Kevin Cory is starting his 18th season as head coach of the UNLV women’s tennis team, but don’t tell him that’s a long time.
“It’s gone pretty quick,” Cory said. “We’ve had some really good teams over the years. We’ve had some top 20 teams and we’ve had multiple conference championship teams. We want to keep it going.”
Cory, who’s a three-time Mountain West Coach of the Year, has guided the Rebels to nine NCAA tournaments in the past 13 seasons. UNLV has also captured five Mountain West tournament titles under Cory’s guidance, including last season.
The Rebels open the 2017 season by hosting the three-day Freeman Memorial Championships beginning Friday at the Fertitta Tennis Complex.
The top five ranked squads in the country — No. 1 Florida, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Oklahoma State — are scheduled to compete in the eight-team field along with No. 10 Duke, No. 25 UCLA and UNLV.
“This is our 15th season hosting this event and the top teams always compete, but this is probably the strongest field we’ve ever had,” Cory said. “It’s always been one of the premier events in college tennis and it’s become an event where we have a waiting list for top nationally ranked programs wanting to get in every year.”
Cory said his teams never get caught up in the Top 25 rankings and use the high-level experience for Mountain West competition and the NCAA tournament. But he wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s team records a few upsets this weekend.
“We don’t shy away from playing these type of teams and we like to show the girls that we can compete and they’re not much better than we are,” Cory said.