|Year:||Sixth Season at SCU|
Under the direction of Derek Mills, the Santa Clara men’s tennis program has grown to new heights. Mills completed his sixth season as the Bronco head men’s tennis coach with the conclusion of the 2013 season, marking his 21st year of coaching at the youth and collegiate levels. Mills guided the Broncos to their first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2012 and he has developed Santa Clara into highly-ranked team on a national level as well as a perennial threat in the West Coast Conference.
During the 2013 campaign, Mills led Santa Clara to a 17-10 overall record. The squad finished the season with a national ITA ranking of No. 61 including a season-high rank of No. 35. The Broncos knocked off a number of ranked opponents including No. 38 Boise State twice, No. 55 Tulane and No. 70 UC Santa Barbara. Santa Clara reeled off a season-high winning streak of four matches from April 13 to April 24 where it defeated USF, Portland and Gonzaga twice.
Mills’ impact on the Broncos’ season was reflected in the WCC postseason awards, as Santa Clara took home a number of accolades. John Lamble received First-Team All-WCC honors for his stellar singles play and Matt Kecki and Tom Pham were both named honorable mention. In doubles, Lamble and Ilya Osintsev were named honorable mention for their strong play at No 1 while Kecki and Pham also received honorable mention honors after playing in the second spot.
Mills earned an impressive personal accomplishment during the season as well. In a 5-2 win over Northern Arizona on March 10, he picked up his 100th career coaching victory. Mills finished the season with 106 career wins and will look to add to that number in 2014.
In 2012, Mills led Santa Clara its most successful season in program history, while garnering West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors. Mills led the Broncos to numerous program firsts including the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance and first NCAA Tournament win against then-No. 19 Texas during the first round. The Broncos then fell to then-No. 11 Stanford, who advanced to the Elite Eight.
Last year Mills coached the Broncos to all-time highs in wins in a season (22), an all-time high in national ranking at No. 29 on March 6 and the highest end-of-season ranking in school history at No. 33. During the season Santa Clara finished second in the WCC while Mills coached four players to the all-conference singles team, four players to the all-conference doubles team and two members were also honored on the WCC All-Academic squad. Additionally, Mills helped Ostinsev garner WCC Freshman of the Year honors, the second Bronco to ever receive the award.
Mills guided the Broncos to a record-setting campaign in the spring of 2010, achieving an all-time high national ranking of No. 43 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Broncos reached the West Coast Conference championship match for only the second time in program history prior to accomplishing the feat again in 2011. In addition to those team accolades, five Broncos received All-WCC honors. They were 13-1 at home in 2010.
Mills, who attended high school at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, started at Santa Clara in 2007. He spent the previous six years working with some of the top juniors as a tennis professional in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Prior to teaching in Honolulu, Mills spent two seasons at Saint Louis University as the head men's and women's tennis coach. During those two seasons, he had three of his players earn All-Conference USA honors, while the team maintained a GPA of 3.3 or better. The team also won an All-Conference USA Sportsmanship Award. Two of his recruits on the men's team, Lance Vodicka and Ikaika Jobe, are currently earning points on the ATP tour.
Mills served a short stint as the assistant coach for both the men's and women's programs at Brigham Young University-Hawaii during the 1997-98 season.
Mills also spent time as an assistant coach for Northwest Missouri State from 1994-97, helping the men's team win three Mid-America Championships.