Former UCLA All-American Elizabeth Schmidt - who previously spent two seasons as an assistant at Rice University - embarks on her second season at Notre Dame. Schmidt was instrumental as the Irish not only reached the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second straight year, but also eclipsed the previous school record for victories in a single-season.
"I am thrilled to be part of such a respected program," said Schmidt. "It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with Jay. He is one of the most-respected coaches in the country. I am excited to help to continue on the tradition of great accomplishments at Notre Dame."
The Irish finished 2007 with a 28-4 record and their second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. The 28 victories was a school record, breaking the previous mark of 27 set during the 2005-06 campaign. Notre Dame upended 13 teams ranked in the top 25 and ended the season ranked seventh in the country (second highest in program history). Twins' Catrina and Christian Thompson earned All-American honors in doubles for the third straight year. Notre Dame went 14-1 against Midwest Region foes -- ending the season as the top school in the region for the second consecutive year (the only two times in school history).
Schmidt was also instrumental in the Owls turning in a historic season in 2005-06, as Rice reeled off three consecutive upsets to win the Conference USA tournament for the Owls' first-ever league championship. Rice became the first No. 7 seed ever to reach the title match of the C-USA tournament and knocked off top-seeded Southern Methodist, ending the Mustangs' 12-match winning streak. That earned Rice its first trip to the NCAA Championship since 1998, and the Owls finished 13-13 overall and ranked 66th in the nation (after peaking at 51st).
Schmidt's first season at Rice saw the Owls go 16-9 - posting the most wins for Rice since 1997 - and crack the national top 30 before reaching the Western Athletic Conference tournament final for the first time ever and finishing ranked 51st.
Rice had several individual standouts during Schmidt's time there - with four players earning all-conference accolades last season - but none more so than the recently-graduated Blair DiSesa, who was the Conference USA Player of the Year and an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in her final campaign, as well as the first Rice player since 1986 to earn an invitation to the NCAA Singles Championship. She was ranked as high as 31st in the nation last spring.
Schmidt was a standout player at UCLA, earning All-America accolades in doubles in 1996-97 and finishing that season ranked 16th in the nation in partnered play and 38th in singles. She was a two-time participant in the
NCAA Singles Championship and an all-Pac-10 selection in '97.
Schmidt helped the Bruins to a pair of second-place finishes in the Pac-10 - matching the best results in program history - and trips to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in 1997 and 2000.
Three times a Pac-10 All-Academic honoree, she graduated with honors in 2000 with a degree in sociology. She was the 2000 women's recipient of the Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship, awarded annually to the league's top male and female student-athletes. Schmidt was twice honored with the ITA's Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and won the regional Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award in 1999. She also completed work on of a master's degree in public administration from the University of Houston this past August.
Schmidt spent the next four years playing professionally, peaking at 137th in the WTA world doubles rankings (in 2003) and 380th in singles (in '02). She earned her only career title in the doubles draw of the ITF event in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2001, but also reached six other finals in doubles and advanced to the doubles semifinals a total of 23 times in her career. In 2003, she played in the doubles qualifying at The Championships Wimbledon.
Born Aug. 23, 1977, Schmidt is a native of Austin, Texas, and 1996 graduate of Westlake High School. She was a three-time state singles champion and a Prince All-American during her prep career, helping Westlake to the 1992 team state title. She compiled high school records of 120-6 in singles and 62-4 in doubles and was as high as seventh in doubles and 26th in singles in the USTA national rankings.