March 27, 2012

McNamara Honored as 2011 USTA New England College Coach of the Year

Yale Mentor Led Bulldogs to Ivy Title, First NCAA Tournament Match Win in 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Danielle McNamara, who has has led the Yale women's tennis program to two Ivy League Championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances and four ECAC Indoor Team Championships as the Bulldogs' head coach, was honored recently as 2011 USTA New England College Coach of the Year.

In 2011, McNamara led the Bulldogs to the first NCAA Tournament match win in school history, earning ITA Northeast Region Coach of the Year. The season was also highlighted by an Ivy League Championship and the team's third straight ECAC Indoor Team Championship. Yale's ITA ranking climbed as high as No. 23 in the country, the highest it had been in the 30-year history of the ITA rankings. Yale bested that mark earlier this season, rising as high as No. 18. The team is currently No. 24.

The Bulldogs also had five players earn All-Ivy League recognition last season and had a doubles team advance to the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in the fall of 2010 for the first time in school history.

A native of Massachusetts, McNamara joined the Yale coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2005 and was hired as the head coach in the summer of 2006. She has made a significant impact since arriving in New Haven, compiling a record of 73-33 overall and 35-7 vs. Ivy League opponents (29-6 in league matches) in her first five seasons. The Bulldogs have been particularly dominant at home, including an undefeated mark in New Haven (12-0) in 2010-11. Indoors, the Bulldogs play at the award-winning Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, which was the host site for the 2009 National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships and has also played host to numerous regional ITA and USTA events.

McNamara has shown a tremendous ability to recruit the best and the brightest players on a national level, recruiting multiple blue chip and 5-star players according to the tennisrecruiting.net rankings. Her most recent recruiting class, the Yale Class of 2016, was ranked No. 10 in the country this past winter. That comes on the heels of Yale's Class of 2013 being ranked No. 14 in the country, the Class of 2014 being ranked No. 8 and the Class of 2015 being ranked No. 21. Two of her recruited players have competed in junior Grand Slams prior to coming to Yale (Wimbledon, US Open).

Under McNamara's leadership the Bulldogs have been successful in the classroom as well, earning ITA All-Academic Team recognition in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The team has had 14 ITA Scholar Athlete selections in her first five seasons. McNamara has also coached four Academic All-Ivy League selections.

The Bulldogs have been active in the community under McNamara as well, and for her efforts she won the 2010 USTA/ITA Campus and Community Outreach Award for the New England region. Yale hosts an annual Campus Kids' Day for local children and has organized a food and clothing drive for the homeless. The team also takes 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. 

As a student-athlete at Michigan from 1996-2000 playing under her maiden name Danielle Lund, McNamara was the Big Ten Sportswoman of the Year (1999) and All-Big Ten (1998). She was the first player in Michigan history to participate in all three college national championships (All-American, National Indoors and the NCAA Championships). She was a two-time captain of the squad and earned the Michigan Athletic Department's Academic Achievement Award and the Donald R. Shepherd endowed scholarship for athletic and academic success. 

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.

McNamara is a current member of the ITA Board of Directors, Division I Operating Committee and the USTA New England Collegiate Committee. She was the co-chair of the 2009 ITA National Indoor Championships tournament committee and the chair of the 2009 ITA Northeast Regionals tournament committee. 

USTA New England is one of 17 regional sections across the country that comprise the United States Tennis Association (USTA). It is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting and developing the growth of tennis and increasing participation in the sport in New England by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. Founded in 1927 as the New England Lawn Tennis Association, USTA New England boasts more than 30,000 individual members, 350 organizational members, 1,000 volunteers, and a professional staff of 20. 

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

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