Quick win earns coach 400th career victory

Lauren Jette

After getting rained out in their first match of the day, the Longhorns made quick work of their second match to give their head coach his 400th career win.

On Sunday, No. 13 Texas defeated UT-Permian Basin 6-0 in a match that was limited to singles matches only, after a rain delay forced the eventual cancellation of the morning match against No. 23 Tulsa. The win over UTPB, which is in its first season of men’s tennis at the Division II level, gave head coach Michael Center his 400th win as a head coach.

“When you start coaching, you don’t think about a number like 400,” Center said. “It feels good to reach that milestone, but obviously, you want to keep that going.”

In a match that only took 42 minutes to complete, Texas lost just three games out of the six singles matches, with juniors Ben Chen and Alex Hilliard and freshman Joey Swaysland posting identical 6-1, 6-0 scores in their matches while junior Chris Camillone, sophomore David Holiner and freshman Jacoby Lewis posted 6-0, 6-0 shutouts in their matches.

In the earlier match against Tulsa, Texas took the doubles points with wins from junior Daniel Whitehead and Chen, and sophomore Sudanwa Sitaram and Hilliard. The No. 40 doubles team of Camillone and Holiner fought through a tough match and long tiebreak to deal the No. 5 doubles team of Ashley Watling and Clifford Marslanda 7-6 (12) loss. About an hour into the singles matches, rain forced a delay, and the match was suspended due to intermittent rain and travel concerns for Tulsa.

With the victory, Center moves to a 400-150 (.727) career record and a 241-82 (.746) mark while head coach at Texas. Center has coached at Kansas and TCU and is currently in his 12th season here.

“This has been a great job for me at Texas,” Center said. “I don’t really look at it like a job. I wake up every morning and think about how to make the program and team better. I feel like it has been a lot of fun.”

The Longhorns will hit get a much needed break this week before returning to the courts to take on Oklahoma in their conference opener next Friday.