May 13, 2011

Yale Coaches McNamara, Thompson Honored by ITA

Bulldogs Win Regional Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year Awards

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale women's tennis head coach Danielle McNamara and assistant coach Christian Thompson, who have led the Bulldogs to an Ivy League championship and an NCAA Tournament berth this season, have been honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for their efforts. McNamara and Dartmouth's Bob Dallis have been named Northeast Region Coaches of the Year, and Thompson has been named Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

The duo has led Yale to a 20-4 mark this spring, including a 6-1 record in the Ivy League that earned the Bulldogs a share of the league title with Dartmouth. In addition to reaching a high of No. 23 in the national rankings, the best in school history, Yale claimed its third straight ECAC Indoor Team Championship and went undefeated at home. The Bulldogs also had five players earn All-Ivy League recognition and had a doubles team advance to the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in the fall for the first time in school history.

The Bulldogs also remained active in the community, hosting their annual Campus Kids' Day for local children as well as organizing a food and clothing drive for the homeless. The team also continued to take part in New Haven Tennis Outreach, a youth mentorship program for students in grades 3-12 directed towards children from low-income families who otherwise would not have access to high-quality academic guidance or athletic instruction.  For her efforts, McNamara won the 2010 USTA/ITA Campus and Community Outreach Award for the New England region earlier this season.

The Yale staff has also excelled at recruiting, as the Bulldogs are bringing in a pair of players for next year ranked as five-star recruits by Tennis Recruiting Network. The class was ranked No. 14 in the country in January. In the previous season's recruiting class they added one blue-chipper and a pair of five-stars, earning a ranking as the No. 8 recruiting class in the country.

McNamara, in her fifth season as head coach, has led Yale to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and Ivy League championships. The Bulldogs are 72-32 overall and 35-7 vs. Ivy League opponents (29-6 in league games) during her tenure. A native of Leominster, Mass., and a graduate of Leominster High, she first joined the Yale coaching staff as an assistant in 2005.

As a student-athlete at Michigan from 1996-2000, McNamara was an All-Big Ten selection and the Big Ten Sportswoman of the Year.  She was nationally ranked as high as No. 8 in doubles and No. 27 in singles and was the first player in Michigan history to participate in all three college national championships (All-American, National Indoors and the NCAA Championships). 

Among her other accomplishments, McNamara won one gold and one bronze ball in national USTA events.  She was also selected to coach the USTA Girl's 18 New England national team at the National Team Championships in 2008 and 2009. She is also a member of the ITA Board of Directors, Division I Operating Committee and the USTA New England Collegiate Committee.

Thompson, who is in her second season in New Haven, played collegiate and professional tennis prior to joining the Yale staff in the fall of 2009. A 2007 graduate of Notre Dame, she teamed with her twin sister Catrina Thompson -- now a volunteer assistant for Yale -- to earn the No. 1 doubles ranking in the nation in both 2005 and 2006.  The duo was named All-America in doubles in 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Thompson's doubles team won the Riviera/ITA All-America Championships in 2005 and placed second in the event in 2004 and 2006.

During her professional career, Thompson achieved WTA world rankings as high as 437 for doubles and 936 for singles. A native of Las Vegas, Nev., she was inducted into the Nevada Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008. She attended Bishop Gorman.

Yale, ranked No. 30 in the latest polls, plays No. 43 William & Mary in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday morning at Duke.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity