Trinity head men's tennis Coach Russell McMindes '02 has been a teacher of his chosen sport for a number of years, and he was recently honored for his efforts by being named the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Texas as the 2018 College Coach of the Year. The award was presented to him at the USPTA Texas Annual Conference at Horseshoe Bay, Texas. This award recognizes coaches from all levels of college tennis, and this is Coach McMindes second time being honored as he previously was the award-winner in 2011.
Coach McMindes started imparting his knowledge of tennis at the San Antonio Country Club in 2002 and received professional certification from the USPTA Texas. A former Tiger standout, Coach McMindes later served as an assistant coach to the legendary Butch Newman '65, Trinity's Director of Tennis. In July 2009, Coach McMindes assumed his current position as head coach of the Tigers and is now in his 10th season at the helm.
"Working for Trinity has been an incredible privilege," Coach McMindes said. "My goal each year is to continue to carry on a tradition of excellence in every facet. I'm thankful to the USPTA for helping to cultivate my passion for coaching and developing my skills. I thank Trinity for the trust in my abilities and for the platform to pursue my passion."
Coach McMindes has established himself as one of the most successful NCAA Division III coaches in the nation. In each of the nine previous seasons Trinity has advanced to the NCAA Division III Playoffs and captured a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship. Trinity's 2018 squad won the SCAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA third round, completing the season with a 16-12 record. Coach McMindes was also elected SCAC Men's Tennis Coach of the Year for the eighth occasion.
Some of his players represented Trinity at the mecca of tennis in September 2018. Wilson Lambeth and Jordan Pitts teamed up to claim a doubles title at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Grass Court Invitational at Newport, Rhode Island. Lambeth later took third place in the singles competition.
Coach McMindes has guided three men's doubles teams and a singles player to ITA National Championships. He has also mentored NCAA Finalists and Semifinalists in singles and doubles competitions. A total of 13 of Coach McMindes' players have earned All-America accolades on 21 occasions.
The 2015 squad won the ITA National Indoor Team Championship and emerged as the top team in the nation. Following the 2014 season, Coach McMindes was elected the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Division III Coach of the Year. He skippered the Tigers to a third-place finish at the NCAA Team Championships and a mark of 26-7. Trinity made its first NCAA Semifinals appearance since 2000, when the Tigers won the national crown.
The versatile Coach McMindes coached the Tiger women's team during the 2011-12 season, as well as the men's team. Trinity's women's squad captured the SCAC Championship for the first time since 2006 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. A Tiger player battled her way to the NCAA Singles Semifinals.
"Russ has been a huge asset to Trinity and our men's tennis program," Coach Newman said of his protégé. "His commitment and role modeling is exemplary. Every student-athlete under his guidance is gaining the finest experience available in college tennis anywhere in our country."