Erin Ness is in her seventh year as the head women's tennis coach at Washington and Lee University for the 2019 season.
Ness' first stint resulted in a 19-8 overall record and the program's 23rd Old Dominion Athletic Conference title. The Generals then advanced to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Sewanee in the second round. Ness also coached several individuals to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, with the tandem of Sonja Meighan '15 and Patricia Kirkland '15 advancing to the semifinals of the national tournament to earn All-America honors. Ness also mentored Meghan Buell '15 to All-America honors after she placed fourth at the ITA Small College Championships in the fall.
In her second season, Ness led the Generals to their 12th-straight ODAC title and a berth into the NCAA Tournament. W&L took down Sewanee, 5-0, in the second round, but fell to top-seeded Emory, 5-0, in the third round. Ness also mentored Meighan and Kirkland to All-America accolades, as Meighan won the ITA Southeast Regional Singles Championship and partnered with Kirkland to win the doubles championship in the fall. Meighan and Kirkland were also the only Generals selected to participate in the NCAA Individual Championships in the spring.
In 2015, Ness tabbed the ODAC Coach of the Year after leading the Generals to the program’s 25th ODAC Championship. The Blue and White topped N.C. Wesleyan, 5-0, in the second round, but loss to 13th-ranked MIT, 5-3, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Ness guided Meighan and Kirkland to their second-straight Southeast Regional Doubles Championship in the fall. The duo, along with Brooke Donnelly ‘17 were chosen to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships in the spring.
Ness guided the Generals to a 19-6 overall record and the program’s 14th-straight ODAC title in 2016. W&L finished 16th in the final ITA Division III poll and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual National Champion Emory. For her efforts, Ness was tabbed the ODAC Coach of the Year and VaSID Coach of the Year. Ness mentored Donnelly to her second All-America honor and Tessa Hill ’19 earned ODAC Rookie of the Year accolades. Donnelly competed in the NCAA Individual Championships, while Donnelly and Hill competed in the doubles championship.
In 2017, Ness earned her 100th career win at W&L with a 5-0 victory over Randolph-Macon in the ODAC Championship match. The Generals claimed their 15th-straight ODAC title and 27th overall. W&L topped Sewanee, 5-3, in the second round, but fell to Emory, 5-1, in the third round. Ness helped coach Donnelly to her third All-America honor in singles after she won the ITA Southeast Regional Championship in the fall, and Donnelly and Hill earned All-America accolades in doubles in the spring. For her efforts, Ness was named the VaSID Coach of the Year for the third straight year.
The 2018 season saw the Generals go 19-8 overall during the regular season and an 11-0 record in conference matches. W&L won its 16th consecutive ODAC Championship in 2018, sixth under Ness, and defeated Franciscan, 5-0, before falling in a second-round matchup to Mary Washington by a 5-4 score. Ness claimed her fourth ODAC Coach of the Year award and helped senior Michelle Fleenor to ODAC Player of the Year and ITA First Team All-America honors in singles, the 25th straight season the program has had at least one All-American. First-year Valerie Marshall was named ODAC Rookie of the Year in singles, the second General to be honored as the Rookie of the Year under Ness's guidance (Tessa Hill, singles and doubles, 2016). The Generals finished the 2018 season ranked 18th in the final ITA Division III rankings.
Ness came to W&L from the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she served as the head women's tennis coach from 2006-12. She led the Banana Slugs to the NCAA Division III Tournament three times, while mentoring her athletes to All-America honors a total of five times. Her 2008, 2011 and 2012 teams all earned ITA All-Academic Team accolades and she was named the Wilson/ITA West Region Coach of the Year in 2011.
In addition to coaching, Ness served as a physical education instructor at UC-Santa Cruz and served as the assistant director of the Nike Tennis Camps held on campus since 2004.
Ness was a four-year starter in both singles and doubles as an undergraduate at UC-Santa Cruz, serving as a team captain for her senior season. Twice she helped guide the team to the NCAA Tournament and she was a regionally ranked doubles player.
Ness earned a bachelor of arts in psychology in 2006 and is currently working towards a master of arts in kinesiology and sports psychology from San Jose State University.
NESS YEAR-BY-YEAR AT W&L
|2013||19-8||ODAC Champions, NCAA Second Round|
|2014||18-3||ODAC Champions, NCAA Third Round, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2015||24-5||ODAC Champions, NCAA Third Round, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2016||19-6||ODAC Champions, NCAA Third Round, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2017||21-6||ODAC Champions, NCAA Third Round|
|2018||19-8||ODAC Champions, NCAA Second Round, ODAC Coach of the Year|
||120-36 (.769)||6 ODAC Titles, 6 NCAA Bids, 4 ODAC Coach of the Year Awards|