Crimson Tide topped by Tigers, 4-1, in final home match of the season
Billy Pate, who is entering his 10th season at the helm of the Alabama men's tennis team, has built a program that is consistently among the nation's best. Over the past nine years, Pate has led his squads to a Crimson Tide record seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Throughout his tenure, he has coached five individuals that have advanced to either the NCAA Singles or Doubles Championships on seven occasions. In addition, Pate has guided six of his teams to the top 40 of the final national rankings, with three of those teams finishing in the top 20.
The 2011 season saw the Tide collect 10 wins including a pair against Southeastern Conference foes. Alabama came back from a first round loss at the prestigious Blue Gray National Tennis Classic to claim the consolation draw finals in February. During last season, Pate was also instrumental in developing Daniil Proskura, who was one of six league rookies named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
In 2010, Pate's team finished with a 13-14 record appearing in a fifth-straight NCAA Tournament. The 2010 season also saw one of the most successful all-around student-athletes in program history in senior Saketh Myneni. Myneni entered the season as the No. 10 singles player in the nation, tying the highest ranking ever by a Tide player. In addition, he became the program's first SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and first ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.
The 2009 squad compiled a 21-8 record and finished 16th in the final rankings. Alabama earned the right to be one of the 16 host teams for the NCAA First and Second Rounds, the first time a team had done that in school history. The Tide also had two players and two doubles teams finish in the top 100 in the nation. Four players finished the season with at least 20 wins, including an impressive 32-9 record from senior Michael Jung.
The 2008 season was another successful one under Pate as the team finished No. 24 while compiling 19 wins along the way. Alabama opened the year with seven-straight victories and took down several ranked opponents.
In 2007, Pate led his squad to its best finish and highest team ranking since 1993. The 14th-ranked Crimson Tide made its second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament where Alabama cruised by East Tennessee State and upset Duke to make its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2003. Juniors Daniel Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau qualified for the NCAA tournament as the 23rd-ranked tandem and earned their first spot in the doubles draw. Buikema and Thibaudeau became only the 13th doubles pair in Alabama's tennis history to compete in the NCAA doubles draw.
The team's success earned Pate recognition as well. The 2007 SEC Co-Coach of the Year earned the South Region Coach of the Year honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), after transforming Alabama tennis into a Southern powerhouse in a region that features the nation's fiercest competition.
In 2006, Pate led Alabama to its first winning season in three years and a berth to the NCAA tournament. Under Pate's guidance, junior Joseph Jung made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament's singles draw and posted his third 20-win season. Jung would achieve another 20-win season in 2007, the only Alabama player in history to reach that accomplishment. Pate's first recruit at Alabama, Jung finished the 2006 season nationally ranked three times and led the Tide from the No. 1 singles slot the majority of his career.
In his first year at the Capstone, Pate led Alabama to its first trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 in five years. The Tide defeated Marist and Harvard before falling to Baylor.
Pate made his move to Division I college tennis in 2000 when he joined Bobby Bayliss' staff at the University of Notre Dame. During Pate's stint with the Irish, Notre Dame consistently finished in the Top 10 nationally, ranking as high as No. 4 nationally. In 2002, Pate was named National and Region IV Assistant Coach of the Year by the ITA. As a part of the Irish coaching staff, Pate was the recruiting coordinator and served as the team's primary liaison to the strength and conditioning program.
No stranger to success, Pate came to the Capstone after an illustrious coaching tenure at Georgia Perimeter College. In four years at GPC, Pate's teams posted a 87-43 record and won three consecutive Junior College National Championships.
The three-time recipient of the Max Grubbs Award, given to the National Junior College Coach of the Year, has been named Coach of the Year 13 different times by five organizations, including the United States Professional Tennis Association, the ITA, Georgia Professional Tennis Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Prior to his position at Georgia Perimeter, Pate served as the assistant coach of Atlanta Thunder of the World Team Tennis League, and in conjunction with his position with the Thunder, he was the Stadium Operations Director and Community Relations Director from 1993-1995.
Pate received his undergraduate degree in 1992 while playing tennis at Mississippi State. He earned his Master's Degree in Sports Administration from Georgia State in 1995.