UNT Lama out

North Texas athletic director Jared Mosley presents coach Sujay Lama a plaque in recognition of his 300th career win on April 12. Lama is leaving the program after 17 seasons, UNT announced Thursday.

North Texas tennis coach Sujay Lama is leaving the program, the school announced Thursday, ending his tenure as one of the mainstays in the school’s athletics department.

Lama recently finished his 17th season at UNT. He led the Mean Green to Sun Belt Conference titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and guided the program through the transition to Conference USA.

He won his 300th career match as a college coach this past season.

Sujay Lama

Sujay Lama,

“I’ve had the best years of my coaching career here at the University of North Texas,” Lama said in a statement. “If I had to choose just one word to describe my seventeen years as the head of UNT Tennis, it’s gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this program, the people and the alumni, the players and coaches I’ve led, and the relationships I’ve built.”

Lama came to UNT ahead of the 2006-07 season to take over a program that had won just six matches the previous year. He recruited walk-ons from the student body to fill out his roster in his first season to keep his options open in terms of building UNT’s roster for the future.

UNT won just two matches in Lama’s debut campaign as he laid the groundwork to recruit a series of standout players from around the world.

Kseniya Bardabush, Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze are among 21 players who earned 38 all-conference honors under Lama. UNT made the semifinals or finals of a conference tournament 10 times in his tenure.

UNT cracked the ITA rankings for the first time since 2015 in March, when the Mean Green were ranked No. 69.

UNT struggled with injuries from that point on and went on to finish 11-12, including an 0-5 mark in C-USA play, after falling to Rice in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Lama won 195 dual matches with the Mean Green and has 304 wins in his career.

UNT will make the move to the American Athletic Conference this summer.

“We are grateful for Coach Lama’s contributions to our women’s tennis program and wish he and his family all the best moving forward,” UNT athletic director Jared Mosley said. “In his 17 years, he and his teams always represented UNT with class. We look forward to finding the next coach that will guide our program to the next level.”

Mosley said UNT would begin a national search for its next coach immediately.

“With hope and excitement, I embrace God’s greater plan for me after my time at UNT,” Lama said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rick Villarreal, Wren Baker, Jared Mosley, and a very special thank you to coach Rodrigo de Almeida who has been by my side these last four years pouring his heart and soul to help build an amazing team culture. As always, I wish the fantastic incoming class a wonderful academic and athletic experience at the University of North Texas.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

Originally published on dentonrc.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.


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