Mortera Joins Illini Women's Tennis Coaching Staff
July 3, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fighting Illini head women's tennis coach Michelle Dasso announced Wednesday the hiring of former Illinois volunteer assistant Ric Mortera as assistant coach of the program. Mortera joins the Illini staff after a season as assistant coach at Purdue, where he helped lead the Boilermakers to the second round of the NCAA Tennis Championships for only the second time in Purdue history.
"Ric bleeds orange and blue, and his loyalty to the University and this program speaks for itself," Dasso said."We have thoroughly enjoyed working with each other in the past, so there is already a foundation of trust, belief in each other and loyalty. I believe these elements are key to any program's progress and future. Ric and I are both passionate about college tennis and share similar visions and values. I'm ecstatic that he is back in the Illini family."
During the 2012-13 season at Purdue, Mortera helped the Boilermakers reach No. 14 in the ITA rankings, marking the team's highest ranking in program history. He also helped lead the squad to 18 wins, matching an all-time high at Purdue, and was instrumental in Purdue's first NCAA Doubles Championship berth since 2000, coaching Krisztina Kapitany and Mara Schmidt to the Boilermakers' fourth doubles tournament appearance in school history.
Prior to Purdue, Mortera spent two years as Illinois' volunteer assistant coach, helping the team reach No. 18 in the national rankings. With his guidance, five Illini earned All-Big Ten recognition, while six players earned ITA rankings in singles or doubles.
While working at Illinois, Mortera also worked on the Women's Tennis Association Tour, coaching former United States Fed Cup player Alexa Glatch and 2009 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup. He helped Glatch reach the main draw of both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon and helped improve her ranking from No. 302 to No. 139 in the world. He also helped Boserup achieve a career-high ranking of No. 174.
Mortera was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Oregon, where he reached No. 45 in the ITA rankings his senior year and led the squad in dual singles wins as a sophomore. He graduated from Oregon in 2010 with degrees in both economics and political science.
As a junior tennis player, Mortera was consistently ranked in the top 20 nationally, reaching as high as No. 6, and was the top-ranked player from the Pacific Northwest.
"I want to thank director of athletics Mike Thomas, senior associate athletics director Paul Kowalczyk and head coach Michelle Dasso for this incredible opportunity," Mortera said. "To be given the chance to wear the orange and blue again means the world to me. I have a lot of belief in Coach Dasso, this team and the future of the program. I absolutely cannot wait to get started."