Tech’s 2007 national championship women’s tennis team looks back on its achievement 10 years later
Shelton led the Yellow Jackets to 2007 NCAA women's title
The Yellow Jackets will welcome four outstanding freshmen in the fall
Georgia Tech duo won final five games to win match
Issue No. 148, May 24, 2012
Photos from Georgia Tech's dramatic 4-3 win over Alabama in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Photos from NCAA Tournament first round match against Oklahoma State in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
2002, 2005, 2007, 2008 ACC Coach of the Year
2005, 2006 ITA South Region Coach of the Year
1993 Georgia Tech Hall of Fame Inductee
2002 Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee
2006 Huntsville-Madison County Hall of Fame Inductee
Entering his 12th season at the helm of the Yellow Jacket women's tennis program, Bryan Shelton is one of the most successful coaches in school history - he is one of just five coaches in the history of Georgia Tech Athletics to guide a team to a national title, and the only one to capture an NCAA Team Championship. The 2007 ITA National Coach of the Year and four-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year has directed the Yellow Jackets to three national titles - one outdoor (NCAA) and two indoor (ITA) - and his teams have captured at least a share of the ACC regular season title four times. He has recorded an impressive 198-86 (.697) record in his time at Tech.
One year after guiding the women's tennis team to its greatest achievement to date -- winning the 2007 NCAA Championship -- Shelton added another first to his already-long resume: coaching the first Yellow Jacket to win an NCAA Individual title as sophomore Amanda McDowell swept through the 2008 NCAA Singles Championships en route to capturing the crown.
When Bryan Shelton returned to his alma mater as the head coach for the women's team in 2000, the Yellow Jackets had yet to even appear in an NCAA Tournament, had yet to finish higher than fourth in the ACC, and had yet to have a player earn All-America honors. Since his arrival, Georgia Tech has made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, captured four ACC regular season titles, won four ACC Tournament championships and has had 11 All-America and 21 All-ACC selections.
He has also had two conference Players of the Year and a pair of conference Rookies of the Year during his tenure and has twice been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's South Region Coach of the Year while being tabbed the ACC Coach of the Year on four occasions. Under his tutelage, two players have been named the ITA National Player of the Year, one was named the ITA National Player to Watch and one was the South Region Rookie of the Year. He has had eight players named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Teams, and 49 have been named to the ACC Honor Roll. Five of his student-athletes have earned the prestigious Bobby Dodd Scholarship while two have earned the coveted Honda Award for Tennis.
The national championship didn't come as a surprise to most people surrounding the program, as Shelton had steadily built a championship team over the seven years prior.
The 2007 NCAA Championship run began after a successful fall campaign. The Yellow Jackets embarked on a grueling dual-match schedule that began in Madison, Wisc., where they snapped the three-time defending national champion Stanford Cardinal's NCAA-record 89-match winning streak with a thrilling 4-3 victory in the semifinals, then shut down Notre Dame, 4-2, in the championship match to capture the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor title in early February. The Jackets went on to post an 8-3 record in the month of February and, after dropping a 4-3 match at Clemson to begin the month of March, embarked upon a 21-match winning streak to conclude the season, culminating with NCAA Championship in May.
Georgia Tech earned at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the third-consecutive season in 2007, finishing 10-1 in the league to tie with Clemson. Tech breezed to its third ACC Championship with a 4-0 victory over Duke in the quarterfinals and a 4-2 win against North Carolina in the semis before dispatching Miami in the title match for the third straight year, 4-1. Almost a month later, Shelton's squad began its run to the championship with a pair of 4-0 victories against Furman and Kentucky in the NCAA Atlanta Regional before moving on to Athens, Ga., home of longtime rival the University of Georgia, for the remainder of the NCAA Championships.
In Athens, Shelton relied on a steady mixture of energetic underclassmen and experienced veterans to continue advancing through the tournament. The Jackets received key singles victories from seniors Alison Silverio and Tarryn Rudman, as well as underclassmen Christy Striplin and Amanda McDowell, to get the team over the hump of the NCAA Sweet 16, where Tech had seen its title hopes end in 2005 and 2006. Shelton's squad then went on to post 4-2 victories over Notre Dame, California and UCLA over the next three days to earn the former Yellow Jacket All-American his first national title.
Georgia Tech concluded the 2007 ranked atop the national rankings for the first time in history and had a pair of players earn All-America honors. Whitney McCray earned her first All-America honor by earning the No. 3 seed in the 2007 NCAA Doubles Championships, teaming with Kristi Miller, who earned All-America honors in both singles and doubles for the second-consecutive season. Overall, Shelton had two members of the squad compete in the NCAA Singles Championships at the season's end, while two doubles teams also played in the NCAA Doubles Championships. Miller was again tabbed an Academic All-American in 2007, while seniors Alison Silverio and Tarryn Rudman took home the ITA's South Region Sportsmanship Awards. Seven members of the team finished the season ranked in the top 100 in singles, while three Yellow Jacket doubles teams earned national rankings at the season's end.
In his first season at the helm, Shelton guided Georgia Tech to the first NCAA Tournament berth in school history, recording a victory over 25th-ranked Washington in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Regional in Los Angeles, Calif. The Yellow Jackets' No. 29 national ranking in the final polls was the highest end-of-the-year ranking ever for Georgia Tech. Under Shelton's guidance, Jaime Wong earned the first of her three all-ACC honors, while Laura Ozolins garnered first-team GTE Academic All-District III accolades.
Shelton guided Tech to its second NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001, while Wong was named to the all-conference team for the second-straight season. Ozolins also garnered conference honors in 2001, winning the ACC Flight 6 Singles Championship. The Jackets made their third NCAA appearance, reaching the second round of the postseason tournament, in yet another successful season for Georgia Tech in 2002, while climbing to a record-high 17th in the nation in the polls. The No. 17 ranking was the first time in program history that the Yellow Jackets had been ranked in the top-20, and Tech concluded the year ranked 21st in the nation after finishing with a 15-10 dual-match record. That same season, Wong became the first Yellow Jacket to represent the Institute in the NCAA Singles Championships, and Shelton became the first Georgia Tech women's tennis coach to earn ACC Coach of the Year honors.
The 2003 team proved to be even more successful for Georgia Tech, concluding the season with a 14-7 dual-match record and the school's fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Jackets also set a record with five wins against ACC opponents in 2003, while Wong earned her second straight appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship after earning her third all-ACC honor. That same season, Kelly Anderson became the first Georgia Tech women's tennis player to earn ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
Shelton guided his 2004 team to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in his five-year tenure, advancing to the second round for the fourth time in the program's history. The Yellow Jackets accumulated numerous honors during the year, beginning with earning the inaugural ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award in March and concluding with winning the ACC Sportsmanship Award and being named an ITA All-Academic Team for the first time in school history. With both Anderson and Lyndsay Shosho earning all-conference honors, 2004 marked the first time since 1989 that two players earned all-ACC honors in the same season. Shosho became just the second player in the program's history to represent Georgia Tech in the NCAA Singles Championship, while Anderson garnered GTE/CoSIDA Academic all-District III accolades and was named the prestigious Bobby Dodd Scholarship recipient. She also joined Sekita Grant, Maria Nieto and Alison Silverio as ITA Scholar-Athlete honorees.
The 2005 team accomplished multiple "firsts" for the program, including first ACC Regular Season Championship, first ACC Tournament Championship, and first appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships. The Jackets concluded 2005 with a record-breaking 21 wins and nine conference victories en route to the first ACC Tournament Championship for any Yellow Jacket tennis team. Shelton was named the ACC and ITA South Region Coach of the Year and had three all-ACC honorees in Kristi Miller, Dasha Potapova and Alison Silverio, while Miller also wrapped up the ACC and ITA South Region Rookie of the Year honors. The 2005 season also provided another "first" in the program's history, as Miller became the first Yellow Jacket to earn All-America honors when she was selected as one of the 16 seeds in the 2005 NCAA Singles Championship, where she advanced to the Sweet 16. She also teamed with Silverio to become the first tandem to represent Georgia Tech in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
The team reached as high as No. 4 in the polls during the season and concluded the year ranked sixth in the nation, both of which were new marks for any women's sports team in Georgia Tech history. Anderson again earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic all-District honors, and joined Miller as Georgia Tech's ITA Scholar-Athlete recipients for 2005. The team also earned its second straight ACC Sportsmanship Award and was named an ITA All-Academic Team for the second consecutive year.
The winning tradition continued in 2006, as Georgia Tech again captured the ACC Championship and made its second-straight appearance in the Sweet-16 at the NCAA Championships. For his work, Shelton was again named the ITA South Region Coach of the Year, and the Yellow Jackets finished the season with a record-high 23 victories and a final ranking of No. 7 in the nation. He had two players to earn All-America honors, as Kristi Miller was named a singles and doubles All-American while Lyndsay Shosho earned Doubles All-America honors in her final season on the Flats. Miller also achieved another first for the program, as she became the first Yellow Jacket to earn the No. 1 ranking in singles play, before finishing the season ranked No. 2. For her outstanding performance, Miller accumulated numerous awards, including the Honda Award for Tennis and the ITA National Player to Watch. She also became Tech's first Academic All-American, while Kelly Anderson was named CoSIDA Academic All-District for the third-straight year. Rounding out the accolades for the Jackets were ITA South Region Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship winner Alison Silverio and Academic All-ACC members Anderson, Miller, Shosho and Silverio.
Five Yellow Jackets finished the year with singles rankings, while Miller and Shosho concluded 2006 ranked 14th in the nation in doubles.
His 2009 team, which was made up of six underclassmen, reached the programs fifth straight Round of 16 appearance at the NCAA Tournament and a final national ranking of No. 8. Freshman Irina Falconi became the fifth Jacket to earn All-American honors in the history of the program.
Last season, Shelton continued to show why he is one of the best coaches in Georgia Tech history when he led his team to an ACC Tournament Title as a No. 7 seed, the lowest seed ever to win the conference tournament. A young squad, playing without senior Amanda McDowell because of an injury, struggled during the regular season but ultimately earned its 11 straight bid in to the NCAA Tournament and a No. 13 national seed. Falconi put together one of the best seasons in program history with a 40-3 singles record, a national No. 1 ranking and earning the ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP and ITA National Player of the Year awards.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Shelton spent over a year as a national coach with the United States Tennis Association. Before joining the USTA coaching ranks, Shelton spent nine years on the ATP Tour, winning two singles and a pair of doubles titles prior to his retirement following the 1997 U.S. Open.
Shelton's hiring in the summer of 1999 reunited him with former Georgia Tech teammate and doubles partner Kenny Thorne, who serves as Georgia Tech's head men's tennis coach.
Shelton and Thorne both lettered for the Yellow Jackets from 1985-88 and helped Georgia Tech to an overall 70-38 dual-match record and a 20-7 ACC mark during their four seasons. As seniors in 1988, the duo guided Tech to a school-record 26 wins, which included a 7-0 run through the ACC, a second place finish in the conference tournament and Tech's first appearance in the NCAA Championships.
Shelton earned all-ACC honors in each of his four seasons on the Flats and garnered All-America honors in 1988. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1988 NCAA Singles Championship, falling to eventual champion Robbie Weiss.
Shelton ranks second on the Jackets' career singles wins list with 101 victories and was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Following his collegiate career, Shelton won his first tour title at the Hall of Fame Championships in 1991, becoming the first African-American to win an ATP event since Arthur Ashe in 1978. He He repeated as the singles champion at Newport in 1992 and also claimed a pair of doubles titles, winning the 1994 Mexican Open with Francisco Montana and the 1997 Australian Hardcourt Championship with Patrick Rafter. In 1993, Shelton was a finalist in the Mixed Doubles at the French Open. A six-time participant at Wimbledon, Shelton defeated second-seeded Michael Stich in the first round of the tournament in 1994 en route to a berth in the Round of 16.
Shelton climbed as high as 55th in the ATP singles rankings and also played in seven U.S. Opens, six Australian Opens and four French Opens while posting victories against the likes of Andre Agassi, Thomas Muster, Richard Krajicek and Todd Martin. After retiring from the tour, Shelton coached MaliVai Washington, a 1996 Wimbledon finalist, until being named a USTA National Coach. With the USTA, Shelton assisted with the development of some of the top juniors in the Southeast, covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Born in Huntsville, Ala., Shelton currently resides in Smyrna, Ga., with his wife Lisa, and their children, Emma and Benjamin. He earned his degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech in 1989.
Shelton's Accomplishments at Tech
2007 National Champions
2007, 2008 ITA National Indoor Team Champions
2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 ACC Champions
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 ACC regular season champions
Has won 70 percent of his matches to rank as the winningest tennis coach in Tech history
Has won a school-record 198 matches
Led Tech to its only 11 NCAA appearances in history
11 All-America selections in 11 years
21 All-Atlantic Coast Conference players in 11 years
Nine Academic All-America or All-District honorees
49 student-athletes named to ACC Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher)
No. 1 national ranking during 2006 and 2007 seasons
No. 1 final national ranking in 2007
School-record 29 wins in 2007
1986 ACC Champion, No. 1 Doubles (Richy Gilbert)
1985 ACC Champion, No. 1 Singles
Four-time All-ACC Selection
Shelton's Coaching Career
Overall Conference Year School W-L Pct. W-L Pct. Pl. Postseason 2000 Georgia Tech 14-8 .636 4-4 .500 T-4th NCAA Second Round 2001 Georgia Tech 11-12 .478 4-4 .500 5th NCAA First Round 2002 Georgia Tech 15-10 .600 3-5 .375 5th NCAA Second Round 2003 Georgia Tech 14-7 .667 5-3 .625 4th NCAA Second Round 2004 Georgia Tech 12-11 .522 4-4 .500 T-4th NCAA Second Round 2005 Georgia Tech 21-4 .840 9-1 .900 T-1st NCAA Sweet 16; ACC Reg. Season & Tourn. Champs 2006 Georgia Tech 23-6 .793 9-2 .818 T-1st NCAA Sweet 16; ACC Reg. Season & Tourn. Champs 2007 Georgia Tech 29-4 .879 10-1 .909 T-1st NATIONAL CHAMPIONS; ACC Reg. Season & Tourn. Champs; ITA Ntl' Ind. Champs 2008 Georgia Tech 22-6 .786 10-1 .909 T-1st NCAA Elite Eight; ITA Ntl' Ind. Champs; ACC Reg. Season Champs 2009 Georgia Tech 18-8 .692 9-2 .818 T-3rd NCAA Sweet 16 2010 Georgia Tech 19-10 .655 5-5 .500 7th NCAA Second Round; ACC Tournament Champs
(Head coach, Georgia Tech, 11 years, 198-86, .697 overall -- 72-32, .692 in ACC)