As the nation's winningest active women's tennis coach, Jeff Wallace has built the Georgia Bulldogs in to one of the elite college programs that plays host to and wins NCAA and Southeastern Conference Championships. The 2012 season marked his 27th year with the Bulldogs, and the team made its 26th straight appearance in the NCAA Championships, posting a 24-5 record and a final national ranking of No. 6. In 2009 following another memorable campaign when Georgia advanced to its 10th NCAA Final Four, Wallace became the first person to ever be named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year four times.
During his tenure, Wallace's squads have claimed two NCAA championships, three USTA/ITA National Team Indoor titles and seven Southeastern Conference crowns. A four-time National Coach of the Year recipient and four-time SEC Coach of the Year, Wallace's career record is 583-146. His .800 winning percentage is the best among active Division I coaches with a minimum of 500 victories. Wallace's teams are the picture of consistency. With the 2012 NCAA bid, Georgia has appeared in 26 straight NCAA Tournaments and has advanced to the "Final Four" 10 times. Only once during his time as coach of the Bulldogs has the team missed the NCAA Tournament, and that was his first year back in 1986.
His record for developing players and having them maximize their potential has been evident throughout his tenure. In 2010, sophomore Chelsey Gullickson captured the NCAA singles title in Athens and played in the US Open later that summer in singles and doubles. Gullickson concluded her career in 2012 as the first eight-time All-American in Georgia tennis history. Agata Cioroch is another example of success under Wallace's tutelage. She arrived from Poland in 2001 and played No. 5 for the Bulldogs as a freshman. Two years later, she became Georgia's top talent and in 2004 was the No. 1-ranked player in college tennis for much of the season. Cioroch concluded her career as a five-time All-American with two grand slam singles titles. Strong doubles teams are a key component for a successful college tennis team. There have been six Bulldog tandems under Wallace to finish the season ranked No. 1. Georgia tennis has thrived under Wallace.
While the depth of talent can vary each season, the results remain consistent. This was no more evident than in 2002. Despite having only one player earn All-America honors, Georgia went undefeated during the regular season, won the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor title, the SEC championship and advanced to the NCAA "Final Four." The 2002 squad finished with a 26-2 record and final national ranking of No. 3. Georgia went 13-0 at home and extended its home winning streak to 50 straight.
In 2009, two of Georgia's top players were freshmen: Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, and by the end of the year they had earned All-America honors. Gullickson was named the ITA National Rookie of the Year, advanced to the NCAA Singles semifinals and tied a school record with 69 combined wins. Gullickson and Gilchrist became the first freshmen in school history to play No. 1 doubles in the lineup. In 2010, the pair earned All-America honors again and Gullickson became the second Bulldog to win an NCAA singles title under Wallace and the third overall in the history of the program.
Success in Wallace Era
In 23 of the past 27 seasons, Georgia has finished with a top 10 national ranking including No. 1 in 1994 and 2000. In the Wallace era, seven Bulldogs have won grand slam titles, two have won the Honda-Broderick Award for tennis, 27 Bulldogs have earned All-America honors 89 times, and 46 different Bulldogs have been listed on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
A 1985 graduate of the University of Georgia, Wallace capped his playing career under legendary Bulldog head coach Dan Magill in 1984 after winning the SEC singles title at the No. 6 spot. The very next season, his first as coach of the Bulldogs, Wallace led a struggling team up the path of respectability by posting a 20-9 mark and landing a spot in the final Volvo Tennis/ITCA Top 25 poll. In 1987, just two years removed from a losing record, Georgia advanced to the national championship match. Although they didn't win it that year, the Bulldogs would have their day.
1994 NCAA National Champions
The 1994 season ranks as one of the most dominant ever in women's tennis history. It found Georgia on the champion's pedestal in every major team tournament possible: NCAA Champions, USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Champions, and SEC regular season and tournament champions. Top that all off with a 27-2 overall record including a perfect 14-0 SEC mark and a season sweep of arch-rival Florida and it's easy to see why Wallace was named coach of the year.
2000 NCAA National Champions
The 2000 Bulldogs went 27-2, winning the Southeastern Conference title and the NCAA National Championship. In the title match on the campus of Pepperdine, Georgia dethroned the defending champion Stanford Cardinal 5-4, snapping a 48-match winning streak. Wallace was named the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year.
USTA/ITA National Team Indoors
Under Wallace, the Bulldogs have been among the most successful teams at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The annual event held generally in Madison, Wis., attracts the nation's finest programs. The Bulldogs have won the title three times (1994, 1995, 2002) and have reached at least the semifinals 14 times.
A native of Portland, Ore., Wallace is married to the former Sabina Marie Horne. They have two children, Brittany Sabina (23) and Jarryd Jeffrey (21). Brittany is a recent graduate of Valdosta State while Jarryd is training full-time as a sprinter for the U.S. Paralympic Team. He was a member of the Georgia cross country team until a leg injury ended his Bulldog career. Sabina, a former All-SEC distance runner at Georgia, was inducted into the North Bay (Ontario, Canada) Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. She has continued to run competitively and has helped Wallace train for road races and marathons. Sabina is the track representative for Georgia's "G" club, an alumni association for University of Georgia letter-winners. Also, Wallace received the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Recreation and Leisure Studies department of the University of Georgia's College of Education.
#1: Oct. 5, 1985 - Beat Wisconsin 6-3 in Columbia, S.C.
#100: Feb. 3, 1990 - Beat Okla. State 5-1 in Miami, Fla.
#200: April 19, 1994 - Beat Auburn 6-0 in Athens, Ga.
#300: April 2, 1999 - Beat Tennessee 5-1 in Knoxville, Tenn.
#400: April 19, 2003 - Beat #10 Kentucky 4-1 in Knoxville, Tenn.
#500: May 10, 2008 - Beat #33 South Carolina 4-0 in Athens, Ga.
Georgia Success With Wallace
• 1994 and 2000 NCAA Team Championships
• 1994, 1995 and 2002 USTA/ITA Indoor Team Titles
• Seven SEC Titles (1989, '90, '94, '00, '02, '07, `09)
• Six SEC Tournament Titles (1989, '94, '01, '07, '08, '09)
• Bulldogs have won eight grand slam titles
• Two HONDA Broderick Award winners for Tennis
• One College Tennis Player of the Year
• Three National Senior of the Year selections
• 27 Bulldog All-Americans honored 89 times
• 46 Bulldogs on the SEC Academic Honor Roll 76 times
• 39 Bulldogs selected to the All-SEC First Team 85 times