Boise State tennis was in the doldrums in 2003. The team had disappeared from the national rankings and Athletic Director, Gene Bleymaier, decided it was time to fix it. He knew the answer… ex-Bronco coach Greg Patton…if he would return to the City of Trees.
Greg Patton agreed to come and take a look. The tennis program he left five years prior, his program, was in bad shape. Coaches had been dismissed, moral was low, and a new coach was needed. The team was sitting 5-5 on the season… going nowhere. The question, could he turn it around? Bring this snow-belt school back to the emerging national power it was? Once again challenge the powerhouse sunbelt schools of Texas, Florida, and California?
Greg Patton looked, said yes, and took the job for the second time. He became head coach and quickly worked his magic. The Broncos went on a rip, a 13-3 run in the second half of the season and won the WAC championships by upsetting the three favorites, Tulsa, Rice, and SMU. Boise State then went on to the NCAA National Championships, upsetting Arizona to make it to the round of 32, and ended the year #34 in the nation.
Okay. Winning is nothing new to Patton, also affectionately known as "The General". He has a long history of doing just that. He first coached the Broncos from 1992 to 1998. Boise State was a member of the Big Sky Conference. When Patton took over, the last Boise State conference tennis championship was won way back in 1974. He changed things and proceeded to win the Big Sky four years in a row, in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996.
In 1997 the Bronco's joined the Big West Conference. His Broncos didn't miss a beat. They won the Big West in 1997, beat major powerhouse programs like UCLA, and rose as high as #2 in the national college team rankings. Then he was enticed away to coach the United States Junior National Team.
Back further. Winning is what he did when he coached Big West tennis powerhouse, University of California at Irvine. From 1979 to 1992 he won nine conference championships, was named NCAA "Coach of the Year" and Big West "Coach of the Year" five times.
Back to now. Greg Patton's record at Boise State, through the spring of 2005, includes seven conference championships in eight years.
What makes this coach so successful? Charisma…yep. And recruiting…more so. Coach Patton said several years ago that it was time to win a national championship for Boise State. What was more interesting…coach said, I think we'll do it with mostly American high school kids.
Most programs rely on international players. Some majors such as Baylor, Pepperdine, and UCLA rely on international players almost exclusively. The overall all-college percentage breakdown is close to 70% International players, 30% American players.
So Bronco Country decided to see how Coach Patton's mostly American recruit-classes ranked against the recruit-classes from the major college programs.
We will let you in on a secret before reading more. We discovered if Bronco tennis recruiting were compared to football, Patton's success would be better than USC's football coach Pete Carroll…and all the other major programs in the country. In other words, Patton's classes rank #1 in the country.
Read on BC fans.
Last year, the most respected college tennis news information source in the country, College Tennis Online, ranked the Broncos' class #1 over all the other majors.
We decided to take it further and see how Patton's efforts ranked against the majors for the past three years. Most of our research came from another web site, Tennis Recruiting. These folks track the top 1200 high school players in the country. They rank them with stars, plus a higher classification level, Blue Chip.
The best recruits are five-star, the second level recruits, four-star, and so on. The rating system is the same as football, with one exception, the Blue Chip recruit. Blue Chip recruits are the elite players who consistently beat the five-star and four-star players.
We added together the recruits for the three-year period to reach a total performance score. Example: A team with one Blue Chip recruit (6 pts.), two five-star (five pts. per recruit=10 pts.), and one four-star (4 pts.) would have a total performance score of 20 pts.
We compared the top twenty FILA ITA teams listed this week (4-4-06), and compared them to #22 Boise State. And for drill we took a look at all Pac-10 teams, all the WAC teams, and the MWC powers.
The results are based upon the American high school recruiting base. Many of the teams recruit few if any American players, such as UCLA, Pepperdine…and Baylor who recruits NO American players.
The results are.
The current top twenty ranked teams, including #22 Boise State University:
#1....Boise State University…41 pts. Blue Chip-3. Five-star-3. Four-star-2.
#2....(tie) University of Virginia…37 pts. BC-3. Five-2. Four-2.
#2....(tie) University of Illinois…37 pts. BC-2. Five-5.
#4....University of Southern California…31 pts. BC-3. Five-2.
#5....(tie) Stanford University…30 pts. BC-2. Five-2. Four-2.
#5....(tie) University of Texas-Austin…30 pts. BC-2. Five-2. Four-2.
#7....University of Arkansas…29 pts. Five-2. Four-3. Three-1. Two-2.
#8…University of North Carolina…26 pts. BC-2. Five-2. Four-4.
#9....(tie) Notre Dame…24 pts. BC-1. Five-2. Four-2.
#9....(tie) University of California…24 pts. BC-1. Five-2. Four-2.
#11...Clemson University…23 pts. BC-2. Five-1. Four-1. Two-1.
#12...Duke University…22 pts. BC-2. Five-2.
#13...University of Texas A&M…21 pts. BC-2. Five-1. Four-1.
#14...(tie) University of Georgia…19 pts. BC-1. Five-2. Three-1.
#14...(tie) Ohio State University…19 pts. BC-2. Four-1. Four-1.
#16…University of Florida…16 pts. BC-2. Four-1.
#17…University of Miami…11 pts. BC-1. Five-1.
#18…UCLA…5 pts. Five-1.
#19…Pepperdine University…4 pts. Four-1.
Not reporting American high school recruits…Baylor, Mississippi, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The rest of the PAC 10.
University of Oregon…9 pts. Four-2. Three-1.
University of Arizona…2 pts. Two-1.
Arizona State University…4 pts. Four-1.
University of Washington…12 pts. Four-3.
The rest of the WAC.
Fresno State University…9 pts. Five-1. Four-1.
Utah State University…6 pts. Three-2. One-1.
University of Hawaii…6 pts. Four-1. Two-1.
University of Idaho…3 pts. Two-1. One-1.
BYU…12 pts. Four-3.
University of Utah…10 pts. Five-2.
What seems to be a mountain, a National Championship, when analyzed in proper perspective, is more like a hill. General Greg Patton and his Army are quickly assembling the force, and are about to take that hill.
Without a doubt, soon, there will be another major tennis power in America.