Nicole Kenneally enters her 17th year as the University of Colorado women’s tennis head coach and continues to lead the Buffaloes in one of the elite tennis conferences nationally, in addition, instituting a higher learning of success to her student-athletes on and off the court.
Kenneally is presently the winningest CU head coach among her team sports peers on campus in terms of wins. She ranks second all-time in school history among women’s tennis coaches in victories (162) and third all-time among CU’s men’s and women’s tennis coaches.
In 2014-15, the program accomplished a number of firsts starting in the fall season (October) where the doubles team of senior Julyette Steur and freshman Kyra Wojcik – playing together for the first time - won the ITA Mountain Regional doubles title, becoming the first CU doubles tandem to win five straight matches and earn the automatic berth to the USTA/ITA National Indoors in Flushing, N.Y.
In the spring season, the Buffaloes performed a Pac-12 Tournament first with a pair of doubles teams advancing to the conference main draw quarterfinals. The doubles pairs of Wojcik/Tina Bokhua and Alex Aiello/Nuria Ormeño Ruiz reached the quarters, then another program first, Aiello/Ormeño Ruiz, reached the main draw semifinals.
Aiello also excelled in the singles court, becoming the first the CU woman in the four-year history of the Pac-12 to reach the quarterfinal singles round of the main draw.
The Buffaloes raced out to an 8-1 spring record, their best start since 1997, and their 11-11 mark in 2015 was their first winning season since 2009. They reached No. 44 in the ITA rankings and were ranked for eight straight weeks.
Perhaps her best seasons at the helm occurred from the spring seasons from 2007-2009. The 2009 spring campaign, Kenneally guided the Buffaloes to their third straight fourth place or better finish in the Big 12 Conference, and fourth top-four tally over the last six years. Her team performed a school-first, becoming the first tennis team in school history to begin the conference season 5-0.
The previous year in 2008, Kenneally coached her Buffalo team to a No. 57 nationally-ranking, an 8-3 conference record, and a fourth place finish in the Big 12. It was the second straight conference season CU tallied at least eight conference wins.
Kenneally enjoyed her finest campaign in 2007 building the Buffaloes into a NCAA Tournament team, winning 16 matches and finishing the conference season with a 9-2 mark (third overall). Both end of the season records were school-bests since 1999. In addition, Kenneally earned the respect of her coaching colleagues and her highest honor-to-date, being named the 2007 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
Also during the 2007 dual season, CU equaled its highest national ranking ever during the season (No. 20). The top-20 ranking was the highest national placing of any CU women’s team since January of 1981. By season’s end, the Buffs wrapped up the 2007 spring with the highest end-of-the-season national ranking at No. 37.
The spring season also saw a pair of upsets over the nation’s top-15 (No. 12 William & Mary and No. 14 Baylor). With a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances under her watch (the other in 2003), the 2007 spring saw then-sophomore Monica Milewski become only the fourth woman in school history to earn a berth into the NCAA Singles Tournament and the first in 22 years. She would go on to earn an All-Big 12 singles first team unanimously by the conference coaches.
She has coached 51 All-Pac-12/Big 12 Academic team selections (37 first team), 28 ITA Scholar-Athletes (equivalent to Academic All-Americans), 15 conference first-team selections, nine conference position champions, five ITA All-Academic Teams, two nationally ranked doubles teams that finished among the top-50, and one ITA National Sportsmanship Award (2005-06).
In 2008, Kenneally was awarded the Colorado Professional Tennis Registry’s (PTR) Member of the Year. The award is based on efforts to help the game of tennis grow and for being an outstanding member of the PTR organization.
In November 2006, Kenneally earned her most prestigious honor off the court being named the Intermountain Region USTA/ITA Community Service Award. Kenneally was one of 15 coaches honored for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs throughout the community.
None bigger than spearheading the Tennis Marathon for Breast Cancer event where Kenneally has done for 10-straight years (thru Summer 20014) has serviced the Boulder Community and raised over $135,000 for local families. All proceeds help the HealthLinks Foundation, a non-profit arm to HealthLinks Clinic, Inc., a therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation facility providing opportunities for healthy cancer survivorship and the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation.
Prior to her stint in Boulder, the Brisbane, Australia native was an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1996-1999, helping the Sooners’ to four straight Top-50 ITA Collegiate team rankings. She also worked with several OU players who were named to the All-Big 12 first team and qualified for the NCAA’s.
Oklahoma finished 16-11 in 1999, wrapping up the season as a runner-up to Texas in the 1999 Big 12 Tournament. At the end of the 1996-97 season, Kenneally was named an ITA Regional Assistant of the Year, one of only six Division I assistant coaches in the nation to receive that honor.
In addition to her coaching expertise, Kenneally has served with many off-the-court responsibilities, including the ITA-Regional Committee, National Operating Committee, ITA Board of Directors, and was named the 2003 coach/manager for the Australian team at the World University Games, but could not attend.
The role of coach was not the only one Kenneally assumed at Oklahoma, as she is regarded as one of the finest players ever to come out of the OU program. As a freshman at OU playing No. 3 singles, she won the Big Eight conference title. As a sophomore, she repeated the feat in No. 1 doubles. As a senior in 1994, Kenneally won the Big Eight No. 1 singles title, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in both singles and doubles.
She finished the year with one of the highest honors by being named Big 8 Conference Player of the Year. In the classroom, she was a three-time member of the Phillips 66 Big 8 Academic team, a three-time Sooner Scholar Award winner, and a member of the dean’s list honor roll.
Kenneally was awarded the Regional Senior Player of the Year honor, one of six players selected nationally, and finished her career ranked in the top-50 in singles and top-25 in doubles in NCAA play. After college she attained a world ranking on the WTA tour in singles and doubles. Before returning to OU for graduate work, Kenneally had several top singles wins and a tournament victory in doubles.
As a junior player, she was regularly ranked in the top-10 nationally in her age group and also earned an International Tennis Federation world junior ranking. On the Australian junior tennis circuit, Kenneally garnered several top 10 finishes as well as being named to several Australian national teams for high school tennis. In addition to her junior tennis success, Kenneally was a representative throughout her teen years on the 12, 14, 16, and 18 and under junior cups teams.
Kenneally’s philosophy for recruiting in Division I tennis is to bring in student-athletes with a strong character, high moral standards and great-spirit.
Kenneally Resume at Colorado
• 16 years as the Colorado Women’s Tennis Head Coach (longest in CU women’s program).
• Second longest men or women head coach in Colorado tennis history.
• 162 career victories (second all-time among CU women coaches; third all-time among both m/w women’s coaches).
• 2007 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
• 2003 and 2007 NCAA Tournament Appearances.
• Finished nationally ranked eight seasons (2003-2010).
• Tallied in the top four of the Big 12 Conference standings four of six years.
• From 2007-2009, won 24 Big 12 Conference matches over the three-year span. Since the inception of the Big 12, that is the best three-year span of any CU team.
• In 2009, coached a trio of student-athletes to win at least 20 singles matches in a year (only fifth time to happen since 1996-97).
• In 2009, became the first CU team in school history to begin the conference season 5-0.
• Three top four Big 12 finishes (2009, 2008, 2007).
• Three Big 12 Conference Tournament Semifinal Appearances (2008, 2005, 2003).
• Won 16 matches and nine Big 12 matches in 2007, the most victories since the 1999 season.
• In 2007, nationally ranked as high as No. 20 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the highest of any CU women’s team since January 1981.
• 2007 season with her highest final national ranking of No. 37.
• In 2007, upset a pair of top-15 nationally ranked teams (No. 12 William & Mary; No. 14 Baylor).
• In 2007, coached then-sophomore Monica Milewski to earn a berth at the NCAA Singles Tournament. Milewski became the first CU woman in 22 years, and only the fourth woman to earn an individual tournament appearance. Milewski would also earn her second NCAA Tournament honor as a redshirt-senior in 2010 becoming the first-ever CU woman to earn a pair of trips to the national tournament in her collegiate career.
• Coached 51 Conference Academic team selections (37 first-team selections).
• Coached 28 ITA Scholar Athletes (Equivalent to being named All-American).
• 17 conference selections (including Monica Milewski, the school's first three-time singles selection; junior and sophomore years unanimously by the conference coaches).
• 15 conference first-team selections.
• Nine Big 12 Position Champions.
• Five ITA All-Academic Teams.
• Two doubles teams finishing in the top-50 nationally.
• One ITA National Sportsmanship Award (2005-06).
• Five ITA Regional Rookie of the Year recipients (2015; Tina Bokhua, Mountain Region; 2013: Dhany Quevedo, Mountain Region; 2012: Julyette Steur, Mountain Region; 2006: Monica Milewski, Central Region; 2004: Lynzee Kever, Central Region).
• Four ITA Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship winners (2015: Julyette Steur, Mountain Region; 2013: Winde Janssens, Mountain Region; 2007: Gleisy Torres Torres, Central Region; 2005: Kendra Strandemo, Central Region).
• 2008 Colorado Professional Tennis Registry’s (PTR) Member of the Year.
• In November 2006, Kenneally earned her most prestigious honor off the court being named the Intermountain Region USTA/ITA Community Service Award. One of 15 coaches honored for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs throughout the community. None bigger than spearheading, the Tennis Marathon for Breast Cancer (thru Summer 2014) which has serviced the Boulder Community for 10-straight years, and raised over $135,000 for local families. All proceeds help the HealthLinks Foundation, a non-profit arm to HealthLinks Clinic, Inc., a therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation facility providing opportunities for healthy cancer survivorship and the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation.