WILLIAMSBURG - William and Mary Athletics Director Terry Driscoll announced the hiring of Tyler Thomson to the head women's tennis coach position at the College on Thursday. Thomson, who was an assistant at W&M from 1997-01, spent the last 11 years as the head coach at the University of Minnesota where he led the Golden Gophers to 111victories, including the program's first Big Ten regular season crown in 2003. He is the ninth head coach in the history of the Tribe women's tennis program.
"I speak for the entire William and Mary community in saying we are excited to welcome Tyler back to Williamsburg," Driscoll said. "He is an ideal fit for our program and brings outstanding coaching credentials. He developed a great appreciation for both the campus and the great history of our women's tennis squad during his first time on campus as an assistant coach. I am confident Tyler will be a great steward for our program."
Five times over the last six seasons, Thomson led the Golden Gophers to a spot in the final national rankings. This past season, Minnesota finished the season ranked No. 39 nationally and started the campaign a program-best 12-1, including atriumph over W&M on Feb. 3. Minnesota finished the season with 16 victories, including nine against nationally-ranked opponents, and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. On Feb. 19, 2012, Thomson reached a coaching milestone with his 100th career victory as Minnesota upset No. 46 N.C. State, 5-2, in Raleigh, N.C.
"I am extremely honored to have been given this opportunity," Thomson said. "William and Mary is a truly unique and outstanding institution, and the potential for its women's tennis team is equally remarkable. The program's facilities, support and tradition of success combine to create an amazing environment for accomplishment and growth. I look forward to the coming season and to every aspect of being affiliatedwith William and Mary once again."
In just his second season at the helm of the Golden Gopher program, Thomson, who was the fifth head women's tennis coach in Minnesota history, led the program to a 9-1 regular season league record and its first Big Ten regular season crown in 2003. The Gophers advanced to the championship match of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament before finishing with an 18-7 mark. For his efforts, Thomson was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. During the regular season, Minnesota snapped No. 17-ranked Northwestern's 29-match Big Ten winning streak on the way to the regular season crown. In 2004, Thomson coached two-time All-Big Ten selection Angela Buergis to a spot in the NCAA Singles Championship and a final national ranking of No. 70.
During Thomson's tenure at Minnesota, six singles players and four doubles teams finished the year in the ITA National Rankings, and on 10 occasions a Golden Gopher player was named to the All-Big Ten team. Along with the success on the court, Thomson's teams succeeded in the classroom. The Minnesota women's tennis program routinely accumulated one of the highest team grade point averages in the athletics department, and on three occasions (2002, 2009 and 2010) received the school's Academic Award for the highest GPA among women's sports. In total, 40 of Thomson's players were named an ITA Scholar-Athlete for their success in the classroom.
Thomson is no stranger to Tribe tennis, having served as an assistant coach for the women's program for four seasons. During his time in Williamsburg, the Tribe won three Colonial Athletic Association Championships (1998, 1999 and 2000) and advanced NCAA Tournament on three occasions, including a quarterfinal finish in 1998. Thomson assisted in developing three All-Americans, six ITA Scholar-AthleteAll-Americans and 10 ITA nationally-ranked players during his Green and Gold tenure. Following the 1999 season, Thomson was named the ITA East Region Assistant Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the national assistant coach of the year award.
During the 2008-09 season, Thomson was honored as one of the nation's top teaching pros by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association as the recipient of the Northern Division Women's College Coach of the Year award. He holds a rating of Professional 1, which is the highest rating given by the USPTA. He was selected to participate in the USTA's High Performance Continuing Education Program at the 2008 U.S. Open in New York City and also took part in the program in 2006 while becoming a USPTA specialist in competitive player development.
Thomson spent one season as an assistant coach at Allegheny College (Pa.) prior to joining W&M in 1997. He was a four-year starter during his playing days at the University of Montana. Thomson earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from Montana in 1993. A Bismarck, N.D., native, he earned All-America honors in 1989 as a senior at Bismarck High School.
Thomson and his wife, Amy, have two children, a daughter, Bryter (5), and a son, Lincoln (2).
The Tribe women's tennis program is storied both in the CAA and nationally. W&M has won 21 of the CAA's 28 all-time women's tennis championships and finished the year ranked No. 1 in its ITA Region on 14 occasions. In total, the Tribe has advanced to the NCAA Tournament on 18 occasions, including 14 of the last 18 years. W&M has finished ranked among the national top 20 in 12 seasons since 1990. In all, 13 different athletes have captured 26 All-America honors for the Tribe.