Thursday, July 30, 2020

Boland Resigns After Two Years at Baylor; World Team Tennis Playoffs Begin Saturday; McNally Among Western & Southern Open Wild Cards

Brian Boland, who took the men's head coaching position at Baylor just over two years ago after a short run as head of men's tennis at the USTA, resigned from his position on Wednesday. Boland, who led Virginia to NCAA titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, returned to college tennis for the 2018-19 season, leading the Bears to the quarterfinals of the NCAAs.

Associate head coach Michael Woodson, who was assistant coach prior to Boland's arrival and was promoted to associate head coach last year, has been name interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.

The release by Baylor contains quotes from both athletic director Mack Rhoades, who hired Boland, and Boland himself, which is contrast to the statement provided by USC when Peter Smith's resignation was announced. That statement included a brief thank you from Smith, but nothing from the administration, despite Smith's 17 years there. No reason is given for Boland's resignation, by either Rhoades or Boland, but it's my understanding that Boland was asked to resign, and there is nothing in the official statement suggesting otherwise.

In any case, the two most successful Division I men's coaches of this century, with nine NCAA team titles between them since 2009, are now out of college coaching.

The playoffs are set for World Team Tennis, with the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms taking on No. 4 seed New York Empire in one semifinal and the second-seeded Orlando Storm facing No. 3 seed Chicago Smash in the other semifinal. Those matches will be played on Saturday, at 2 p.m. for Philadelphia vs New York and 5 p.m. for Orlando vs Chicago, with CBS Sports Network broadcasting.  The winners of those two matches will advance to the final, which will be shown on live network television for the first time in the league's 45-year history at noon Sunday on CBS.

Among those playing for the four teams are:
Sofia Kenin (Philadelphia Freedoms), Taylor Fritz (Philadelphia Freedoms), Taylor Townsend (Philadelphia Freedoms), Kim Clijsters (NY Empire), Jack Sock (NY Empire), Coco Vandeweghe (NY Empire), Sloane Stephens (Chicago Smash), Genie Bouchard (Chicago Smash), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Chicago Smash), Tennys Sandgren (Orlando Storm) and Jessica Pegula (Orlando Storm).

The Western & Southern Open announced its WTA wild cards today, with 18-year-old Caty McNally, Sloane Stephens, Kim Clijsters, Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams the recipients. Both Stephens and Osaka would have received entry based on their rankings had they entered, but for some reason did not.  McNally received a main draw wild card last year, when the event was held, as usual, in her hometown of Cincinnati, losing in the first round to Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-0.  Joel Drucker of tennis.com has more on McNally's development and her all-court game in this article. Tennis.com is also raising awareness for the nonprofit Team Luke Hope for Minds, headed by former Texas Tech coach Tim Siegel, whose son Luke suffered a brain injury in a golf cart accident.

The four Western & Southern Open men's main draw wild cards have yet to be announced.