On a hot streak
After success with the women's team, Borelli is getting the men turned around.
By Rick Mauch
When Dave Borelli returned to coach college tennis, he had a goal to make TCU one of the
top programs in the nation. In four seasons, he accomplished this with the women's program.
Now he plans to do the same with the men.
Borelli was 72-30 in four seasons as coach of the Lady Frogs. They won the Mountain West
Conference regular season and tournament championship in 2006, climbing to as high as No. 15
nationally (they reached No. 14 the season before), and making the program's first
appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
In August of 2006, Borelli accepted the job of coaching the men's program. It hasn't
taken long for the Horned Frogs to get noticed under the coach who once won seven national
championships with USC.
Last season, the Horned Frogs finished 10-12. This season, they are 9-1 entering this
week. It is only the second time since 1986 that they began a season with nine straight wins
(the other being 2004).
"We're not a top program yet, but we've got the makings," said Borelli, whose career
record is 393-88 (.817). "It's getting closer. We've come a long way from last year."
Perhaps best of all, the Horned Frogs are also one of the youngest teams around. Five of
the top seven players are freshmen, led by Zach Nichols, who is 10-0 in singles and 10-0 in
doubles with fellow freshman Jack Seider.
"Zach has such a wonderful attitude," said Borelli. "He reflects what the young guys are
about, just go play and have fun."
While the Horned Frogs have yet to reach national championship status, they have climbed
into the top 50 (No. 46), and they own victories against two other top-50 teams, having
defeated then-No. 31 Texas Tech 4-3 and then-No. 42 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 5-2. Their lone
loss was 4-3 at home to No. 15 Oklahoma State on Feb. 24.
The majority of the Horned Frogs' roster may be young, but they are have upperclassmen
leadership. Senior Cosmin Cotet is 9-1 in singles and 8-2 in doubles, playing mostly with
junior Kriegler Brink, who is 9-0 in singles and 7-2 in doubles.
"Our chemistry is our strength," said Borelli. "It's a cliche, but it's true.
"As the lone senior, Cosmin does a great job of leading."
Borelli, a 1974 graduate of USC, was also a four-year varsity member of the Trojans. He
later coached them in 1974 and 1976-88, winning seven national titles and finishing second
Borelli left USC and coached a professional team in Sacramento for two seasons before
becoming a professional tour coach for the United States Tennis Association. Then, seeing a challenge at TCU and tired of life on the professional road, Borelli came to Fort Worth.
The Horned Frogs begin Mountain West Conference play March 21 at Fresno State. TCU is also hosting the MWC Tournament April 24-26.
If the Horned Frogs don't lose between now and the match at Fresno, that will be for Borelli's 400th career win. Either way, that milestone will almost certainly come this season.
"I can remember almost all of them. I can remember the losses too," Borelli said, chuckling. "The impact of the people who had those wins is more important to me."
Like the impact that's being made at TCU.
"I could have gone back to USA or UCLA and it would have been a lot easier to win," Borelli said. "But TCU is a great school, and my job is to get the word out. Quality of life is important too, and we have a great quality here.
"We've got something special started here."
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