Ron Albers notches 700th career victory as VU picks up 3 wins at Lewis & Clark
April 7, 2014
GODFREY, Ill. – Vincennes University Tennis Coach Ron Albers notched his 700 th win Saturday as part of the Trailblazers' trifecta of victories during the Lewis & Clark Quad in Godfrey, IL.
Albers now stands at 700-182 in his 34th year as the VU coach.
“That’s a lot of tennis,” Albers said. “I’m not a numbers guy and don't keep track of it. It’s about getting players ready to play and perform well. Getting number 600 against (Morehead State Coach) Kevin (Fulton in 2008) – it was just the timing of it and number 700 versus Johnson County (coached by Albers' longtime friend Glen Moser) – a top ten program coached by one of the best junior college coaches - it’s fun to compete against them and to win... you have to earn it.
"I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have great teams through the years,” Albers added. “With the schedule we’ve played the last 34 years against so many four-year schools, it’s something these guys can be proud of. It’s a pleasure to have them enjoy it with me. They’re a great team to be around."
Last spring, the Trailblazers finished eighth in their 30th consecutive trip to the NJCAA finals at Collin College in Plano, TX.
Albers' recruiting, teaching and consistent dedication to all aspects of a successful program were rewarded with VU's first NJCAA Division I National Tennis Championship in 2011. The Trailblazers got past perennial powers that had edged VU out for the national title in the past. That national championship team had a record of 21-1 and its only dual match loss was at Indiana University, which was ranked 30th among NCAA Div. I schools, as well as being the runner-up in the Big 10 Conference that season.
In 33 seasons, Albers has had 60 players earn 92 NJCAA All-American awards. Nineteen players have won or shared 17 national championships.
Albers has also earned the three highest awards a junior college coach can receive. He won the Wilson Sporting Goods Intercollegiate Tennis Association Coach of the Year Award three times (1999, 2008 and 2011). In 1998, he received the NJCAA Tennis Coaches Association Hershel Stephens Coaching Award for outstanding service. In 2012, he was named the USPTA Midwest Division College Coach of the Year Award winner for the second time. Albers was also honored in 2012 at the USPTA World Conference in Monterey, CA, when he was selected as the USPTA National College Coach of the Year.
The youngest coach to be enshrined in the NJCAA Tennis Hall of Fame (1997), Albers was cited twice as the K-Swiss National Professional of the Year.
Albers is the past-president of the NJCAA Tennis Coaches Association. He also served as the national rankings chairman for 11 years.
Albers revived the VU program in the 1980-81 school year and is nearing his 700th career coaching victory.
Albers has groomed players who have earned scholarships and competed at several major college including Berry College, Mount Berry, Ga.; University of Charleston, W. Va; Rhode Island-Kingston; University of Southern Indiana; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Texas-San Antonio; University of Evansville; University of Cincinnati; Texas-Pan American; Ohio University; Northeastern Oklahoma State University; Indiana State Univeristy; Missouri State; University of Nebraska; Eastern Kentucky University; University of Texas-Tyler, Weber State University, University of Southern California, University of S.Carolina-Spartanburg, Bellarmine College, The Ohio State University, Creighton, Old Dominion, Mercer, Murray State University; William Carey University, The Citadel, McPherson College, Newman University and San Diego State.
Wynn Criswell (90-92) reached the NCAA Division one singles finals in 1993 and 1994 and Played on the men's A.T.P tour. He was the first former Trailblazer to play in the NCAA tournament.
"The outstanding achievements my players have attained both on and off the tennis court are extremely gratifying. Their success, like most everything else worthwhile in life, has come from dedication and hard work," Albers said.
The Trailblazer Tennis program has a 90-percent graduation rate.
Albers earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1979 and a master's degree in sports administration in 1980 from Eastern Kentucky University.
He is a veteran skydiver and made his 1,000th jump on October 21, 2006. He is also a marathon runner and avid golfer.