Year Three for Lady Rebel head coach Kevin Cory and the hits just keep on coming.
A veteran of the elite tennis world of the Southeastern Conference, Cory was named to lead the UNLV women’s program on August 17, 1999, and proceeded to turn in one doozey of a debut season.
The rookie head coach simply led his squad to the school’s first-ever league championship, helped guide the greatest individual season in UNLV history and was named 2000 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
“It was an exciting first seasons, coming in and winning the conference and earning a lot of individual awards for our program,” Cory says. “We made a name for ourselves and people know UNLV will be a national factor in the future.”
All of college tennis took notice when Lady Rebels Katarina Malec and Marianne Bakken earned spots into the 2000 NCAA Championships and surged deeper into the tournament than any women in school history, including Malec’s appearance in the national semifinals.
Last season, despite a rebuilding mode, produced a third-place league finish, a MWC Freshman of the Year award and another singles representative at the NCAA Championships.
“Kevin has done an outstanding job,” UNLV Director of Tennis Dr. Larry Easley says. “He has already accomplished a lot of firsts for an up-and-coming program.”
Moving from one Lady Rebel program to another, Cory came to Las Vegas from the University of Mississippi where he had served as assistant coach since 1996.
The 1998 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year, Cory helped the Lady Rebels earn a place among the national powers of college tennis, including the school’s most successful season in history. In 1999, Ole Miss set a school record for most victories (24-5), posted a best-ever final ranking (sixth), won its first SEC tournament championship with an upset of top-ranked Florida, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. Cory led the squad to two victories while head coach Jerry Montgomery was away for nearly a month because of a family emergency.
“Kevin has demonstrated strong skills in teaching tennis to highly skilled female athletes, which was proved by the fact that he earned national assistant coach of the year honors,” Senior Woman Administrator Lisa Kelleher said when she announced Cory’s hiring. “He has prepared himself to become a head coach and the time was right to give him that opportunity. Certainly, his having worked in an elite tennis conference interested us but more importantly he had connections with the West Coast that made him a perfect fit with UNLV.”
Cory moved to Ole Miss after three years as director of tennis for the Umpqua Valley Tennis Club in Roseburg, Ore. In addition, he coached the Roseburg High School team to two consecutive state runner-up finishes. He began his career at Courthouse Athletic Club in Salem, Ore., after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.
The four-year letterman for the Ducks played No. 1 singles and doubles as a senior and was a 1990 first-team All-Pac-10 selection while finishing in the top 10 in career victories at the school. A native of California, he is a 1985 graduate of Los Altos High School.
Cory married the former Jennifer Ritz in the summer of 2000 and says he and wife look forward to a long stint on the desert campus.
“We feel really good about Las Vegas. There has been great support from the administration and community and I am excited about the future of this program.
YEAR SCHOOL RECORD PCT. CONF. FIN
2000* UNLV 15-9 .625 1st
2001 UNLV 11-12 .478 3rd
CAREER RECORD 26-12 .553