Georgia women's tennis coach Jeff Wallace retires 38 years, 814 wins

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May 5—Jeff Wallace, who has been with the University of Georgia as a student-athlete and coach for more than 40 years, announced Friday he would be retiring at the end of this season.

"Jeff Wallace is Georgia women's tennis," Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said. "He played for and learned from the legendary Dan Magill and immediately seized the opportunity to lead the program with integrity and commitment to the student-athletes. The program's rise to national prominence under Jeff's leadership includes more than 800 victories, six national championships and countless successful graduates of the University of Georgia. While Jeff will be missed, he will forever be a part of the Bulldog family."

Wallace has led the Bulldogs for 38 seasons and captured six national championships (two NCAA outdoor, four ITA Team National Indoor) and 20 Southeastern Conference titles (11 regular season, nine tournament). He is one of a select few Division I collegiate coaches across all sports whose teams have played for a national championship in five different decades. Specifically, his teams have advanced to 14 national championship matches. Under his leadership, the Bulldogs have made 36 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including 12 Final Fours.

His student-athlete have earned nine national individual titles, five in singles and four in doubles. He has coached two Honda Award winners, two National Players of the Year and three National Seniors of the Year. Forty-one of his student-athletes earned All-America honors 118 times. Success off the courts includes 55 Bulldogs being selected to the SEC Honor Roll 121 times, 33 ITA Scholar-Athletes and five named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Many of Wallace's squads have been named ITA All-Academic Teams as well.

With an overall record of 814-198, his .804 winning percentage leads all active women's coaches. His 814 career victories ranks second in all of women's tennis. Wallace, a 14-time Coach of the Year selection, is one of only two coaches in women's tennis history with at least 800 wins. Also, he is the only collegiate women's tennis coach to be named National Coach of the Year four times.

The Bulldogs have finished with a top five national ranking 17 times and ended the year in the top 10 a total of 31 times.

Currently, the 2023 team is ranked No. 3. Georgia entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 4 overall seed with a 22-4 record. The Bulldogs were set to play host to first- and second rou-d action starting Friday at the Magill Tennis Complex.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Wallace played for Magill at the University of Georgia and won an SEC singles title in 1985. The next year he began his coaching career at UGA. He took a team that had a losing record and turned them into a squad that posted a 20-9 mark and a spot in the final national top 25 rankings. One year later, he guided Georgia to the NCAA national championship match. Only once during his time as coach of the Bulldogs has the team missed the NCAA Tournament, and that was his first year in 1986.

Georgia will celebrate Wallace's amazing career at a date to be determined in the future.

Wallace released the following statement on his retirement decision:

"First, I want to thank my wife Sabina who has been with me on this journey for the past 38 years. As a former student-athlete at Georgia, she understands the commitment needed to achieve success, and she has been very helpful along the way in everything we've accomplished with the Georgia tennis program. Also, thank you to my two children, Brittany and Jarryd. They grew up around the courts and all the student-athletes, and they have always provided support for the program in numerous ways.

"I am honored to be working for my alma mater, the University of Georgia, for the past 38 years. Four decades ago, Dan Magill, Vince Dooley and Liz Murphey took a chance on me. I was a rookie coach in 1985, and they believed in me and gave me a wonderful opportunity. I appreciate that even more now as I reflect on their decision to entrust me with the program. I am thankful for our president Jere Morehead and his leadership in making the University of Georgia a special place for student learning and success. Also, I am grateful for current athletic director Josh Brooks and everything he continues to do for our student-athletes.

"I appreciate all the assistant coaches over the years that have helped make what the Georgia tennis program is today. Nothing is accomplished by one person, and the assistant coaches are a huge part of our sustained success at UGA. Bulldog alum Drake Bernstein brings the passion, energy, and skills to work every day and that has helped maintain the level of the program during the past 11 years.

"I would like to thank all the student-athletes for their championship drive on and off the courts. Throughout my time, they have displayed the ability to achieve in the classroom as well as on the courts and be truly elite. I think back to all the student-athletes that I've been fortunate to work with starting with my first recruit, Stacey Schefflin, up to now my oldest player on this year's team, fifth-year graduate Meg Kowalski. The student-athletes learn to embrace the team concept of collegiate tennis and what it means to be a Damn Good Dawg.

"Also, a special thanks to the hard-working members of our support staff who make it their mission to make the University of Georgia a premier destination for education, athletics, personal and professional development. People like Glada Horvat who know how to help and simply get things done. There are numerous head coaches who have provided support along the way too including fellow Bulldog and the outstanding leader of the men's tennis program, Manuel Diaz.

"Finally, I want to say thank you to the Bulldog Nation for their support. Their loyalty continues long past the days of when our student-athletes have finished competing. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life and that will include spending time with my wife Sabina, my children and grandchildren. There will be travel, golf and continued support of Georgia Athletics. I look forward to being a fan and cheering on everyone at the University of Georgia."