Russell McMindes, a former Tiger standout, enters his eighth season as Trinity’s head men’s tennis coach.
Coach McMindes, who became head coach in July 2009, has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division III tennis. Coach McMindes has amassed a 138-67 record (.673) over the past seven seasons, with an NCAA appearance each year. The 2016 team finished with an 18-10 record, and advanced to the NCAA third round. Paxton Deuel advanced to the NCAA Singles Round of 16, and received the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship West Region Award.
Following the 2014 season, Coach McMindes received a high honor from his colleagues. He was selected as the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Division III Coach of the Year. Coach McMindes guided the Tigers to a third-place finish at the NCAA Team Championships in May 2014. The tournament was held at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, California.
Trinity (26-7), seeded eighth in the national team championship, captured the third-place position with a 5-4 victory over No. 3 Middlebury (VT) College. The Tigers began the tournament with a 5-1 upset of second-seeded Washington (MO) University-St. Louis. Trinity had advanced to the quarterfinals for the second straight time.
Advancing to the semifinals, Trinity made its first final four appearance since 2000, when the Tigers won the NCAA Championship. The Tigers were pitted against fourth-seeded Amherst (MA) College, which won the semifinals match by a score of 5-3. Amherst later won the national championship, defeating the host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.
During the 2014 campaign, Trinity lost just three matches to Division III opponents. Additionally, four of Coach McMindes’ players were named to the All-America Team. At the NCAA Championships, Nico Moreno was selected as the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship national award winner. It marked the second consecutive season a Tiger player earned the distinction. Erick DelaFuente, who served as an assistant coach in 2014, won the award the previous year.
Trinity's success carried over to the 2015 season. In February, the Tigers traveled to Saint Peter, Minnesota, where they captured the ITA National Indoor Team Championship. The Tigers scored victories over Gustavus Adolphus (MN) College, Johns Hopkins (MD) University, and Emory to win the title. Trinity was ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Tigers advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years, and finished the season with a No. 8 ranking, and a 19-9 record.
Coach McMindes has guided three Trinity men’s doubles teams to the ITA Division III National Small College Championship. The latest duo to bring home the title was Matt Tyer and former player Adam Krull in October 2015. Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal won the championship in the fall of 2010, and advanced to the 2011 NCAA Doubles final. Aaron Skinner and Jordan Mayer repeated the ITA Championship feat in October 2014. Skinner won the ITA National Small College Singles Championship in the fall of 2012. He later advanced to the NCAA Singles semifinals.
All told, the Tiger men have won seven ITA National Singles and Doubles Championships since 1997.
Twelve players have earned All-America honors, on 19 occasions, under the tutelage of Coach McMindes. Deuel, Tyer, and Krull received the distinction in 2016.
Trinity has won seven consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, and Coach McMindes was elected SCAC Coach of the Year six of those times, including 2016. Five of Coach McMindes’ players have been named SCAC Player of the Year over the past seven seasons, including Deuel in 2016. In 2015, Skinner was elected the 2015 SCAC Man of the Year. Additionally, Tyer became the third consecutive Tiger player to be tabbed as SCAC Newcomer of the Year, following the 2016 season.
The Tigers have also been designated as an ITA All-Academic Team for five of the last seven years. Eleven individual players have earned ITA Scholar-Athlete accolades since 2010.
Coach McMindes also coached the Tiger women’s team during the 2011-12 season. Trinity’s women captured their first SCAC Championship since 2006, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers, who advanced to the second round, made their first NCAA appearance in four years. Mackenzie Knoop fought her way to the NCAA Singles semifinals in 2012, becoming the the first Trinity women’s semifinalist since 2002. Three Tiger players earned All-America honors during Coach McMindes’ post as head coach.
Coach McMindes spent six seasons as the Tiger men’s assistant coach under the legendary Butch Newman, Trinity’s Director of Tennis. In 2009, Coach McMindes was named the ITA West Region Men’s Tennis Assistant of the Year.
He was a three-year letter winner for the Tigers, and was a member of Trinity’s 2000 NCAA Division III National Championship team. Coach McMindes received All-SCAC recognition for three years. Prior to joining the Trinity program, he played one season for Oklahoma Christian University, and became a Tiger his sophomore year.
Coach McMindes earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Trinity in engineering science in 2002, with a concentration in chemical engineering. A resident of San Antonio, he was the Clemens High School valedictorian in 1997.
A talented instructor of tennis, Coach McMindes was a teaching professional at the San Antonio Country Club, as a United States Professional Tennis Association Certified Pro.
Coach McMindes and his wife, Cat, are the parents of a young daughter, Mia.