however, as he will remain at the University in a new role, serving as manager of tennis facilities. He will be responsible for the oversight of all tennis facilities, to include maintenance, scheduling and facility upgrades and renovation.
Bayliss headed into the 2012-13 spring season as the winningest active NCAA Division I men's coach. His overall 746-331-1 (.692) record includes a 455-228 (.666) mark at Notre Dame since he was named the Irish head coach on March 16, 1987.
"I have so many memories that it is hard to single out just one," reminisced Bayliss. "But if pressed I would have to say beating #1-ranked USC in the 1992 NCAA semifinals is certainly up there with any. More than that, though, are the many wonderful relationships that I have been so fortunate to have formed with players and people in our own athletic department. Playing the Irish Davis Cup Team in Dublin this fall and then attending the football game the next day was pretty special, as well. I was also both humbled and surprised to receive my honorary Monogram and am very proud of it today. To be a part of that group of athletes is something I will always treasure."
Bayliss previously spent three seasons as head coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (43-23-1 record, 1985-87) and 15 years at the U.S. Naval Academy (248-80, 1970-84) before coming to South Bend.
Bayliss' tenure at Notre Dame has featured 21 NCAA Championships appearances in the last 22 seasons--highlighted by an NCAA runner-up finish in 1992 and including seven trips to the NCAA Round of 16. His Irish teams have finished in the top 20 in the national rankings on 10 occasions--and his squads have claimed seven BIG EAST Conference Championships and seven Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles.
He has coached 10 Notre Dame All-Americans who have earned that designation on 19 occasions, as well as nine winners of national awards from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Twenty-three of his Irish players have earned invitations into the NCAA Championships singles bracket, while 14 of his doubles pairings have merited that distinction.
Among the standouts Bayliss has tutored at Notre Dame is former all-star David DiLucia, who ranked number one nationally in both singles and doubles for the Irish in 1991-92. Seventeen of Bayliss' Notre Dame players have moved on to compete professionally.
The ITA named Bayliss the national coach of the year in 1992 and on 14 occasions he has been selected the conference coach of the year (seven times in the BIG EAST). The ITA also presented Bayliss with its Meritorious Service Award in1995 for extraordinary contributions to collegiate tennis.
He's a 1966 University of Richmond graduate who also coached squash at Navy from1978-82. The United States Professional Tennis Association named him the national coach of the year in 1980 while he was at Navy.
Bayliss and his wife Pat are parents of four children--Jackie, Rob, Brendan and Patrick, all Notre Dame graduates.
While Bayliss steps back from the program, he leaves it in the hands of a man who has played and worked with Bayliss for over a decade and someone who looks up to all that Bayliss has taught him over that time, associate head coach and four-time Monogram winner, Ryan Sachire.
"There is no question that I have learned a great deal in each of my 11 years with Coach Bayliss (4 as a player and 7 as assistant coach)," remarked Sachire. "Probably the biggest difference between playing for him and coaching with him is understanding how he motivates certain individuals differently from others and how he fosters a strong team dynamic. When you are a player, you only understand things from your own individual perspective, but when you are coaching with Bobby, you get to see how he operates all of the different pieces of the program and how he fits all of those different pieces together. However, above all other lessons learned from Coach Bayliss over my 11 year span with him, I've learned that while he may motivate and react differently to different players, the amount of care and concern that he has for all of the members of our program is the same. And that is the legacy that he will ultimately leave at Notre Dame."
Sachire (pronounced SATCH-er-ee) played for the Irish from 1997-2000, spent five years playing professionally, spent one year coaching at Baylor and then joined Bayliss' staff as an assistant coach on Aug. 2, 2006. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2008.
"Ryan was born to be the coach at Notre Dame," shared Bayliss. "He is the son of two teachers and was perhaps the easiest player I have ever had to coach. He arrived here a long legged colt and left Notre Dame a stallion. He always wanted to learn more and never had a lethargic practice day. He used to get his lunch from the cafeteria to go and eat it in my office every day. He has been wonderful to have as an assistant and I have- over the last 2-3 years - been giving him more and more of the responsibilities I have always refused to delegate. There will be no learning curve here. I consider him to be the best college tennis coach in the country and that certainly includes present company. His greatest failing is that he will never get to coach a player like himself. That is something I will always have over him. Trust me, this change will be an immediate upgrade. Also like me, he was smart enough to marry someone more intelligent than he."
A Canfield, Ohio, native, Sachire is the only Irish player ever to win 30 or more singles matches in all four of his seasons. A three-time All-American (only three Irish players have accomplished that), he is one of only two Notre Dame players to merit four straight NCAA Championships singles invitations. He ranked as high as number two nationally in singles and finished up with a 138-43 singles mark and 73-32 doubles total.
The ITA National Senior Player of the Year in 2000, he also won the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award, which provides a stipend to the top senior player embarking on a professional career.
Sachire finished in the national top 40 in terms of singles rankings all four of his years at Notre Dame, helping the Irish to a combined 67-33 record, the 1999 BIG EAST title and four straight NCAA appearances. He twice was named the BIG EAST Championships MVP.
As a pro, Sachire won 16 tournament titles, 14 on the futures circuit.
During his six years as an assistant at Notre Dame, Sachire has helped the Irish to six straight NCAA appearances, two BIG EAST crowns and a number-six national ranking in 2007. He's a 2000 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in economics.
"I am more than humbled and honored to be the next head men's tennis coach at Notre Dame," expressed Sachire. "I fully understand what that title means, and I embrace it with great pride. I also fully understand that I am following a legend, and following a legend is never easy. However, because of the experiences that I have had with Coach here at Notre Dame, I do feel prepared for the position and am confident that we can continue to do great things with the program. I am excited that Bobby will be around to serve as a resource for me, and I know that there isn't going to be a greater supporter of mine than him. He has been like a second father to me for many years, and I can't thank him enough for all that he has given to me."
Sachire and his wife Cindy (a 1999 Notre Dame graduate) are parents of two daughters, Anna and Emily.