Jan. 24, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After earning two singles wins Tuesday against No. 29 Indiana and Eastern Kentucky at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, University of Kentucky men's tennis senior Eric Quigley has earned his 145th career singles win to stand alone on top of Kentucky's all-time career singles wins list.
Quigley earned win 144 when he defeated Josh MacTaggart of Indiana in three sets and then broke the record with a straight-sets win over Niklas Schroeder of EKU.
"I don't think I can explain the pride that our program has for Eric Quigley," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "Years ago, after Paul (Varga) set the record, I really didn't know if anyone would ever match him because of the increased level of play and the limitations on how many events you can play in now."
Quigley's victories Tuesday give him a 145-44 career record, passing former UK All-American Paul Varga for first all-time in career singles wins at Kentucky. Varga, who played from 1982-85, ended his career with a 144-80 record and has held the title as the winningest singles player in school history for over 27 years.
"A lot of pieces have to come together to break records of this sort," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "Eric has taken the opportunity in front of him and used his incredible heart and physical toughness to set himself apart from many of his opponents. He has accomplished all of this with incredible class. I am proud he is a Wildcat and leading his teammates in the pursuit of a championship. He is atop our program in many ways."
"I think that Eric breaking this record shows several things," Emery said. "One, it shows the level of consistency he brings to the court every day and how much he enjoys playing for the University of Kentucky. Two, you have to play at an extremely high level in today's game in order to win this many matches, especially when you are playing a majority of your career at the top of the lineup. For him to have this many wins while consistently playing the best players in the best conference in America is amazing. Finally, Eric was a highly ranked recruit, but he was not the head of the class. He had to have a tremendous work ethic and competitive spirit to achieve this success."
So far this season, the senior and co-captain is 27-5 in singles action, including deep runs into some of the best tennis tournaments in the nation. During the fall, Quigley earned a berth into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships where he won the singles consolation title. The win would punch the senior's ticket to the United State Tennis Association/ITA National Indoor Championships, where he would defeat three ranked players before falling to a top-three ranked player in the semifinals. Quigley also advanced to the finals of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Indoor Championships and the Southern Intercollegiate. Most recently, Quigley advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Coaches' Indoor Championships. The UK star is 4-0 this year in dual matches.
Quigley had his best year on the court in 2011 when he became Kentucky's fifth three-time All-American, joining five-time All-American Jesse Witten (singles 2002-05, doubles 2005), four-time All-American Greg Van Emburgh (singles and doubles 1987-88) and three-time All-Americans Rich Benson (doubles 1987-89) and Cedric Kauffmann (singles 1996-98). Quigley also tied the school record for singles wins in a season with a 45-20 record in 2011, while also becoming only the sixth player in school history to play in the finals of a collegiate tennis grand slam when he advanced through a very challenging field to the finals of the D'Novo ITA All-American Championships.
Other accomplishments include being named an All-SEC first-team performer in 2010 and 2011, while he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2009. One of Quigley's greatest honors came when he was chosen by the UTSA to represent the United States of America in the Master'U BNP Paribas in France. Earlier this year, Quigley was honored again by the USTA as he was named the 2011 USTA/ITA Sportsmanship Award Winner.
The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., has been a model example for the UK program on and off the court during his time at UK. Off the court, Quigley has helped with several QuickStart tennis clinics, while also working with God's Pantry in Lexington. Last Christmas, Quigley helped coordinate a therapeutic recreation Christmas party for special needs children. Quigley has also performed well in the classroom, majoring in Community Communications and Leadership Development.
Quigley was also given the highest honor a UK student-athlete can be given at the 2011 CATSPY Awards when he was named Mr. Wildcat. The Mr. and Miss Wildcat Awards are given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service.