The dean of all Pepperdine coaches, Gualberto Escudero begins his 35th season at the helm of the women's tennis program in 2011-12. Escudero took over the head coaching position at the start of the 1977-78 season and has compiled a career record of 604-308 (.645) over 34 seasons.
Escudero has led Pepperdine to the NCAA postseason on 28 occasions, including each of the last 24 seasons. The Waves have advanced to the quarterfinal round at the NCAA Championships on four occasions -- 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1994. Escudero has directed Pepperdine to a top 10 final ranking seven times -- 1984, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999 and 2000.
Pepperdine has dominated the West Coast Conference under Escudero's leadership, as the Waves have won 22 of the last 24 WCC titles, which included a streak of 14 in a row from 1988-2001. Since the tournament format changed to a team dual-match setup in 1995, the Waves have a remarkable 49-2 (.961) record.
Escudero's teams have won 20 or more dual matches in a season 13 times, and 30 of his 34 teams have posted winning seasons.
Escudero has received numerous accolades for his work with the Waves. He was selected the ITA's District VIII Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992, the ITA West Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and has been named WCC Coach of the Year three times (1999, 2000 and 2006). He was named Pepperdine University's Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1989.
He has consistently attracted talented players to Malibu. Pepperdine women's tennis players have been named All-Americans 29 times, the WCC Player of the Year four times and the WCC Freshman of the Year six times. His players have been All-WCC first team selections 38 times and 21 doubles teams have won the award.
His student-athletes have also earned WCC All-Academic honors on 40 occasions. Anna Brunstrom was a CoSIDA Academic All-American in 1991. His teams earned public recognitions awards from the NCAA for its excellent APR score in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
The Waves posted a 13-7 dual match record during 1978, his first season as Pepperdine's head coach. The Waves competed at the AIAW national tournament in 1979 and 1980 and held the #1 ranking in the AIAW in 1980.
Under Escudero, Pepperdine made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1982 with the first of four straight berths in the Round of 16. Pam Jung collected the school's first All-American honor in 1983, and she repeated the award in 1984 along with Elisa Fernandez.
After a brief two-year absence from the tournament, Escudero had the Waves back among the nation's elite in 1988, as the Waves reached the Round of 16 again and went 22-4 for winning percentage of .846, a school record that still stands. Pepperdine has been part of the NCAA Tournament field every year since. Also, the Waves won the WCC title for the first time in 1988.
Ginger Helgeson and Janna Kovacevich earned All-American honors for the first time in 1988, as would Noelle Porter in 1989, and each would be key contributors as Pepperdine had a three-year run into the NCAA quarterfinals from 1989-91. The Waves finished with a #5 national ranking in 1991, the school's best finish in NCAA play. During the short time that the WCC conducted a singles championship, the Waves won six straight titles between 1988-93, with Helgeson capturing the first three, Porter the next two and Sonja Olejar the final one.
A new group of All-Americans led by Angela Lawrence (a four-time honoree), Isabela Petrov and Zsofia Csapo helped the Waves to NCAA Round of 16 finishes in four of five seasons between 1995 and 1999. Escudero's squad set a school record for wins with a 25-5 record in 1999.
The Waves won their first-round NCAA Tournament match for seven straight years between 2002-08. Their best finishes in recent years have been #10 in 2000 (21-5 record) #14 in 2006 (21-4 record) and #17 in 2007 (20-10 record). Pepperdine posted three straight 20-win seasons from 2006-08.
A native of Quillocollo, Bolivia, Escudero graduated from Hollywood High School before going on to obtain both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Pepperdine, earning a bachelor's degree in science in 1972 and a master's degree in teaching in 1974.
He was a standout player for the Waves from 1969-72. Under head coach John McClung, Escudero was a finalist in the 1969 WCAC singles tournament and won the doubles title with John Lovelace. Pepperdine won conference titles in 1969 and 1970 and finished second the next two years.
Presently, Escudero teaches tennis courses for the University's physical education department and his classes are annually among the most popular at the school.
Escudero resides in Thousand Oaks with his wife, Ha`. They have two sons, Egan and Kevin.