Peter Smith Named Men's Tennis Head Coach

May 31, 2002

LOS ANGELES - Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, has been named head coach of the national champion USC men's tennis team, Trojan senior associate athletic director Daryl Gross announced today.

Smith replaces Dick Leach, who retired this month after guiding the Trojans to four NCAA championships (including the 2002 title) in his 23 years at USC. Leach will remain on staff at USC as emeritus director of men's tennis, advising athletic director Mike Garrett and Smith on the development of the Trojan tennis program, as well as helping raise funds. Current assistant coach Brett Hansen also will remain on staff.

'We are very fortunate to have someone of this caliber replace legendary coach Dick Leach,' said Gross. 'Peter Smith is one of the best coaches in the country and he will keep the Trojan tennis tradition alive. He is an incredible teacher and motivator. It's just and a perfect fit at USC. We could not be more pleased.'

'This is a dream come true for me to receive such an incredible opportunity,' said Smith, whose 15-year head coaching mark while at Pepperdine, Fresno State and Long Beach State stands at 270-135 (.667) and whose teams have been in the last nine NCAA tournaments. 'USC has such a prestigious athletic and academic history and I am so proud to be a part of it. I knew I wanted to be part of the best.'

Smith, 37, is coming off a 25-6 season at Pepperdine, in which he led the 2002 Waves to the NCAA quarterfinals and a final No. 5 national ranking. He earned his fifth straight West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor and was tabbed the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Region VIII Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three years (he also won it in 2000).

In five years at Pepperdine (1998-2002), Smith compiled a 118-31 (.792) dual match record and finished in the Top 20 every year. The Waves won the WCC title and advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Championships each season. He coached eight All-Americans during his tenure in Malibu (Robert Lindstedt, Kelly Gullett, John Hui, Anthony Ross, Robert Kendrick, Stefan Sutter, Sebastien Graeff and Al Garland).

Smith spent the previous six seasons (1992-97) as men's tennis head coach at Fresno State, transforming the Bulldogs into a Top 20 program. His dual match record at Fresno State was 102-57 (.642). He led the Bulldogs to its first-ever NCAA tourney in 1994 and coached the program's first-ever All-American (Fredrik Bergh) in 1995. In all, he guided the Bulldogs into the NCAAs in his last four seasons and coached three All-Americans (Fredrik Berg, Fredrik Giers, Kelly Gullett and Robert Lindstedt).

Smith enjoyed his greatest success at Fresno State in 1996 when the team won its first Western Athletic Conference title, posted a 23-5 dual-match record (the best in school history) and earned its third-straight NCAA berth with a No. 6 national ranking. That season, he was named ITA Region VII and Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.(more)

Smith remains the only men's coach to take two different schools to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships in the 1990s-doing so at Fresno State in 1996 and Pepperdine in 1998. Additionally, Smith and Dukes' Jay Lapidus were the only two men's coaches whose teams did not lose a match in NCAA regional play in the last decade.

Smith earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Long Beach State in 1987 and was a four-year letterwinner for the 49ers. After playing professional tennis for 15 months and competing in prestigious events such as the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, Smith returned to Long Beach State and became the youngest Division I men's tennis head coach at age 23. He served as the 49ers' head coach for four years (1988-91), compiling an overall record of 50-47 (.515). In 1989, Long Beach State posted a 15-11 dual match record and completed the season ranked No. 25 nationally.

Smith was born on Aug. 15, 1964. He and his wife, Tammie, have three sons, Tanner (6), Riley (4) and Colter (1).


OverallYear School W L Pct. NCAA Finish Final Ranking
1988 Long Beach St 9 11 .450 -- --
1989 Long Beach St 15 11 .577 -- No. 25-T
1990 Long Beach St 11 14 .440 -- --
1991 Long Beach St 15 11 .577 -- --
1992 Fresno State 13 9 .591 -- --
1993 Fresno State 13 11 .542 -- --
1994 Fresno State 20 8 .714 NCAA Round of 16 No. 29
1995 Fresno State 16 12 .571 NCAA Round of 16 No. 20
1996 Fresno State 23 5 .892 NCAA Quarterfinals No. 6
1997 Fresno State 17 12 .586 NCAA Round of 16 No. 29
1998 Pepperdine 27 6 .818 NCAA Quarterfinals No. 9
1999 Pepperdine 23 8 .742 NCAA Second Round No. 20
2000 Pepperdine 24 3 .889 NCAA Second Round No. 11
2001 Pepperdine 19 8 .704 NCAA Round of 16 No. 18
2002 Pepperdine 25 6 .806 NCAA Quarterfinals No. 5

Career Record 270 135 .667

Long Beach St 50 47 .515
Fresno State 102 57 .642
Pepperdine 118 31 .792

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