Alan Dils Retires After Brilliant Career with Lobo Tennis

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Alan Dils, who just completed his 18th season as the head men’s tennis coach at the University of New Mexico and is the career leader in wins at UNM, has announced his retirement effective June 30. 

Dils, who was in his 29th year overall with the university counting his time as an assistant coach and a student-athlete, will continue on with the department as he will transition into a role in athletic development for the Lobos.  His role will have an emphasis on fundraising for the completion of the McKinnon Family Tennis Center, which will become UNM’s home court for matches starting next season.

Said Paul Krebs, Vice President for Athletics, on the announcement, “Alan Dils has had a wonderful career at UNM, and although he is done with this phase, I know he will continue on and help out our department and program in this next phase of his career.  Alan’s teams and student-athletes have had great success on the court and off the court with numerous championships and national honors for athletic and academic excellence.  As a graduate of the University of New Mexico to moving on and coaching the next generation of Lobo student-athletes, Alan truly is a Lobo for life.”

“This is an emotional and exciting time for Alan, all wrapped up in one,” said Tim Cass, Chief Operating Officer at UNM and the former head tennis coach at UNM when Dils was a student-athlete and an assistant.  “Alan has had a tremendous amount of success in all phases; as a student-athlete, as an assistant, and as the head coach.  What is really special is the respect that the program and Alan have gotten nationally from coaches across the country for the class manner in which he has run it.”

Bart Scott, an assistant coach for the past seven seasons including two as the associate head coach, will serve as the interim head coach of the program for the 2014-15 season.  He will officially start in that role on July 1, although he will transition into the role throughout the remainder of June.

For Dils, the announcement brings to a close to a brilliant 29-year career on the court for the Lobo men’s tennis team, a career that started as a student-athlete.  Alan, who graduated from UNM with a degree in Business Administration in 1989 was the 1987 Western Athletic Conference double champion with Steve Bickham, and he was the 1989 WAC singles runner up.  He played in the NCAA Championship Tournament both of those seasons.

He became the assistant coach for UNM after his playing career, serving under then head coach and current Chief Operating Officer Tim Cass for seven seasons.  As an assistant, Dils helped the Lobos to five WAC titles and six NCAA Championship appearances, including a program-best No. 6 national ranking during the 1994-95 season.

Since 1996, Dils has served as the head man for Lobo tennis, and he caps off his career with a record of 260-169 and five Mountain West Coach of the Year Awards.  Along with winning that award in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009, Dils was honored this season after what may have been his best coaching job yet, taking a team with one senior and six freshmen and turning them into a 20-8 squad that got to the Mountain West title match for a third straight year.  No Lobo this past season had a losing record in singles, and five won at least 20 matches on the year.

Dils as a head coach led UNM to conference championships in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009, and all told he has been a part of 10 of the 11 conference titles won by UNM men’s tennis.  In addition to the five he won as a head coach, the team got to the championship match and finished as conference runner-up in each of the last three seasons.

“First I would like to thank Paul and Tim for working with me on this change.  It is not an easy decision to give up what you have done for the past 25 years, but it is important to be able to help my family more so now than ever,” said Dils.  “I am excited to work on some new projects with UNM athletics and to be able to stay involved with the Lobos.  I will always be a Lobo whether coaching, fundraising, or just watching from the sideline.”

“I am also very happy that Bart Scott will be able at the helm of our UNM men's tennis team.  He is quite possibly a more avid Lobo than any of us.  I followed in the footsteps of a great Lobo in Tim Cass and Coach Scott is the next great Lobo to lead our team.  I know that he is an excellent coach and already very well respected in the college coaching community.  Our program is in very good hands and that really helps me be even more comfortable with this move.”

Seven All-Americans have emerged since Dils joined the Lobo coaching staff, two while he was an assistant and five during his head coaching tenure, including two-time All-American Pepe Caballero and the first singles All-American since 1976 in Matt Amgwerd. The Lobos have also made five NCAA team appearances (1997, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009). UNM has sent seven singles players and five doubles pairs to the NCAAs under Dils' tutelage.

In 1998, the Lobos had a doubles team win three straight matches at the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history. Caballero and Jeff Williams beat doubles teams that were ranked No. 1, No. 8 and No. 13. The duo lost in the semifinal round, but earned All-America status.

Under Dils, the Lobos appeared in a school-record seven consecutive NCAA singles, doubles or team tournament appearances.

With Dils as head coach, New Mexico has had over 50 all-conference honors. Five Lobos were named to the singles/doubles All-MWC team for the 2002-03 season and in 2007-08, records for the most number of players on a postseason team. Dils has coached four MWC freshmen of the year in Max Jones, Johnny Parkes, Jadon Phillips and Hayden Sabatka this past season.  Jones is also a four-time all-conference recipient and Parkes was selected as the MWC Player of the Year and ITA Mountain Region Player of the Year in 2009.

The men's tennis program achieved its highest individual national ranking in January 2005 with David Kowalski and Ryan Stotland notching a No.3 ranking. Stotland and Kowlaski also made it to the championship match of the 2004 ICY HOT/ITA All-American Championships under Dils, marking the first national tournament championship appearance in the program's history.

Academically, the Lobos have garnered seven ITA All-Academic awards and 38  ITA Scholar-Athlete awards.  The program has also had 70 Mountain West All-Academic selections, 33 Mountain West Scholar-Athletes, and five Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District Awards.  Many of those numbers will go up as the honors for this past season haven’t been announced yet. 

Dils guided UNM to its first ever ITA All-Academic award in 2003 after the men achieved a 3.52 GPA for the 2002-03 season. This past season the Lobos posted a 3.52 GPA and will again be honored by the ITA.  In addition, 10 of the 11 players on the roster earned honors at the Lobo Scholar-Athlete banquet in April.