|City/State:||Grand Island, NE|
Coach Kerry McDermott has been at the helm of the Nebraska men’s tennis program for 36 years since since taking the reins at his alma mater in 1982.
McDermott owns the second-longest tenure among active Big Ten coaches, while his 389 career victories are the most in the history of Nebraska tennis. In fact, only one other coach, Ed Higginbotham (1951-72), recorded 100 career victories. McDermott owns a 389-414 career record.
More impressively, McDermott guided the Huskers to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011 and has led Nebraska to six final top-75 ITA national rankings since 2009. In fact, the Huskers have finished the season ranked among the ITA top 75 in 10 of the last 12 seasons.
Nebraska closed its first season in the new Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center with a 14-13 overall record that included a 4-7 Big Ten mark. The Huskers finished No. 66 in the ITA rankings after splitting a pair of matches at the 2016 Big Ten Tournament. Senior Dusty Boyer led the Huskers by capturing All-Big Ten accolades for the third consecutive season.
In addition to their success on the court, the 2016 Huskers captured Nebraska’s Herman Team GPA Award, which is presented annually to the Husker men’s program with the best combined grade-point average. The 2016 Huskers posted a 3.418 GPA to win the award for the seventh time in 20 years.
With a record of 11-14 in 2015, McDermot pushed the Huskers to a 3-8 Big Ten mark. In 2014, McDermott led a young Husker team to a 12-15 overall record and a 3-8 Big Ten mark with Boyer leading the way.
In 2012, McDermott NU in its first year in the Big Ten Conference. He guided the Huskers to an 11-15 overall record and a 3-8 conference mark, as NU finished No. 73 in the ITA rankings. McDermott had two players earn All-Big Ten honors. Christopher Aumueller captured first-team All-Big Ten honors while Benedikt Lindheim added a second-team All-Big Ten award. Aumueller and Lindheim teamed up on the doubles court to finish the season ranked No. 26 after competing in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship.
The appearance by Aumueller and Lindheim at the 2012 NCAA Championships, followed back-to-back NCAA Championship bids by the Husker team in 2010 and 2011. Nebraska finished 15-12 and closed the 2011 season at No. 44 in the ITA rankings after a narrow 4-3 loss to Miami in the NCAA first round. Aumueller earned a spot on the All-Big 12 team as a singles competitor, while joining partner Andre Stenger on the All-Big 12 doubles team.
McDermott’s 2010 Husker team finished No. 41 in the ITA rankings with a 13-12 record after claiming the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid. NU fell to North Carolina 4-1 in the first round, but helped propel the Huskers to a repeat bid in 2011.
NCAA Tournament appearances and national rankings are just a small part of McDermott’s successful career at Nebraska. McDermott’s players regularly refer to his character and commitment to them off the court. McDermott routinely recruits individuals who are focused on team success, and he serves as an invaluable resource to young men in navigating their paths to maturity and graduation.
In the classroom, Nebraska annually places student-athletes on academic all-conference teams and contends for the Herman Award, which is presented each year at Nebraska to the men’s and women’s teams with the top GPA. McDermott’s men’s tennis teams have captured the award seven times (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2016).
In 2012, Aumueller, Lindheim and Sock earned spots on the academic All-Big Ten team. Aumueller added NU’s first-ever Big Ten Sportsmanship award and claimed the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship award for the Central Region.
Nebraska’s roster regularly features players from around the country and the world. McDermott is committed to keeping Nebraska’s top players at home, while attracting some of the best competitors from the Midwest and Big Ten region. McDermott also has had great success throughout his career in bringing top talent from overseas.
After completing his playing career at Nebraska in 1980, McDermott earned his first career win as the Husker coach in 1982 and quickly started his climb up the NU coaching ledger.
That early success was realized behind a solid foundation of players who earned regional and national acclaim. The leader of that group and one of the top players in the nation each of his last two seasons was Steven Jung. After earning a berth in the NCAA Championships for three consecutive seasons, Jung is the most decorated athlete in NU men’s tennis history.
Jung is the only player in Nebraska history to earn All-America status, after he finished his career as the runner-up at the 1989 NCAA Tournament. Under McDermott’s guidance, Jung entered the tournament ranked No. 16 in the country, the highest regular-season ranking for a Husker in history. Jung also reached the NCAA Tournament in doubles play that season, teaming with his brother, Stuart, to rank as high as 12th in the nation. Steven Jung finished his career as the Nebraska career wins leader with 114. He was also a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, contributing to Nebraska’s all-sport record total of 327 entering 2017.
In 1988, McDermott earned Big Eight Coach-of-the-Year honors by guiding the Huskers to a second-place finish in the league standings with a 5-1 record. Nebraska finished the season with a 14-6 dual mark, one of 18 seasons under McDermott that NU has recorded at least 10 dual match victories.
McDermott pulled double duty during the 1988 season, as he also crossed over to coach the Husker women’s team for one year. He helped the Huskers to a fifth-place finish in the league standings despite a 5-12 overall record. McDermott’s Huskers came back to post a 17-7 record in 1989, the best winning percentage (.708) during his tenure. The Huskers matched the school-record mark with 17 victories again in 1990.
Over the years, McDermott has tutored 11 Huskers through the regular season into the NCAA Championships. Four of the national tournament appearances have been in singles action, with the most recent coming in 2002. Five other appearances have come on the doubles court.
McDermott has continually pushed the Huskers to excel on and off the court. He has helped 12 singles players and five doubles teams earn conference championships, with the most recent coming at the end of the 2000 campaign, as Ryan Haith grabbed the top spot in the Big 12 at No. 6 singles.
After struggling in the mid-1990s, the Huskers have recorded at least nine dual victories in 17 of the past 18 seasons.
In 2009, McDermott led the Huskers to a 16-10 record and a final ranking of No. 68. It was the second-best win total in school history, trailing only the 1990 squad that captured 17 victories. From 2009 to 2012, the Huskers began each season ranked in the top 50. In 2010 the squad began their campaign ranked 41st, and in 2011 the Huskers started the year ranked 42nd. They began the 2012 season ranked No. 40.
McDermott also has helped Nebraska singles and doubles players achieve spots in the national rankings.
Aumueller, a four-year standout who completed one of the most successful careers in school history in 2012, finished among the top 100 in the national rankings in each of his four seasons on the court. Aumueller closed his freshman season at No. 97 in 2009, before climbing to a final ranking of No. 85 in 2010. In 2011, he finished further up the ladder at No. 75, before closing his senior season at No. 70. Aumueller, who is in his fourth season assisting the Husker staff in 2014-15, also was a standout on the doubles court. In fact, he and Lindheim entered the 2012 season as the No. 7 doubles team in the nation before eventually earning a trip to the 2012 NCAA Doubles Championships.
Aumueller made history for the Huskers as a senior, as Nebraska’s first-ever first-team All-Big Ten selection, while Lindheim added a second-team award. The duo also finished the season at No. 26 in the national rankings. In 2009, Aumueller was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Other Huskers to earn national rankings since 2002 include: Lance Mills (99th, 2002); Florian Preissler (78th, 2003), Adrian Szatmary (78th, 2007; 115th, 2005); Calin Paar (70th, 2009; 128th, 2008); David Bendheim (67th, 2009); Andre Stenger/Robert Schulze (44th, 2012).
Arguably one of the program’s greatest upsets came in the spring of 2005, when McDermott led the Huskers to a win over No. 16 Rice in the first dual match of the season, which also gave McDermott his 250th career win. Initially unranked as a team, the win helped push the Huskers into the national polls where they stayed for 13 weeks, ranking as high as No. 55.
In 2003, Nebraska reeled off a seven-match win streak early in the season behind Florian Preissler (13 singles wins) and freshman D.J. Geatz (14 singles wins). The previous season, NU’s Jose Hernan also reached the 14-win total while helping the team finish with a No. 72 ranking. Hernan’s teammate, Lance Mills, became the first Husker to qualify for the NCAA singles tournament in a decade, where he advanced to the second round of the championship. The Omaha native finished the 2002 season ranked No. 99 in singles play after posting a 1-1 record at the national tournament.
McDermott began his relationship with the NU men’s tennis program as a player. He competed for the Huskers from 1976 to 1980, and lettered all four years before playing No. 1 singles as a senior. A native of Grand Island, Neb., McDermott is married to the former Terrie Wade, also of Grand Island. In his spare time, McDermott competes in local and state tennis tournaments and is an avid runner who races competitively.
In 2003, McDermott won the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs for his age group at the Cornhusker State Games, and he picked up a bronze medal in the 5-mile road race. For his accomplishments, McDermott was named the Cornhusker State Games Male Athlete of the Year. McDermott also earned the National Congress of State Games Male Athlete of the Year award in 2003, recognizing him for his distance running achievements and participation in various activities over 20 years at the Cornhusker State Games. McDermott also served as the Director of the Cornhusker State Games in 2006.