Minnesota will play Arizona in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday
Head coach Tyler Thomson writes an entry in the Women's Tennis Season Blog
Senior Magdalena Wiecha writes about her four-year experience on the Gopher women's tennis team
No. 31 Minnesota beat Indiana for the first time since 2003 with a 7-0 home victory
Sophomore Natallia Pintusava writes about the final weekend of a five-game road stretch in Michigan
Women's Tennis Action
Tyler Thomson begins his 12th season as head coach of the University of Minnesota women's tennis program in 2012-13.
During Thomson's tenure, the women's tennis program has achieved success on the court and in the classroom. The Gophers routinely have the highest grade point average of any small women's sport at Minnesota and have also spent plenty of time in the national rankings.
Thomson led the resurgent Gophers to a 16-9 record (5-6 Big Ten) during the 2011-12 season and guided his squad to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003. Minnesota, which began the season with a program-best 12-1 start, finished the year ranked No. 39 according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Gophers, who went 9-8 against ranked team, ended their season in the first round of the NCAA tournament with a 4-1 setback to No. 28 Arizona.
The Gophers, who finished the season ranked for the first time since 2009, were paced by Doron Muravnik (career-high 24 wins), Natallia Pintusava (18 wins all-Big Ten honors) and Rochester, Minn., native Alexa Palen (tied for second on the team with 18 wins).
Minnesota was plagued by injuries during the 2010-11 season as it finished the year with an 8-16 record and a 3-7 mark in the Big Ten. The Gophers faced 14 ranked opponents as they advanced to the second round of the Big Ten tournament. Pintusava, who led the team with an 18-14 record as a freshman, earned all-Big Ten honors.
The 2009-10 team finished 10-14 overall and 3-7 in the Big Ten against a tough schedule that included 10 matches against teams that reached the NCAA tournament. Minnesota posted wins against NCAA tournament qualifiers Iowa and Wichita State and played a highly-competitive slate with 10 matches decided by 4-3 scores. Alessandra Ferrazzi earned all-Big Ten honors and senior Tijana Koprivica concluded her career ranked fourth on the school's all-time wins list.
Thomson guided the Gophers to a 12-12 record in 2008-09 as the squad battled through injuries and tight matches during the second half of the season. The Gophers missed several of their key players down the stretch and lost a trio of close conference matches to finish 3-7 in the Big Ten. Minnesota was ranked every week of the 2009 season and finished the season ranked 69th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
In 2007-08, Minnesota finished 15-11, after winning nine of its first 10 matches. The Gophers finished the year ranked 63rd in a season that came one year following a seven-match improvement in 2006-07 with a 12-11 overall record after a 5-18 ledger during the 2005-06 campaign. It was the second time in his short career that Thomson has turned around the Gophers. He went 6-16 in his first season in 2001-02 and then took Minnesota to one of its best seasons in school history with an 18-7 overall mark and a Big Ten championship in 2002-03, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
Thomson owns a career record of 111-148 in his 11 seasons, including a 35-76 mark in Big Ten play. He posted his 100th career win on Feb. 19, 2012, when unranked Minnesota upset No. 46 North Carolina State 5-2 on the road.
A four-year starter during his playing days at the University of Montana, Thomson came to Minnesota after previously serving as the assistant coach at College of William & Mary for four seasons and at Allegheny College (Pa.) for one year.
Thomson was honored during the 2008-09 season as one of the nation's top teaching pros by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association as the recipient of the Northern Division Women's College Coach of the Year award. Thomson holds a rating of Professional 1, which is the highest rating given by the USPTA. He was selected to participate in the USTA's High Performance Continuing Education Program at the 2008 U.S. Open in New York City. Thomson also participated in the program in 2006 while becoming a USPTA specialist in competitive player development.
Among his other individual honors, Thomson received the ITA East Region's assistant coach of the year award among 82 regional teams in 1999. A member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association, he was also a finalist for the 1999 ITA national assistant Coach of the Year award.
Thomson was the head coach when Minnesota opened its beautiful on-campus facility, the Baseline Tennis Center, in 2002-03. He led the Golden Gophers to the 2003 NCAA tournament and also coached Angela Buergis to an individual berth in the 2004 NCAA tournament. At William & Mary, he was part of three NCAA tournament teams, including a quarterfinal finish in 1998.
A Bismarck, N.D. native, Thomson earned All-America honors in 1989 as a senior at Bismarck High School. At Montana, he was a four-year starter in doubles, an eventual singles starter and team captain. Thomson earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from Montana in 1993.
Thomson and his wife, Amy, reside in Minneapolis and have two children.