Steve Denton, a U.S. Open Doubles Champion and former All-American, was named the head men's tennis coach at Texas A&M University on August 8, 2006.
Known nationally and internationally throughout the tennis world, Denton won 20 professional doubles titles and was ranked as high as No. 11 in the world in singles and No. 2 in the world in doubles in 1982. A four-year collegiate standout at the University of Texas, he helped the Longhorns to an impressive 78-27 (.743) team record from 1976-79. Denton amassed an 85-22 singles record and a 72-18 doubles record, while also earning All-American honors in 1978.
He was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997, the inaugural Blue-Gray Tennis Classic Hall of Fame in 2006 and the ITA Hall of Fame in 2008.
"Steve is arguably the best tennis player to ever come out of the state of Texas all-time," Byrne said. "We are very fortunate to hire a head coach with such strong ties to the state and with such a solid tennis background as both a player and a coach.
"I have admired him from a distance and what he has accomplished with limited resources at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over the last couple of years. He did a phenomenal job there as a coach, a fundraiser and a facilities manager all in one. We are very impressed with the plan he has in place to build champions here. We are confident that he will bring home national championships in men's tennis to Texas A&M."
Enjoying nine successful years on the professional circuit, Denton reached the singles finals of the Australian Open twice in 1981 and 1982. During his career, he advanced to seven singles finals and defeated the likes of Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Stan Smith. Denton also represented the U.S. as a member of the Davis Cup Team in 1982 and 1983, playing alongside tennis greats in Arthur Ashe, McEnroe, Peter Fleming and Eliot Teltscher. Denton teamed with his former college teammate Kevin Curren and captured the U.S. Open doubles title in 1982. In all, he totaled winnings more than $1 million as a pro on the ATP Tour.
"I'm elated to have this opportunity," Denton said. "It's a dream come true to come to a school with such a fine reputation in men's tennis as Texas A&M. I have very high expectations for this team and I know the university has the same as well. I've worked really hard the last couple of years for an opportunity like this and I look forward to continuing the winning tradition here."
Among his professional accomplishments, Denton has been named the recipient of the 1981 Most Improved Player Award by Tennis Magazine, the 1981 Wilmer Allison Sportsmanship, Excellence of Character Award and the 1982 Sportsmanship Award by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Most notably, he broke the world record for fastest serve of 138 miles per hour in 1984, a record that stood in the Guinness Book of World Records for 13 years.
Prior to his professional tennis career, Denton served a one-year stint with the Björn Borg Sports Management Corporation in the late 1980s.
While at TAMUCC, Denton compiled a 64-48 overall record and garnered back-to-back Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005. Not only did he guide the Islanders to three SLC championship titles, but also to their first NCAA Championship appearance in school history and a top 20 national ranking in 2005. During their NCAA run, the Islanders reached the second round before falling 4-2 to then second-ranked and eventual quarterfinalists Virginia.
Three of his players gained national rankings during his appointment, including two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year Raul Morant-Rivas. One of eight all-time all-conference first team selections under Denton, Morant-Rivas was the first player in school history to receive an NCAA at-large bid in singles in 2006.
Denton previously served as the Director of the HEB Tennis Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, a position he held for seven years. His association with the center began in 1990, where he helped coach several state and national junior champions, organized several exhibition matches with touring professionals and successfully fundraised over $1 million for renovations and improvements to the tennis center.
He has been instrumental in the development of many of the state's top junior players, while serving as the captain of the USTA Texas Section's Junior Davis Cup Team the past three summers. Denton has led the training for the state's top seven boys and coached them in Junior Davis Cup matches. He coached current A&M senior All-American Conor Pollock on the Junior Davis Cup team in 2004.
"Coaching our Junior Davis Cup Team is one of the contributions to Texas tennis that I feel very strong about," Denton said. "I've had the privilege to coach the top boys in our state and give them a taste of what the team tennis format is all about."
In the UT record books, his .794 winning percentage in singles still ranks third all-time for players accounting at least 30 victories and his .800 winning percentage ranks tied for sixth all-time in doubles competition. During his freshman season, Denton compiled a 21-1 doubles mark, a record that still stands today for best winning percentage in a single season.
Born in Kingsville, Texas, Denton attended Bishop High School, where he captured four consecutive 3A state singles titles as a prep. His parents, Claude and Twig, currently reside in Driscoll, Texas. Denton also has two sisters, Carolyn and Cheryl.