SKILLMAN, N.J. – The New Mexico State men’s tennis team received three regional awards as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association recently announced the 2009 ITA Regional Award Winners for NCAA Division I Tennis.
Head coach Don Ball was named the 2009 ITA Mountain Region Coach of the Year, assistant coach Carlos Vargas was named the 2009 ITA Mountain Region Assistant Coach of the Year and sophomore Jim Brouleau was named the 2009 ITA Mountain Region Player to Watch. The player to watch award goes to a player who has had an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level the rest of his or her career.
Ball said he is very excited that his program has received all kinds of recognition from their outstanding year and was especially pleased to see Vargas and Brouleau be honored.
“We had a very big jump in the level that we were playing at this year and that’s basically why we got these awards,” Ball said. “Carlos is obviously a very experienced assistant coach who is more like a head coach than an assistant. People identify him as one of the best and it’s a tribute to him that he is so well liked.
“For Jim, as a sophomore he played at No. 1 and No. 2 all year long and performed very well. He is truly deserving of this award and if he progresses next year like he did after his freshman season, then he will turn into one of the elite players in the country.”
Ball recently completed his 24th season as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at New Mexico State and he is the longest tenured head coach in the history of the NM State athletics department. This past season, the Aggies spent six weeks in the national rankings as they went on to finish the year with a 13-11 record. The Aggies made it to the quarterfinals of the WAC Championships for the third time in the last four seasons.
He is now a four-time coach of the year, as he was the 1999 Big West Coach of the Year, the 1999 Southern USPTA Coach of the Year and the 1988 High Country Athletic Conference Coach of the Year on the women’s side. He was won 540 dual matches in his career, combining the men’s and women’s team and he has coached three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 23 ITA Scholar Athletes (many of which received the honor multiple times).
Vargas wrapped up his 18th year with the NM State tennis program and got them back into the national rankings for the first time since March 16, 2004. The Aggies were ranked as high as No. 64 by the ITA this year on March 17, which is the fifth highest ranking in school history.
Vargas has coached 12 different players that have been named to an all-conference team and the Aggies have won 10 or matches in 13 out of the last 15 years under his guidance. In 2007, Gustave Diep was named the ITA Mountain Region Rookie of the Year under Vargas and Diep is also a two-time all-conference selection in singles.
Brouleau was named to the 2009 All-WAC second team in singles this year for the Aggies after posting 13-10 record. Brouleau was NM State’s primary No. 1 singles player, as 19 of his 23 matches were at the top position. He defeated one ranked player this season and adding in his fall record he won team-high 25 singles matches. Brouleau has posted a 51-25 (.671) singles record in his first two seasons as an Aggie.