The Georgia tennis program began from humble origins in 1966 as a club sport under Jo Ann Kemp. It was established under the auspices of the AIAW in the 1973-74 season and later the NCAA in 1982-83.
Through the 2009 season, the Bulldogs have amassed an all-time record of 707-230 for a .755 winning percentage.
The first head coach for the program was Jane Kuykendoll, and she directed the team for four seasons (55-16). Greg McGarity took over in 1978, and the team won the GAIAW State Tournament earning the program’s first post-season berth, qualifying for the AIAW Regionals.
McGarity led the program until 1981, posting a 51-44 career mark. Lee Meyers served as the third coach (1982-83). In 1982, Georgia made the AIAW Nationals. After Meyers, Cissie Donigan was Georgia’s fourth coach, going 34-29 in two seasons.
It was during this time that Georgia had its first All-American, Lisa Spain. She won the 1984 NCAA singles title and also was the HONDA/Broderick Award winner for tennis.
Current coach Jeff Wallace became the fifth coach in school history in 1986. The program has become one of the nation’s best with two NCAA team titles to date. In Georgia’s first trip to the NCAAs, coming in 1987, the Bulldogs advanced to the finals.
In 1994, Georgia dominated the collegiate tennis world going 27-2. They won the SEC championship (14-0) as well as the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Title, and ultimately the NCAA Championship as they defeated Stanford 5-4 in the finals before a crowd of 3,117 in Athens.
Angela Lettiere, the 1994 College Tennis Player of the Year and recipient of the prestigious HONDA/Broderick Award for tennis, led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA team title, and a few days later, she won the singles title. In 2005, Lettiere was inducted into Georgia’s Circle of Honor, the highest honor a Bulldog student-athlete or coach can achieve.
In 1995, Georgia won its second straight USTA/ITA National Team Indoor title. They were ranked No. 1 for almost the entire year before finishing No. 3 after reaching the semifinals of the NCAAs. In 1998, the Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the fourth time in school history.
In 2000, Georgia claimed its second NCAA title, dethroning Stanford 5-4 and ending a 48-match Cardinal winning streak. Georgia won the national championship on the campus of Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif.
The following year, the Bulldogs won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA semifinals. In 2002, Georgia captured the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor title, the SEC championship and went undefeated during the regular season for the first time since 1975. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the sixth time in school history and finished up 26-2. In 2004, Georgia went 20-5, advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and ended the year ranked seventh nationally. Georgia continues its tradition, making NCAA appearances and earning a final ITA ranking among the nation’s Top 25.
In 2007, Georgia won both the SEC regular season and the SEC Tournament, finishing with a 24-2 overall record and final ITA ranking of No. 4. The Bulldogs repeated as SEC Tournament Champions in 2008 and ended with a final ITA ranking of No. 8. In 2009, Georgia claimed another SEC title and an impressive third straight SEC Tournament crown. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Final Four and a final ITA ranking of No. 3
The Bulldogs benefit from one of the best facilities in all of collegiate tennis in The Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The complex has played host to the NCAA Men’s Tennis National Championships 24 of the past 32 years and has served as host to the women’s event in 1994, 2004 and 2005. In 2007, the NCAA Tennis Championships returned to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex as a combined men’s and women’s event. Georgia will serve as host for the 2010 and 2012 NCAA Tennis Championships too.