Sam Winterbotham enters his fourth season as the Colorado men’s tennis head coach continuing to build the Buffaloes into a competitive program not just among his Big 12 Conference peers, but on a national level.
In his previous three years in Boulder, Winterbotham is taking CU to new heights. With an exciting approach on the sideline, he is developing the men’s tennis program into a well-respected group of student-athletes among the nation.
“I have a fine group of men that really care about CU,” said Winterbotham. “They train and work hard at practices. They really are a lot of fun.”
Last season, Coach Winterbotham and his young Buffaloes were nationally ranked the entire spring season that saw 19 nationally ranked opponents grace the spring schedule. Despite a team not having one senior, CU remained steady throughout the dual campaign ranked as high as No. 43 and finishing No. 59. It’s their highest ranking in the ITA polls since the 1995-96 season.
The 2005 spring saw the Buffs tally five impressive wins over the nation’s elite teams defeating No. 15 Harvard, No. 33 New Mexico (twice), No. 47 Oklahoma, and No. 66 Nebraska. In conference play, CU won a pair of matches to finish the regular season tied for fifth. Prior to dual match play, Winterbotham guided the Buffaloes to their second straight appearance at the Mountain Region Indoor Playoff. Seeded No. 4 a year ago, CU improved it’s placing in the Fall of 2004 with a No. 3 regional ranking.
Individually, senior Marko Bundalo, who earned All-Big 12 singles honors among the conference coaches cracked the ITA’s elite singles ranking finishing the spring at No. 99 nationally. Bundalo won a team-best 20 victories was also awarded the ITA Mountain Region Player to Watch (awarded to a student-athlete having an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level for his remaining collegiate career).
During his previous two seasons in Boulder, Winterbotham guided the youthful Buffs to a pair of sixth place finishes in the 2003 and 2004 Big 12 standings, respectively. In addition, to 2004, Winterbotham coached current junior Peter Bjork to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Region VII Rookie of the Year.
Winterbotham has also made an immediate mark on the CU program, being selected as one of six members to represent the Mountain Region on the ITA Region VII Committee.
“The University of Colorado has an excellent athletic department ... one of the best in the country,” said Winterbotham. “I am proud to be a part of it and my goal is to build a tennis program that competes at the highest level, consistently fighting for championships at the conference and national levels.”
Prior to coming to Boulder, Winterbotham spent the previous three years at Baylor helping the Bears become a national power in the collegiate game. In addition to assisting the Bears with the day-to-day operation, Winterbotham was responsible for recruiting one of the best teams in the nation that eventually won the first national championship in Baylor history Baylor, as the Bears were crowned NCAA Champions in 2004.
While at Baylor, Winterbotham was named the 2002 Region VI Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Bears win the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament. Baylor advanced to the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16 and finished the season ranked seventh nationally.
Prior to his stint at Baylor, Winterbotham attended Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City where he was a four-year NAIA All-American. In 1997, he won top honors as the NAIA Rolex National Singles Champion.
At OCU, Winterbotham also was the 1999 Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year in soccer, where he was named to the all-region first team and honorable mention all-America team. He graduated in April 1999 with a degree in marketing and was honored as OCU’s international business student of the year for 1999. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports management.
A native of Stoke on Trent, Great Britain, Winterbotham is a certified LTA Tennis Professional (LTA is Great Britain’s USTA). As a player, he played numerous professional tournaments at the Future/Satellite level, was ranked as one of the top juniors in Great Britain.
Born Oct. 1, 1973, he is married to the former Tara McClure, a native of Asher, Oklahoma. The Winterbotham’s have two daughters, Zoe and Ryann.