The Bronco tennis team is on a rip this year. They are currently ranked #19 in the nation out of 280 college tennis programs. And they have a set of goals…another WAC Championship, a top ten ranking, and a National Championship.
The strength of the 2007 roster is the brother tandem of Luke and Clancy Shields ranked # 7 and #80 in singles. The team is a powerhouse at doubles. The reason there are no Bronco doubles teams ranked is Patton plays multi combinations not unlike the football team.
A National Championship? The Bronco's came close in the past. "BOISE STATE BEATS NCAA TENNIS POWERHOUSE, UCLA." That was the 1997 Idaho Statesman sports headline shocker.
Greg Patton had done the next to the impossible way back then. Big time college tennis is played in California, Texas, and Florida, not Idaho. He had taken a tired tennis program, from an almost unknown mid-major university; located in a state many American's confuse with Iowa, and turned it into a national power. At one time the ‘97 team was ranked #2 in the nation. UCLA wasn't the only major victory that year. Greg's guys also thumped Texas Tech, Illinois, Mississippi, Washington, Clemson, Auburn, and Miami. The Broncos finished the year #5.
First, we can't talk about the team without talking about a great coach, Greg Patton.
During his tenor as a collegiate head coach, his teams have won seventeen championships in three conferences, were ranked in the top twenty-five twelve times, and he himself was voted NCAA "Coach of the Year" in 1987 while coaching at UC Irvine, and again in 1997 at Boise State.
After seven conference championships in eight years at Boise State, he left to join the US National Tennis Team. He coached for them from 1998-2003.
In the winter of 2002-03, he led the national boys 14's team to a World Cup Championship, beating teams from Spain and Argentina to take the title. Some of his junior players have gone on to achieve world professional rankings. Five became household words. Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, David Wheaton and Malavai Washington.
Coach Patton left the National Team and returned to Boise State in March of 2003. It didn't take him long to work his magic again. Boise was struggling in mid-season with a 5-5 record. He took them on a 13-1 run, entered the WAC Championship Tournament, stunned Tulsa, Rice, and SMU, won the WAC trophy, then upset Arizona in the NCAA only to lose in a close match in the round of 32 to California.
The Broncos won the WAC again in 2004 and 2006 finishing in the top thirty in the nation.
At first glance the 2007 Broncos appear to have a mediocre 9-4 record. The nine wins, however, were played against ranked teams. Boise State beat Stanford on their courts to break the Stanford home match winning streak of 115 straight.The four losses were to #3 Virginia, #6 Mississippi, #11 USC, and #16 Texas.
The matches are scheduled for 1:30 PM at Appleton, weather permitting. First…Utah (#73) on Friday. On Saturday it's the top team from the Eastern Region (and Ivy League champ) the #63 University of Penn. If weather intervenes, the matches will be played indoors at the Boas Center off of Boise Avenue.
Make it orange and noisy!