Tennis: Success doesn't happen overnight

Tennis: Success doesn't happen overnight

Success isn't built overnight. Texas Tech Women's Tennis Head Coach Todd Petty knows from experience.
 
Since taking over in 2009, Petty has built Texas Tech Women's Tennis into an elite program.
 
He has taken the Lady Raiders to three Big 12 regular season titles, the program's first ever Big 12 tournament title, seven straight NCAA tournament trips, four straight Sweet 16 appearances and back-to-back Elite Eight appearances.
 
Petty produced the program's first-ever ITA All-American in Gabriela Talaba, who garnered the honor during her junior and senior seasons.
 
Petty became the winningest head coach in school history after he surpassed Mickey Bowes' 156 wins. He boasts a 70 percent win average and has finished in the Top three of the Big 12 in six of the last eight seasons.
 
His squads have been ranked in the ITA rankings in 126 straight weeks dating back to the 2011 season. They have also been in the Top 25 for 65 straight weeks dating back to Feb. 17, 2015, and ranked in the Top 10 in 28 total weeks. Texas Tech saw its highest ranking at No. 5 in the country on March 1, 2016.
 
The 2018 senior class was the winningest and most decorated senior class in school history. The foursome of Gabriela TalabaSarah DvorakSabrina Federici and Katelyn Jackson took Texas Tech to four Sweet 16s and back-to-back Elite 8s while collecting a 96-24 record.
 
"I think there are a lot of favorite memories. Each class of seniors leave a lasting memory in my mind, they can be big things or small," Petty said. "The memories of making the first NCAA tournament with our first recruiting class, to that class winning back-to-back Big 12 titles, the next class making the first Sweet 16 to the next class winning the first conference tournament and making back-to-back elite 8's are equal to me.
 
"The other memories are just as important to me; seeing one of my first players get married to now seeing players have their first child are as equally as important and special. Also, the experiences of seeing my players finishing law school or getting accepted to nursing or dental schools make me just as proud. What really defines us as coaches isn't truly the results we have on the court, but is determined many years later by how successful our players are in their communities and in life."
 
But how does he do it? How did he create an elite program from the ground up?
 
"Surround yourself with the right people first.  I have always been able to be honest with recruits and staff of what it takes to play here and what sacrifices are going to have to be made," Petty said. "I think making sure you find the athletes and coaches that are genuine about their goals and what they want out of this experience is key and making sure the align with my vision."
 
And he surrounded himself with the right assistant coaches. In his 10 seasons, all four of Petty's previous assistants were handpicked to lead their own programs; two of which are still in the Big 12.
 
Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt signed Petty to a contract extension in the fall, keeping him in Lubbock until 2024.

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