Former Illini Phil Stolt joins the Illinois tennis program as a volunteer assistant coach, announced head cocah Brad Dancer today.
Jan. 29, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Head coach Brad Dancer of the 2007 NCAA finalist and No. 8-ranked Illinois men's tennis team announced the addition of Phil Stolt as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2007-08 campaign today. Stolt, a four-year veteran of the professional tour and a member of the 2003 Illinois NCAA Championship team, will bring with him a wealth of knowledge to an already established coaching staff in Dancer and Associate head coach George Husack.
"Phil brings with him a lot of experience, is a past Big Ten Medal of Honor winner and has a lot of knowledge from his years on the tour that he will become an invaluable member of this coaching staff," Dancer said about the addition of the former Illini. "Phil has a contagious energy that he carries around with him that will just catch on with this team on the court and in the locker room. He will be a good technical coach as well as a great tactician out on the court for us this year and we are excited to have him on board."
Stolt is of course no stranger to the Illinois tennis family as he was a four-year letterwinner for the Orange and Blue from 2001-04. During his time at Illinois, Stolt also compiled quite the resume. He was a four-time All-Big Ten Selection (2001-04) along with being named Academic All-Big Ten three times. The 2004 All-American also garnered the 2004 ITA Regional Arthur Ashe Award along with being named that year's Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient.
"I love being a part of this program and it is an honor to be working along side great coaches like Brad and George," Stolt said about joining Illinois. "Even though once you are a part of the Illinois tennis family you never leave it, it is a pleasure to be back working with this team and this program."
Named a member of the Illinois All-Century team during the 100-years of Illinois Men's Tennis Celebration in 2007, he also was a two-time George Huff Academic Award winner. During his time at UI, Stolt wrote his name in the history books in a number of categories. In fact, he ranks No. 6 all-time in career doubles wins with a career record of 100-28 and 10th all-time in career singles victories with an overall record of 101-42.
"I think the No. 1 thing that I can add to this team is my experience on the 2003 national championship team and the professional tour," Stolt said. "I have been there, playing at a high level and being a part of one of the top collegiate teams, that I can share that with these guys as far as telling them what it takes to prepare and get to that level."
During his tenure, Stolt also helped the Illini record some of the nation's top records, leading the 2002-03 team to a program-best 32-0 record en route to the NCAA crown. Stolt then was a part of the Illinois team that posted a program-best 57 conference-match winning streak (April 16, 1997 to April 29, 2001) in the midst of an NCAA-record 64 straight overall match victories (Jan. 26, 2003 to May 24, 2004) in the process.
"I think it helps a lot to hear encouragement and coaching from a guy that they respect and know," Stolt said. "I think when it comes that time that we are in those big matches during the season this year, that it will help to hear from a guy who was there on a team that did break through and win the title. I think that is something that they will look for from me and will respect coming from someone who was there and already accomplished that. It just gives that much more power to the word and coaching when you can speak from experience."
Professionally, Stolt was a worldwide traveler during his days on the tour. In 2006 alone he played in tournaments in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United States. It all paid off for him, as he saw the world and reached a career-high ranking of No. 507 at the end of the 2006 campaign. Overall in his career, he won a combined nine singles and doubles titles before leaving the tour at the end of 2007.
Up next for Illini coaching staff, its newest addition in Stolt and the Illini tennis team, they take to the road for the first time this season to face No. 15 Duke in Durham, N.C., on Feb. 1, before traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., to face No. 24 Tennessee on Feb. 3. Its match against the Blue Devils is set for a 5 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. local time, start, while its match against the Volunteers has first serve scheduled for 11 a.m. CT, noon local time.