, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is in his 28th year as head coach of the Hawkeyes. He has compiled a career record of 298-309.
In 2003 Houghton led his Hawkeye squad to a sixth-place tie in conference play. Houghton once again coached seniors Stuart Waters, Hunter Skogman and Pete Rose to strong seasons. He has also helped guide along Iowa's youth with freshmen Johan Bergenas, Chaitu Malempati and Parker Ross making key singles contributions. Iowa enters the tournament having won two of its last three conference matches over ranked opponents.
In 2002 Houghton led the Hawkeyes to a 12-10 record overall and a 4-6 Big Ten record. Iowa was ranked as high as 57th and recorded key wins over Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska. The Hawkeyes also came close to knocking off Ohio State, losing 4-3 after Pete Rose was forced to retire in the game deciding match. Houghton coached Rose and Stuart Waters to their best career records and Hunter Skogman to his best career Big Ten record. In his first year playing at the No. 1 position, Waters posted a 14-7 dual record and was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Apr. 3. Rose compiled a 13-6 dual record and held a seven-match winning streak before retiring to Ohio State's Paul Warkentin. Skogman went 7-2 in Big Ten play.
In 2001 Houghton coached Tyler Cleveland to yet another remarkable season. Cleveland went 19-3 overall and recorded the best record in the Big Ten's No. 1 position at 8-2. Cleveland etched his name in the Big Ten record books as he became the first men's player to receive back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year honors. He was also honored with the Region IV ITA Farnsworth Senior Player of the Year. Cleveland will go down as one of the greatest players in Iowa tennis history.
Houghton's best season came in 1984 when Iowa won a school record 21 matches and two Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors. The doubles team of Claes Ramel and Martin Aguirre qualified for nationals in 1989 and Houghton was named NCAA Region IV Coach of the Year. He has coached two Davis Cup players at Iowa. Bryan Crowley won the Rolex Region IV championship in 1995 and was ranked first in regional singles action, before falling to career-hampering injuries.
Not only are Houghton's players students of the game, as their recent victories attest, but they are also students in the classroom. Houghton's players have consistently maintained a grade point average above 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Last year Iowa had four players named to the academic all-Big Ten Team: Johan Bergenas, David Freijd, Pete Rose and Stuart Waters.
Houghton also had a successful playing career at Iowa, lettering three years and winning the No. 5 singles championship at the Big Ten meet. His career Big Ten singles record was 21-6, and his career winning percentage of .727 (40-15) is the second best in Iowa history.
The Hawkeye coach was a member of the 1971 Iowa tennis team that recorded a 3.53 team GPA, the highest of any NCAA team in any sport that year. That team also qualified for the NCAA meet after a third place Big Ten finish. A member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame, Houghton completed his fifth year as a member of the Region IV Ranking Committee. He is also involved with the Iowa City Tennis Association and has worked with the Iowa sports school's tennis program since its inception. He has also served on both the NCAA ranking and selection committees.
An Iowa City native, Houghton was a nationally ranked junior player at City High School. He earned his bachelor's (1971) and master's (1973) degrees from Iowa.
Houghton was born Jan. 9, 1949. Steve and his wife, Leora, have four children: Cari, Jeff, Jon and Scott.