- 2000 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year
- 1996 ITA Central Region Coach of the Year
- 1990 ITA Central Region Coach of the Year
- 1989 Big Eight Coach of the Year
- Second-longest tenured coach in K-State history behind legendary track coach Ward Haylett
The name Steve Bietau has become synonomous with Kansas State tennis. Now in his 20th season, Bietau has 183 career victories, more than three times the number of dual wins of his four predecessors combined. The continued success of his teams both on and off the court show Bietau’s knowledge and commitment to Kansas State University and the Wildcat tennis program.
Bietau is coming off the finest season in his 19 years at Kansas State. In 2003, the Wildcats posted a school-record 15 victories and a record-tying seven Big 12 wins en route to reaching the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. K-State upset No. 9 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 16 Northwestern before bowing out to No. 5 USC in the regional semifinals. It marked the third time the Wildcats have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State finished the season at No. 32 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) final poll and were ranked No. 1 in the ITA Central Region poll. Individually, Petra Sedlmajerova and Paulina Castillejos were ranked No. 4 in doubles in the region, while Sedlmajerova (No. 8), Maria Rosenberg (No. 13) and Jessica Simosa (No. 21) finished the season ranked in singles in the region.
During the memorable season, the team posted a six-match winning streak, the fifth-longest in school history, and earned wins over NCAA Tournament participants Colorado and Missouri. Sedlmajerova was named to the All-Big 12 singles’ team, while Sedlmajerova and Castillejos were selected to the all-conference doubles team. In additon, Sedlmajerova became Kansas State’s career leader in both singles’ (77) and doubles’ (73) wins and third in singles’ winning percentage (.620). Also, Hayley McIver and Andrea Cooper won 22 and 20 matches, respectively, becoming the first Wildcats since 2001 to have a 20-win season. McIver was twice named the Big 12 Player of the Week on April 1 and 15. The success in 2003 was nothing new for Bietau, who has twice been named the conference coach of the year (1989, 2000) and ITA Central Region Coach of the Year (1990, 1996) during his 19 years in Manhattan.
The 2000 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year, Bietau had yet another successful season in 2000. The Wildcats posted 14 victories overall, the most since 1990, including a win over Kansas, the first win for Kansas State over the Jayhawks since 1973, and a win over then-No. 18 Baylor. For three seasons, Kansas State’s Alena Jecminkova qualifed for the NCAA Singles Championships, while she won ITA Central Region and Big 12 Conference Player of the Year (2002), Central Region Player to Watch (2000) and All-Big 12 honors (2002, 2001 & 2000).
In 2000, he helped guide Kathy Chuda to a Big 12 No. 5 singles championship, Kansas State’s fourth conference champion. In addition, Petra Sedlmajerova was honored as the region’s Rookie of the Year and the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
Bietau, also the 1989 Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year, has led the Wildcats to their only three NCAA Tournament appearances, with all three bids coming in the past seven seasons. Kansas State’s 1996 team defeated Utah, 5-0, in the first round of the Central Regional, before falling to Kansas, 5-4, in the semifinals. In 1998, the Wildcats lost in the round of the regional to No. 3-seed New Mexico, 5-3.
Kansas State’s success is due in large part to Bietau’s outstanding recruiting, especially on the international level. Bietau recruited Kansas State’s only two All-Americans, Yana Dorodnova (1998) and Karina Kuregian (1994) from Russia and Armenia, respectively.
Besides Chuda, Kansas State has produced three other conference singles champions under Bietau’s tutelage, Karina Kuregian, Michele Riniker and Helen Schildknecht, and with Kuregian and Martina Shrubsole and Paulina Castillejos and Hayley McIver, a pair of conference championship doubles teams.
Bietau is also committed to his athletes’ success in the classroom and over the years he has coached seven ITA Scholar-Athletes, three Verizon Academic All-America and All-District selections, including Sedlmajerova in 2002 and 2003, and 12 members to the All-Big 12 Academic team, including a school-record four members in 2003. In addition, his 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003 squads each were named ITA All-Academic teams with a combined GPA of over 3.4.
Other strong seasons for the Wildcats include 1992, when Kansas State finished second in the Big Eight and 1989 when the Wildcats won a program-best 14 victories.
Over the years Bietau’s work has been respected and recognized by his peers, and for his efforts, Bietau has twice been honored by the ITA, winning the Central Region Coach of the Year honor in both 1990 and 1996.
In addition to his coaching duties, Bietau has served as a member of the ITA’s Board of Directors for six years. He also served as the ITA Central Region Chair from 1992-97. In addition, Bietau was a member of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Committee from 1992-96 and served as chair of the committee in 1997. He has also been president of the Kansas District Tennis Association.
Prior to coming to Kansas State in 1984-85, Bietau served as head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College from 1980-84. There, he led Hutchinson to a 13th place finish at the National Junior College Championships in 1984. While at Hutchinson, Bietau also spent time as a teaching professional at Prairie Dunes Tennis Club in Hutchinson.
Bietau, a native of Rockford, Ill., prepped at Rockford West (Ill.) High School and attended Rockvalley (Ill.) Junior College before transferring to Doane (Neb.) College where he graduated in 1979. During his playing career at Doane, Bietau qualified for the NAIA National Tennis Tournament three times.
Bietau resides in Manhattan with his wife, Connie two sons Brad and Drew and stepson Justin and stepdaughter Kayla.