The New Mexico tennis program has been dealt another hard blow, leaving both tennis teams leaderless.
Head coach Bart Scott of the men’s squad recently announced his resignation to pursue a career in the private sector. Now multiple reports have confirmed former UNM women’s tennis head coach Kelcy McKenna has accepted a coaching position at the University of Wisconsin.
“We are excited to welcome Kelcy to the Wisconsin family,” the Wisconsin Athletics Department stated in a release.
McKenna is quoted as saying in the release that she is thrilled to join the program and looked forward to getting to work.
Wisconsin finished its last season with a 9-14 record, going under .500 in conference play. The situation is a suitable for McKenna, who has become adept at rebuilding programs.
McKenna was lured to New Mexico as an associate coach by Erica Perkins Jasper, the head coach at the time, who said she thought they could build something special at New Mexico.
It appears she was on to something. The team saw immediate dividends, making consistent runs en route to winning the 2014-2015 Mountain West Championship.
McKenna officially took the reins of the program in June 2015. The team became almost unbeatable at home and one of the foremost competitors in the conference. It went undefeated during the regular season at home and in conference play.
It could not have been easy for McKenna to make the decision to leave so many seniors on the team, many of whom she recruited as freshmen.
She said the group is a special bunch of student athletes who have grown so much over the years, acknowledging the work they put in.
“(These) are the best girls I could have ever imagined being able to coach,” McKenna said. “I could never have asked for a better opportunity.”
It is unclear whether there will be any impact to the current team roster or new recruits following McKenna’s move. At this time, the team appears it will be anchored by five seniors. Nonetheless, the team should be poised for success, considering the experience the players have gained as a part of the winning culture McKenna helped create.
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There has been no release by New Mexico as of Sunday regarding the ongoing search for a men’s coach so far, and now the Athletic Department will need to double its efforts.
Filling the void created by the departure of two young coaches is not likely to be an easy task. Both experienced success in their short stints as Lobo head coaches who also enjoyed some decorated collegiate careers.
Scott helped bring New Mexico its first Mountain West Championship victory in any sport in 2000, while McKenna won the 2009 ITA Riviera All-American Tournament and was a highly touted nationally ranked singles and doubles player while at Arizona State.