TCU tennis coach to be inducted to Women’s ITA Hall of Fame

When Dave Borelli graduated from the University of Southern California in 1974, he thought his career in tennis was behind him. He didn’t realize that only his role on the court would change.

The Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association recently announced that Borelli is to be inducted into the Women’s ITA Hall of Fame on Nov. 13.

Although Borelli currently serves as the men’s head tennis coach at the university, he served as an NCAA women’s coach for 18 years.

His coaching career started at his alma mater when he agreed to take the men’s assistant coaching position following his graduation. He planned to take the position for a year before entering law school, he said.

Around the same time, the women’s team was started at USC, and the Trojans were in need of a head coach. Borelli took the position as an interim and served for one year before enrolling at USC’s law school.

When the next coach left the following year, Borelli returned as head coach while he continued law school.

“When I first started, law school was the priority and tennis was secondary, and as it transpired, tennis became the priority and law school was secondary,” Borelli said.

Borelli continued serving as the women’s head coach for the Trojans and served a total of 18 years with the program. During his tenure, the team brought in seven national titles, three runner-up finishes and 10 conference championships.

After serving at USC, he left his college coaching career behind and pursued coaching at the professional level from 1998 through 2002 before returning to the college circuit as the women’s head coach for TCU.

He said he was up for a couple of men’s head coaching positions at other universities but had seen so much success in his coaching career with the women at USC that he chose to take the position with the Horned Frogs.

“It was such a great situation here,” Borelli said. “I mean, you’ve got to be an idiot not to have jumped on it. It’s just such a great place to be.”

During his time as the women’s coach at TCU, Borelli added another list of honors to his already sparkling coaching resume.

In 2005 he earned the Southwest Region Coach of the Year and Conference USA Coach of the Year, followed by the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2006. The Horned Frog women’s team won the MWC regular season championship as well as the tournament championship before advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

He served as the women’s head coach at the university for four years before the men’s head coaching position became available. After seeing success with the women’s team, he chose to take on the challenge of helping rebuild a men’s team that had its fair share of obstacles, he said.

Since taking on the men’s position, Borelli has led the Frogs to two consecutive regular season MWC championships.

This season, the Frogs are currently at 6-7 for the 2010 season.

“We’re not where I thought we’d be yet, but I’m not panicking,” Borelli said. “If we just keep plugging away and if I just keep doing what I’ve done my whole life, it’s going to happen.”

He said the season isn’t over yet and the team still has a chance to come back in the conference tournament.

“The most important thing right now is to figure out how to make the best of a disappointing season,” he said. “It’s a great challenge for me…and it’s a great challenge for the kids.”

The main focus of Borelli’s coaching is not winning, but teaching life skills, he said.

“Everything is a process,” Borelli said. “I try to get the kids to understand the value of what working for something is. The winning and losing is not the issue, it’s how you go about trying to accomplish the winning.”

Borelli is one of only three male coaches to ever be inducted into the women’s ITA Hall of Fame, alongside former head coach at Stanford University Frank Brennan and Ed Hegmann, former coach at Mary Washington University.

“I’ve been pretty lucky that I’ve been able to have an impact in everything I’ve done,” Borelli said.