OXFORD, Miss. -- One of the most successful tennis coaches in the country and the winningest coach in the history of Mississippi sports, head coach Billy Chadwick, will step down at the end of the 2014 season. Associate head coach Toby Hansson will take the reins of the program following the season.
“Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for coach Billy Chadwick and all he has done in 34 years to build a top-flight tennis program,” athletics director Ross Bjork said. “Coach Chadwick personifies Ole Miss tennis in so many ways that coming to the point of retirement was hard for both of us. Billy has produced the most consistent and successful sports program we host at Ole Miss - both in the classroom and on the court. His development of young men has produced multiple generations of highly successful student-athletes, and his impact will be felt for a long time. This will be a fun season to watch Billy roam the sidelines one more time. He will always be a Rebel and a part of our program.”
A member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame, Chadwick begins his final season at Ole Miss with an overall record of 647-298 (.685). Chadwick began his coaching career with the Lady Rebels in 1979, and in '82 he led the Lady Rebels to the SEC finals, AIAW Nationals and the program’s first top 20 national ranking.
In 1983, Chadwick took over the men’s program, which at the time was last in the conference. In 30 years with Chadwick at the helm, the Rebels have become one of the top teams in the country on and off the courts and presently enter this spring ranked No. 11 in the nation.
“I want to use this occasion as a time to thank our administration, our staff, our fans and supporters for all they have done,” Chadwick said. “The success of this program is a credit to them. We have been blessed to have had so many outstanding team members that have contributed so much to Ole Miss and have made this program truly special.”
Chadwick’s teams have made 20 consecutive NCAA appearances, including the NCAA team championship final, the NCAA semifinals four times, the NCAA quarterfinals nine times and the made 16 NCAA round of 16 trips. A mainstay in the national rankings, his teams have finished ranked in the nation’s top five seven times, and have earned a top-10 ranking 15 times.
The Rebels have won 18 Southeastern Conference team titles, including five overall SEC championships, 10 Western Division titles and three SEC tournament championships. With his fifth overall SEC championship in 2009, Chadwick trails only legendary Ole Miss football coach John Vaught in SEC titles won at Mississippi. Vaught won six conference titles in 1947, '54, '55, '60, '62 and '63.
Individually, Chadwick has coached three NCAA champions, six SEC champions, 28 All-Americans, 72 All-SEC selections and 76 NCAA individual qualifiers. Seven of his players have been ranked No. 1 in the nation. His players have earned numerous ITA national and regional awards, including Mississippi native Dave Randall winning the Rafael Osuna National Sportsmanship Award in 1989.
Chadwick was named USPTA National College Coach of the Year in 2009 and has been named SEC Coach of the Year three times.
While Chadwick’s teams have ranked among the nation’s elite, they have been just as impressive off the court. In 2013, the Rebels won the Chancellor’s Cup for the 10th year in a row. The cup is awarded each year to the men’s and women's varsity sports with the highest cumulative grade-point average. Nationally, the Rebels have been named an ITA All-Academic team eight times, awarded to teams with a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
Individually, the Rebels have had 20 players earn national ITA scholar-athlete honors, four CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 13 CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees and in 2009 the SEC Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year (league’s top male student-athlete).
Hansson, in his eighth year with the program, will succeed Chadwick at the end of the 2014 season.
“It’s been a privilege to work with such a terrific coach, mentor and individual for the past seven years,” Hansson said. “Coach Chadwick’s three-decade record reflects his expertise as a coach, but he is much more than that to our team. Coach takes a personal interest in each and every player in his program, and the outcome is a team that feels more like a family. It has been an honor to work alongside him, and I feel very fortunate to have learned from the best in the sport.”