The University of Kentucky women's tennis team fell 5-2 to No. 4 Texas A&M on Sunday.
The 2014-15 season marks Carlos Drada's 10th as the head coach of the Kentucky women's tennis progam.
A former standout for the UK men's team, Drada helped build the program as an assistant before taking over the reins in 2006. Drada's first squad, in 2006, posted a 19-10 overall record and made a fifth consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16 round at the NCAA Championships. Kentucky also made a run to the title match of the SEC Tournament for the second consecutive year.
In 2007, Drada guided another youthful squad that played three freshmen and two sophomores to a 19-8 overall record, one win shy of the program's third 20-win season in five years. He coached seniors Kim Coventry and Joelle Schwenk to ITA Doubles All-America honors, the ninth and 10th athletes in school history to earn All-America distinctions.
In 2008, Drada took a team of three sophomores, three freshmen and only one junior to a top-25 finish. The squad overcame adversity and injury during the season to finish 16-10 and the program's 12th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
In 2009, Drada led the Wildcats to a 9-0 mark to start the season, including the program's second win over Florida in school history. The Wildcats defeated six teams ranked in the top-50 overall, including upsets of No. 14 Clemson and No. 17 Alabama. By season's end UK had earned it's 19th NCAA Tournament bid while finishing with a No. 25 ranking.
Drada found great success while coaching Coventry, who reached theNCAA Singles Championships as well as the NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Carolina Escamilla. Coventry was one of just three SEC Players to appear in both the singles and doubles draws while finishing the year ranked 50th nationally. It wasn't just Coventry earning accolades as Drada guided each of UK's top six singles players to All-SEC honors, led by Schwenk, who earned first-team honors.
After a few rebuilding seasons, UK posted a winning record in 2013 and the Wildcats are poised for greater success in 2014.
In his short stint, Drada has also shown himself to be a dynamic recruiter, hauling in the nation'ss fourth-ranked recruiting class in 2007. Each freshman of the 2008 squad was named a five-star recruit by TennisRecruiting.net.
The success as a head coach is no surprise as Drada was tabbed the 2005 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in his final season as an assistant coach to former head man Mark Guilbeau. That year, Kentucky enjoyed its finest season in school history, winning the SEC Championship for the first time while advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Wildcats were also the National Indoor Championships runner-up. The 2005 squad won a school-record 26 matches.
The year capped a great four-year run for Drada as an assistant coach. After taking over in 2002, he helped UK to three straight round of 16 appearances before the quarterfinal run in 2005. Prior to that season, the Wildcats had advanced that far in only eight seasons. Since his involvement with the program, the team has finished in the country's top-20 five out of seven seasons.
A native of Cali, Colombia, Drada, joined UK's staff following a highly successful career that culminated with a runner-up finish at the 2000 NCAA Singles Championships. Drada also brings a wealth of experience that comes from playing for an elite tennis program that competed in the SEC and the NCAA Championships, allowing him to better relate to student-athletes about what it takes to compete at such a high level.
As a member of the Kentucky men's tennis team, Drada compiled a record of 91-56 in singles competition. He was named All-American in 2000 after making an improbable run to the NCAA singles title match before falling to Stanford's Alex Kim. The unseeded Drada blazed through the competition defeating both the No. 1 seed Jeff Morrison of Florida, who was the defending national singles champion, and No. 3 seed Shuon Madden during his run. It marked the second time Drada had beaten the nation's No. 1 player, accomplishing the same feat in his junior year. That year he defeated top-ranked James Blake of Harvard.
Drada, 39, made Lexington his permanent home in 2000 after graduating with a degree in finance/marketing. He accepted a job with Merrill-Lynch as a financial consultant, where he worked for a year, before returning to the sport he loves to begin his coaching career.
Drada's Collegiate Highlights
2000 NCAA Singles Championship Runner-up
2000 NCAA All-American
2000 Davis Cup Member
Posted a career singles record of 91-56 as a Wildcat
Defeated top-ranked James Blake of Harvard as a junior
Defeated top-ranked Jeff Morrison of Florida twice in 2000 as a senior
Was an integral part of many big UK wins; including victories over No. 2 Illinois in 1999, No. 1 Stanford in 1997 and No. 3 Georgia in 1997