Coach Kerry McDermott has been at the helm of the Nebraska program for more than a quarter-century since taking over in 1982. With 29 years of experience on his side as head coach of the Huskers, McDermott owns the second-longest tenure among active Big 12 coaches.
McDermott owns the most victories by a Nebraska tennis coach in the program's history with 316 wins. Only one other coach, Ed Higginbotham from 1951 to 1972, recorded at least 100 career victories, and McDermott has more than tripled his mark. McDermott recorded his 250th career coaching victory in 2005, when the Huskers knocked off No. 16 Rice on Jan. 24, and his 275th career victory came in 2007 when NU defeated No. 22 Oklahoma. In 2009, McDermott recorded his 300th victory when the Huskers defeated No. 75 Southern Mississippi, 6-1, on March 22.
In 2010, with a national ranking of 41st and an overall 13-12 record, McDermott led the Huskers to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Huskers lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round, 4-1, but the experience NU gained was valuable.
Aside from McDermott's coaching achievements, his players most notably remark on McDermott's character as a person. McDermott has proven to be a person of outstanding character and a coach who is known to recruit team players rather than individuals. Six of the roster's 11 players have come to Nebraska from overseas, which allows McDermott to be more than just a coach.
Along with recruiting players from outside the United States, McDermott is a firm believer in having home grown Huskers on the roster. McDermott currently has three Lincoln natives on the 2011 squad. He is a mentor off the court and a valuable resource for men navigating their path to maturity and graduation.
McDermott earned his first career win in 1982 and quickly started his climb up the NU coaching ledger. He picked up career win No. 50 in 1986 and by the end of the 1987 campaign - only his sixth season with the Huskers - he had recorded his 69th career victory to move into second place on the NU chart.
That early success was realized behind a solid foundation of players who earned regional and national acclaim. Over the years, McDermott has tutored nine Huskers through the regular season into the NCAA Championships. Four of the national tournament appearances have been in singles action, with the most recent coming in 2002. Four other appearances have come on the doubles court.
McDermott has continually pushed the Huskers to excel on and off the court. Under his guidance, Nebraska has recorded a 316-329 overall mark during the past 29 seasons. He has helped 12 singles players and five doubles teams earn conference championships, with the most recent coming at the end of the 2000 campaign, as Ryan Haith grabbed the top spot in the Big 12 at No. 6 singles. In the classroom, 45 players have been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll since the formation of the league in 1996. In 2010, three Huskers were named to the academic All-Big 12 teams as Christopher Aumueller and Francois Van Impe were all named to the first team, and Benedikt Lindheim earned second-team honors.
McDermott-coached athletes found great success in the late 1980s. The leader of that group, and one of the top players in the nation each of his last two seasons, was Steven Jung. After earning a berth in the NCAA Championships for three consecutive seasons, Jung is the most decorated athlete in NU men's tennis history.
Jung is the only player in Nebraska history to earn All-America status, after he finished his career as the runner-up at the 1989 NCAA Tournament. Under McDermott's guidance, Jung entered the tournament ranked No. 16 in the country, the highest regular-season ranking for a Husker in history. Jung also reached the NCAA Tournament in doubles play that season, teaming with his brother, Stuart, to rank as high as 12th in the nation. Steven Jung finished his career as the Nebraska career wins leader with 114.
In 1988, McDermott earned Big Eight Coach-of-the-Year honors as he guided the Huskers to a second-place finish in the league standings with a 5-1 record. Nebraska finished the season with a 14-6 dual mark, one of 16 seasons under McDermott that NU has recorded at least 10 dual match victories.
McDermott pulled double duty during the 1988 season, as he also crossed over to coach the Husker women's team for one year. He helped the Huskers to a fifth-place finish in the league standings despite a 5-12 overall record. McDermott's Huskers came back to post a 17-7 record in 1989, the best winning percentage (.708) during his tenure. The Huskers matched the school-record mark with 17 victories again in 1990.
After struggling in the mid-1990s, the Huskers have recorded at least nine dual victories in 11 of the past 12 seasons. Other signs of the Huskers regaining their championship form can also be seen. The 2002 squad earned a national ranking for just the second time since 1993. The 2003 team finished the regular season with a .500 record for the first time in six years. In 2009, McDermott led the Huskers to a 16-10 record and a final ranking of No. 68. The Huskers finished the 2010 season being ranked No. 41. They began the 2011 season ranked No. 42.
McDermott has helped five players earn national rankings since the start of the 2003 spring season. Florian Pressler earned a No. 78 ranking during the 2003 regular season, while Adrian Szatmary was ranked No. 115 in the preseason poll for 2005 and No. 78 entering the 2007 spring season. In the 2008 fall rankings, McDermott helped David Bendheim earn a No. 67 ranking and Calin Paar a No. 123 ranking. At the end of the 2009 season, McDermott helped freshman Christopher Aumueller finish at No. 97. Aumueller also finished the 2010 season ranked No. 85. Teammate Calin Paar was ranked No. 70. The Huskers have two players ranked with junior Benedikt Lindheim ranked at No. 97, while senior Calin Paar was No. 99.
In 2009, McDermott coached a relatively young lineup with only two seniors to a record of 16-10. The win total was the highest for a Husker team since 1990 when it won 17 matches, which is a school record. McDermott helped senior Hendrik Stahmer to an overall record of 22-10 in the spring and fall seasons, which catapulted him into the fifth spot on the all-time Nebraska wins list with 58.
He also helped Aumueller become the first Husker to earn an individual Big 12 postseason award in school history, when he won Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after going 18-6 as a freshman.
Arguably one of the program's greatest upsets came in the spring of 2005, when McDermott led the Huskers to a win over No. 16 Rice in the first dual match of the season, which also gave McDermott his 250th career win. Initially unranked as a team, the win helped push the Huskers into the national polls where they stayed for 13 weeks, ranking as high as No. 55.
In 2003, Nebraska reeled off a seven-match win streak early in the season behind Florian Preissler (13 singles wins) and freshman D.J. Geatz (14 singles wins), who equaled the most wins by a Husker freshman in the previous 10 years. The previous season, NU's Jose Hernan also reached the 14-win total while helping the team finish with a No. 72 ranking. Hernan's teammate, Lance Mills, became the first Husker to qualify for the NCAA singles tournament in a decade, where he advanced to the second round of the championship. The Omaha native finished the 2002 season ranked No. 99 in singles play after posting a 1-1 record at the national tournament.
McDermott began his relationship with the NU men's tennis program as a player. He competed for the Huskers from 1976 to 1980, and lettered all four years before playing No. 1 singles as a senior. A native of Grand Island, Neb., McDermott is married to the former Terrie Wade, also of Grand Island. In his spare time, McDermott competes in local and state tennis tournaments and is an avid runner who races competitively.
In 2003, McDermott won the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs for his age group at the Cornhusker State Games, and he picked up a bronze medal in the 5-mile road race. For his accomplishments, McDermott was named the Cornhusker State Games Male Athlete of the Year. McDermott also earned the National Congress of State Games Male Athlete of the Year award in 2003, recognizing him for his distance running achievements and participation in various activities over 19 years at the Cornhusker State Games. McDermott also served as the Director of the Cornhusker State Games in 2006.