Sherri Stephens is now entering her 24th season as the head coach of the University of San Diego women's tennis team. With Coach Stephen's leadership, the Toreros have gained respect as a national contender and she has turned the women's tennis program into one of the most respected programs in the nation.
Stephens arrived at USD in the Fall of 1984 and immediately began to reshape the women's tennis fortunes. Over the past twenty-three seasons against some of the nation's top women's tennis programs, Stephens has accumulated a win-loss record of 271-249, finishing nineteen seasons with a win-loss percentage greater than .500. During her time coaching the Toreros, she has advanced her team to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999). The Toreros have finished among the nation's top-25 in eight seasons, with a high of #14 in 1989, (18-8 overall record), which was USD's first team to advance to the NCAA's. Stephens has also had five Toreros receive a total of twelve NCAA All-American honors: Tonya Fuller (1991), Laura Richards (1992, 1993), Julie McKeon (1992, 1993, 1994), most recently Zuzana Lesenarova (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and Katarina Valkyova (1999, 2000).
Last season's team earned wins over ranked programs from Yale & Marshall, and was capped off by Samantha Mouly being named the WCC Freshman of the Year. Two seasons ago, Stephens led USD to a 11-7 overall record, a 4-1 WCC record, and according to the ITA, had a national ranking of No. 56. The Toreros had strong victories, such as beating No. 46 SMU on March 10, 2006, No. 56 Saint Mary's on March 12, 2006, and No. 56 Kansas State on March 19, 2006. Emma Murphy, ranked No. 41 singles player in the nation, finished the season with a win-loss record 13-2. Emma Murphy and Lauren Perl, ranked No. 37 doubles team in the nation, finished the season with a win-loss record of 9-4.
Coach Stephens has had two memorable seasons (1998-1999, 1999-2000) with the Toreros. During the 1999-2000 season, USD women's tennis team finished with a national ranking of 75. That spring, two USD individuals appeared in the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Tournament held in Malibu, CA. Zuzana Lesenarova advanced to the third round of the singles tournament, eventually losing to Stanford's Laura Granville in three sets (6-0, 4-6, 6-3). Katarina Valkyova lost in the first round to Cincinnati's Kara Molony in three sets (6-0, 3-6, 6-3). The Lesenarova/ Valkyova duo entered the NCAA doubles tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation, but had to withdraw due to injury. Both Lesenarova and Valkyova earned NCAA All-American honors in 2000.
In the 1998-1999 season, her squad finished 14-11 overall, advancing to the 2nd round of the NCAA's and finishing with a national ranking of 28. Zuzana Lesenarova won the 1999 NCAA Singles Championship; she held her No. 1 ranking all spring and won three of four ITA Grand Slam events. Kataring Valkyova was a third alternate at the NCAA's and she advanced to the quarters where she was dealt a three-set loss by Lesenarova. The duo teamed up in doubles play to advance to the NCAA semifinal round. Lesenarova and Valkyova were named 1999 NCAA All-Americans. Well respected among her peers in the coaching profession, Sherri has been a featured speaker at several ITA Coaches' Conventions. Twice she has had the privilege of coaching at the Olympic Sports Festival (1993/South, 1995/West), with her 1995 squad winning the gold medal. She was named the 1994 Female Coach of the Year by the USTA, Southern California Section/San Diego District.
Sherri has been involved with numerous administrative positions within collegiate tennis such as: the NCAA Ranking Committee, the NCAA Rules Committee, and as Tournament Chairman or the All-American National Championships the past five years. She also runs summer camps every year.
Stephens is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, and was a nationally ranked player on the junior circuit before enrolling at the University of Arizona. After completing her collegiate playing career in 1979, she began her coaching career as an assistant for the Arizona Wildcats.