The Best Free Sports Publication in America!
Inside Tennis Home pageInside Tennis Current Issue pageInside Tennis Best of the Best pageInside Tennis Advertising pageInside Tennis Subscriptions page
Inside Tennis Editions pageInside Tennis Payments PageInside Tennis Archives pageAbout Inside Tennis pageInside Tennis Contact page

MAY 2006

Top 10 All-Time NCAA Men's and Women's Teams

THE MEN

1 1963 USC
This legendary Trojan squad has had five players inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. George Toley’s crew was led by Dennis Ralston and Rafael Osuna. Ralston swept the NCAA singles and doubles (with Osuna) that year to lead the Men of Troy past runner-up UCLA 29-19 in the NCAA tournament’s overall point standings. This SC team was so good that Osuna, who went on to win the U.S. Open singles title later that year, played No. 3 behind Ralston and Tom Edlefsen in the singles lineup. Osuna and Ralston had also won the Wimbledon doubles title three years earlier. Trojans Edlefsen, Ramsey Earnhart and Bill Bond were all ranked in the U.S. top 10 during this time. Said former Stanford skipper Dick Gould: “That was the best team of all time. You’ve got a couple of Grand Slam champions. You’ve got Wimbledon doubles champs. You’ve got three guys who were in the top 10 in the U.S. They just had a great team. They were in a class by themselves.”

2 1978 Stanford
Two words: Johnny Mac. The fall after he reached the Wimbledon semis, McEnroe enrolled at Stanford and helped the Cardinal to a 24-0 season and a fourth NCAA championship. Dick Gould’s first unbeaten team had a lot more than McEnroe, though. ‘77 NCAA singles champ Matt Mitchell played No. 3 in a singles lineup that also included ITA All-Americans Bill Maze and Perry Wright.

3 1967 USC
This was the second of four straight Toley championship teams that capped the USC’s decade of dominance. Junior Stan Smith was one year away from winning his first singles title, but did win the first of what would become numerous doubles titles with Bob Lutz (who won singles that year). All told, USC’s lineup featured three NCAA singles champions: Lutz, Smith (‘68) and Joaquin Loyo-Mayo (‘69).

4 1971 UCLA
A freshman named Jimmy Connors helped the Bruins to a 17-0 record and second straight NCAA championship. Connors, who would win the NCAA singles title in his only season with the blue and gold, didn’t even play No. 1 in singles. That spot was held by ‘70 NCAA champ Jeff Borowiak. Glenn Bassett’s squad also included ITA All-Americans Harold Rahim, who won the doubles title that year with Borowiak, and Jeff Austin.

NCAA Team Champions
USC 1963 Men's tennis team
NCAA Individual Singles Champions

5 1965 UCLA
After three straight second-place finishes to rival USC, UCLA senior Arthur Ashe swept the NCAA singles and doubles (with Ian Crookenden) titles to help the Bruins to the largest margin of victory under the old tournament format — 18 points better than second-place Miami. Ashe alone makes this team special, but ITA founder J.D. Morgan’s Bruins also featured Crookenden and Charlie Pasarell.

6 1972 Trinity
For a 25-year stretch, there was just one team able to break the Pac-10’s stranglehold on the NCAA title — ‘72 Trinity. Trinity posted a perfect 27-0 mark that year and was led by the likes of Dick Stockton, Brian Gottfried, Bobby McKinley and Paul Gerkin. Stockton beat Gottfried in the singles final and Gottfried and Gerkin reached the title match in doubles. Coming in second that year (six points behind) was Roscoe Tanner-led Stanford.

7 1974 Stanford
Dick Gould’s second national championship team did it the hard way. Gould headed down to the ‘74 NCAAs in L.A. without his top two players — Alex Mayer (turned pro) and Pat DuPre (injury). But current Stanford coach John Whitlinger led the way, sweeping the singles and doubles (with Jim Delaney) to help the Cardinal edge USC 30-25 in the point standings. Gould’s squad also included Nick Saviano and Chico Hagey, who fell to Whitlinger in the singles final.

8 1998 Stanford
A team must yield four points in order to lose a dual match. The ‘98 Cardinal lost three team points the entire season. Bob and Mike Bryan, Paul Goldstein and Ryan Wolters led the way (‘00 NCAA singles champ Alex Kim played No. 6 in the lineup) as Stanford won a fourth straight title, going 28-0. Bob Bryan would go on to win the singles crown (beating Goldstein in the final) and team with Mike to win doubles. If this list was for the best season ever, the ‘98 Cardinal would likely be higher.

9 1947 William & Mary
The second and third teams to ever win the NCAA title came from Williamsburg, Va. The ‘46-’47 William & Mary teams were led by Gardner Larned, Bernard Bartzen and Fred Kovaleski and ran up an 83-match win streak.

10-TIE 1985 Georgia
One year before reaching the French Open final, Mikael Pernfors led a veteran Georgia team, coached by the legendary Dan Magill, to its first NCAA crown. With four seniors at the top of the lineup, Georgia (36-1) knocked off powers Stanford, USC and UCLA en route to the title, beating the Bruins 5-1 in the final. Pernfors went an eye-popping 71-3 in singles that season and would go on to win his second straight singles title.

10-TIE 1988 Stanford
Patrick McEnroe, Jeff Tarango and David Wheaton led Stanford to what would become the first of a three-year run of NCAA championships. The Cardinal went 25-1 and capped the season with a 5-2 win over LSU in the final.

THE WOMEN

1 1982 Stanford
The first NCAA champions were led by three players who would go on to top 25 WTA Rankings — NCAA singles champ Alycia Moulton, Elise Burgin and Kate Gompert. The Cardinal (20-0) didn’t have an easy path to the title, edging the Gretchen Rush-led Trinity women 5-4 in the semis and a UCLA team that had qualified seven players for the NCAA singles tournament. Getting past Trinity and Rush was no small feat.

2 1991 Stanford
This squad gets some bonus points for being a dynasty. Feel free to lump the ‘89-’90 Cardinal squads in with this one as the nucleus from those teams was very much a part of this one. The ‘91 Cardinal is the only women’s team in history to have players finish 1-2-3 in the ITA singles rankings — Debbie Graham, Meredith McGrath and Sandra Birch. Frank Brennan’s record sixth straight championship team capped a 26-1 season with a 5-1 win over UCLA in the final. McGrath and Graham would go on to reach as high as Nos. 26 and 35 in the world, and Birch won her second NCAA singles title in three years. Brennan’s Cardinal reeled off 76 straight wins from ‘88 to ‘91.

1991 Stamford Women's tennis team
Most NCAA Team Titles
1992 Florida Women's tennis team

 

3 1984 Stanford
Freshman Patty Fendick helped lead the Cardinal to a 26-0 mark and their second title in three years. Many consider Fendick, now coach at Texas, to be the best college player of the past 25 years. The team featured two players who would go on to win the next three NCAA singles titles — Linda Gates (‘85) and Fendick (‘86 and ‘87). Fendick reached the third round at the U.S. Open that summer and a year later, she was one of 10 current and former Stanford players in the main draw.

4 1985 USC
Dave Borelli’s finest team of the NCAA era, USC was led by Caroline Kuhlman, who would come within a match point of reaching the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open that summer. Heliane Stedman and Cecilia Fernandez were ITA All-Americans in singles. Former Orange Bowl 16s champ Claudia Hernandez played No. 5. The Women of Troy did lose two matches that season, but those were without Kuhlman and Stedman in the lineup. USC topped Miami 6-3 in the final.

5 1983 USC
The Trojans stormed their way to a 31-0 record and the NCAA title, topping talent-rich Trinity 8-1. Before she became Mrs. Steve Bellamy (think Tennis Channel), Beth Herr played No. 1 singles for SC and beat Clemson’s Gigi Fernandez in the ‘83 singles final. Dave Borelli’s squad included players like Nina Voydat at the bottom of the lineup who was ranked in the WTA top 100 while in school.

6 1986 Stanford
This team began Stanford’s record streak of six straight titles. Fendick and Marianne Werdel, who both went on to be ranked in the WTA top 25, helped Stanford to a 21-1 record. Leigh Ann Eldredge also earned All-America honors. Brennan’s gang slipped past mighty USC 5-4 in the NCAA final.

7 1996 Florida
Andy Brandi’s second NCAA champ was led by WTA veteran Jill Craybas. Florida became only the second team to sweep the team, singles and doubles championships in the same season. Craybas captured the singles title while Dawn Buth and Stephanie Nickitas won their first of two straight doubles crowns. The Gators rolled to a 31-0 season, beating Stanford 5-1 in the final. The ‘96 Gators recorded 18 shutouts and never yielded more than two points in a single match.

8 1992 Stanford
Freshman Lisa Raymond, the most successful collegiate player on the pro tour over the past 15 years, led Andy Brandi and the Gators to the program’s first-ever national title. Florida went 30-0 and brought an end to Stanford’s dominance in women’s tennis.

9 1997 Stanford
Seems hard to believe now, but there was a brief period when NCAA championships were hard to come by on The Farm. Stanford ended a six-year title drought and snapped Florida’s 62-match win streak in the ‘97 final. Freshman Lilia Osterloh captured the singles title on a team that also included current pro Anne Kremer. Julie Scott and Teryn Ashley were unbeatable at the bottom of the lineup that season for Brennan, with Scott winning the clinching match in the final against Florida.

10 2001 Stanford
Given Stanford’s dominance in recent years, it didn’t seem right to not include any teams from the Lele Forood era (‘01-present). Take your pick of Forood’s four championship teams, but this was the only one that included Laura Granville. Granville captured her second NCAA singles title and Stanford outscored its six NCAA tournament opponents 24-1. Lauren Barnikow, Gabriella Lastra and Lauren Kalvaria all earned All-America honors. Sixteen of Stanford’s 31 victories were shutouts.

Bonus picks: 1993 Texas and 2000 Georgia
H-E-A-R-T. These teams weren’t loaded with players who went on to lengthy pro careers and may not even make a top-20 list, but they had that extra something special that warrants mention. The ‘93 Longhorns became the lowest ranked team to win the NCAA crown, upsetting Stanford in the final. In ‘00, Georgia upset an unbeaten Stanford team that featured Marissa Irvin and Granville and was heading toward top-10 all-time status.

© 2006 INSIDE TENNIS All rights reserved.
All photographs, text and graphics, appearing on the Inside Tennis web site are protected by copyright.
Any republication, retransmission or reproduction or other use is prohibited without express written permission of Inside Tennis.

Back to Current Issue