June 17, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- Tina Samara, head women's tennis coach at West Virginia since the 2010-11 season, has been named the head coach at Wisconsin, Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced Monday.
“We’re pleased to add Tina to our staff,” Alvarez said. “I was impressed with her background and her intensity. I like the fact that she’s developed her own program. She has a vision and ideas to move this program forward.”
A two-time All-American at Georgia, Samara has 25 years of experience competing and coaching at the national, collegiate and professional levels. Samara spent five years competing and coaching on the USTA/WTA/LTA Pro tour before coaching stops at Colorado, Louisiana-Lafayette and West Virginia.
“I am beyond excited to join the Badger family,” Samara said. “Madison has always held a special place in my heart from my playing days at UGA. I want to thank Coach Alvarez and his entire staff for believing in me.
“The combination of Wisconsin’s academic reputation and strong athletic department makes this a very desirable job. The support structure for women’s tennis is in place to have success. As a coach, this is a dream come true.”
In three seasons as the head coach at West Virginia (2011-13), Samara led a rebuilding project and recruited two of the highest ranked players in school history. Samara joined the Mountaineers tennis program after spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, where she guided the team to the semifinal round of the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Samara also spent two seasons (2007-08) as the assistant women’s tennis coach at Colorado. In her first season at CU, the team finished 16-8 overall, its best record since 1999, and went 9-2 in the Big 12 for a share of third place. The Buffaloes closed out the season ranked No. 37 nationally, the highest ranking in eight years.
Academic success has also followed Samara. In three seasons at West Virginia, her team netted 20 Big East Academic Honor Roll selections. At Louisiana-Lafayette, Samara’s 2010 team posted the highest grade-point average of any Ragin’ Cajuns team.
As a player at Georgia, Samara earned All-America honors in 1994 and 1995, and partnered up for a victory in the deciding match of the Bulldogs’ first-ever NCAA title in 1994. The pair finished the year ranked No. 1 in NCAA doubles in 1995 and went on to win the National Clay Court Doubles title in the fall of 1994. The team won the USTA/ITA National Indoor title in 1994 and 1995, with both competitions held in Madison.
She was crowned the 1993 Collegiate Grasscourt singles champion, was a member of Georgia’s 1994 SEC title team and was a two-time national team indoor champion.
In addition to her career on the USTA/WTA/LTA Pro tour, Samara represented Norway for three years in the Federation Cup (1996-98).
Samara graduated from Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences. A native of Oyster Bay, N.Y., Samara is married to Brian Sullivan.