Arizona State University has announced today the retirement of longtime women’s tennis coach, Sheila McInerney, after 40 years of leadership, mentorship, and dedication as the head coach of the Sun Devils.

As the longest-tenured coach in Arizona State history, McInerney has built a legacy that will not only be hard to replicate on the court but by her peers as well, with her kindness and endearing love for Arizona State athletics shining through each and every day of her 40 years at the helm of the Sun Devils.

Being around the sport since the age of eight, McInerney played collegiately at USC where she was a four-time All-American, three-time NCAA National Champion, and team captain for the Women of Troy. While in college, McInerney also competed in the US Open where she would reach the third round before falling to the great Billie Jean King in three sets.

Beginning her head coaching career with Arizona State in 1984 at the young age of 25, McInerney has not only met expectations during her time in the Valley of the Sun but has blown them out of the water with many records to her name that will stand for countless years.

First earning Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in 1997, McInerney has gone on to earn this honor on two more occasions in 2016 and most recently in 2022. Over her 40 years of coaching she has had 51 All-Pac-12 honorees, 25 All-Americans, and 38 players who finished the year in the top 50 of the year-end singles rankings.

Altogether, McInerney has over 550 wins at Arizona State, over 100 wins against ranked opponents, has reached the NCAA Championships for 36 consecutive years, and has eight NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances.

Taking academics just as seriously, McInerney has had over 50 ITA Scholar Athletes, over 80 Academic All-Pac-12 selections, and four Academic All-Americans during her time with the Sun Devils.

In 2016, McInerney was also honored with the ITA Meritorious Service Award which is given to an ITA coach who has gone “above and beyond” in their commitment and contributions to the ITA and college tennis in general. She is one of just nine coaches to be honored with this award and is amongst the likes of Ann Lebedeff (Pomona Pitzer), Peter Wright (California), and Bev Buckley (Rollins) to name a few.

Within the ITA and USTA, McInerney has spent time on the ITA Board of Directors, as the Chair of the ITA Division I Women’s Operating Committee, as well as the USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee. 

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) would like to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to McInerney on her retirement and want to thank her for her dedication to our sport over these past 40 years and more.

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College Tennis Alumni Network

2 COMMENTS

  1. What a wonder career. You have been a mentor to hundreds, frieoto thousands, and have been admired by all. Well done, Sheila!!

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