Athletics

After 20 Seasons Bagwell Continues to be Among the Best in Division III

Bagwell
Jackie Bagwell is one of the most successful
women's tennis coaches in Division III history

Contact: Ben Badua

AMHERST, MA – Believed to be just the seventh women’s tennis head coach in NCAA Division III to surpass the 300-win plateau, Amherst’s Jackie Bagwell recently completed her 20th season in the Pioneer Valley, having helped the Lord Jeffs reach unparalleled heights during her tenure.

Arriving in 1991, Bagwell has turned Amherst into a perennial power by amassing an impressive 307-62 record. Her .832 winning percentage over the course of 20 seasons currently ranks as the highest mark amongst coaches who have compiled 300-plus victories.

During Bagwell's first three years in Purple and White, the Jeffs posted a 26-5 record, including a 10-1 ledger during the ’93-’94 season. Amherst later posted a 15-2 mark in ’94-’95 en route to the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Lord Jeffs then went 36-5 over the next two seasons, advancing to the national quarterfinals on both occasions, before earning their first national semifinal berth in ’97-’98 with an 17-3 record.

Continuing to build on the program’s already strong foundation, Bagwell broke through in 1999, posting an unblemished 19-0 mark while delivering the school’s first-ever national championship. From 2000-03 Amherst continued to flourish under Bagwell’s leadership, going 57-21 while advancing to the national semifinals in three of the four years.

The 2003-04 season saw Bagwell nab a share of the NESCAC Championship as the team posted a 17-4 slate, making a return trip to the NCAA title match and finishing the year as the national runner-up. The following season, the Jeffs captured their first of six-consecutive outright conference championships, going 12-3 and reaching the national semifinals for the seventh time in program history. Over the next five years (2006-10), Amherst went 88-16 (.846) with three more berths into the national semifinals, including runner-up finishes in both 2007 and 2009.

In 2010-11 the Lord Jeffs recorded their third-straight 20-plus-win season (20-3) while finding themselves atop the ITA National Poll for much of the year, with Bagwell's 300th career victory coming on Apr. 23 against Bowdoin. Amherst made its 17th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the national finals for the fifth time in school history. During the year, Bagwell also played an integral role in the development of first-years Gabby Devlin and Jordan Brewer, who captured the NCAA DIII Doubles Championship to become the third Amherst duo to take home the honor.

With Bagwell at the helm, the Lord Jeffs have appeared in 11 national semifinals while posting a 41-19 (.683) overall mark during NCAA Tournament play. Fifty-two Lord Jeffs have been selected to the conference’s All-NESCAC teams, with seven student-athletes earning Player or Rookie of the Year honors since 2001. Bagwell has also helped produce 36 ITA All-America honorees and one CoSIDA Academic All-America selection.

Bagwell has been recognized throughout her time at Amherst, notably taking home the Boston Area Coach of the Year award in 2000 (going up against Boston Red Sox manager Jimmy Williams and Boston Bruins head coach Pat Burns) and NESCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2007. This season, Bagwell was recognized as the ITA's Northeast Coach of the Year.

Bagwell will begin the 2011-12 season with 307 wins to her credit. And at the rate she's going, number 400 doesn't seem that far away.