In her 15 seasons as head coach at Long Beach State, Jenny Hilt-Costello has taken the 49er women's tennis program into the national elite. Reaching No. 18 in the national rankings acknowledged the arrival of Beach Tennis during a run that has included 12 consecutive winning seasons, 12 straight finals appearances at the Big West Conference Tournament and 12 consecutive nationally-ranked seasons.
The 2012 campaign stands as a perfect example of what Hilt-Costello has been able to accomplish at Long Beach State. Winning an unprecedented seventh Big West Coach of the Year award, the 49ers went undefeated in Big West play on the way to a second straight Big West Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where the program picked up its second-ever win, sweeping No. 33 Arkansas 4-0. Senior Anais Dallara was named the Big West Player of the Year, and set single-season and career singles wins records in 2012. Four 49ers were honored with All-Big West selections, and the 49ers finished the season ranked No. 36 nationally and No. 5 in the Southwest Region.
With the win over Arkansas in the NCAA tournament, Hilt-Costello recorded her 250th career victory, the first active Big West Coach to reach that mark.
The 49ers have compiled a 225-80 (.737) mark the past 12 seasons, including a sparkling 121-12 (.909) against Big West Conference foes. The conference finals appearances (12 consecutive), league championships (9), NCAA tournament qualifications (9) and Top 75 ranking (12 consecutive years) are all the only times in school history that each has been achieved even once.
With a career coaching mark of 250-123 (.670) in 15 years, Hilt-Costello currently holds all major 49er women's tennis coaching records, including single season wins, career wins and highest winning percentage. Hilt-Costello has been named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year a league-record seven times (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, 2012), and in 2004, she was named the West Region Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year award.
During her tenure as head coach, 49er teams have featured seven Big West Conference Players of the Year, four Freshmen of the Year, 19 nationally ranked players and 42 Big West First Team singles and doubles honorees. Hilt-Costello has coached four singles and one doubles pair invitees to the NCAA Individual Championships, including Dallara, who was invited following the 2012 season.
During this unprecedented 12-season run, the 2006 season stands out as the 49ers were ranked as high No. 18, reaching the Top 20 for the first time in program history. Posting a 22-5 record versus fourteen ranked opponents in 2006, the 49ers won their first NCAA tournament match while advancing to the round of 32 in the NCAA Championships before narrowly falling to the number two team in the nation. The #26 final national ranking was a 30 spot jump from the start of the season.
Hilt-Costello served from 2002-2006 on the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Committee.
Hilt-Costello's student-athletes also succeed in the classroom having received nine (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) ITA National All-Academic Team Awards having over 3.40 team grade point averages, including eight in a row. Beach Tennis teams have won 13 of 16 Long Beach State "High Team Grade Point Average" awards amongst the eighteen varsity programs since 2001.
Hilt-Costello arrived at Long Beach State in the fall of 1995 as the assistant tennis coach, as well as teaching kinesiology classes.
Hilt-Costello played collegiate tennis at UCLA, where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology. She played all four years at UCLA and was named Bruin team captain as a senior. She earned a career high national doubles ranking of No. 9, and national singles ranking of No. 35. While at UCLA, the Bruin teams advanced to NCAA Tournament play all four years, including 1991 when they reached the National Championship team final.
Prior to her collegiate career, Hilt-Costello's junior career included advancing to the 1988 final of the USTA National Father-Daughter Doubles Tournament at the U.S. Open.
Born in Madison, Wisc., and raised in Sacramento, Calif., Jenny and her husband John own a home in Long Beach.