Dick Leach Named ITA National Coach Of The Year

May 22, 2002

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the national award winners for men's tennis and inducted the Class of 2002 into the ITA Men's Hall of Fame Wednesday night during the NCAA Division I Championships at Texas A&M. Father and son Dick and Rick Leach highlighted tonight's ceremonies. Dick, whose USC team won the NCAA title last night, was named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. His son Rick, a two-time NCAA doubles champ and four-time ITA All-American at USC, was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.

Along with Dick Leach, who is retiring after 23 years of coaching, the following national award winners were also honored: ITA/Ted Farnsworth National Senior Co-Player of the Year-Andy Leber of Texas-Arlington and Javier Taborga of Notre Dame; ITA National Rookie of the Year-Jesse Witten of Kentucky; ITA National Player to Watch-Romain Ambert of Mississippi State; ITA/Rafael Osuna (USC '63) Sportsmanship Award-Al Garland of Pepperdine; ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year-Billy Pate of Notre Dame; ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship-Daniel Klemetz of Middle Tennessee; and the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award-Peter Handoyo of Tennessee.

The following six new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Rick Leach. The inductees include six former players and one coach: (players) Richard Harte of Harvard, Julius Seligson of Lehigh, Erick Iskersky of Trinity (Texas), Tim Mayotte of Stanford, Paul Annacone of Tennessee and Rick Leach of USC; and (coach) Bernis Duke of Oral Roberts.

Dick Leach, the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year, captured his fourth NCAA title as coach of USC last night in a 4-1 upset win over Georgia. USC, which went 25-5 this season, entered the NCAAs as the No. 11 seed and upset the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6 seeds en route to the title. Leach will retire with 535 career victories, four NCAA team titles, two NCAA singles champs, three NCAA doubles champs and seven Pac-10 titles. USC will be No. 1 in the final Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings when they are released next week.

The ITA will name the National Player of the Year and National Doubles Team next month.

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