The Illinois State women's tennis team fell to Missouri Valley Conference foe Southern Illinois, 5-2, in its last spring match of the season. The Redbirds ended the 2013 spring season with an overall record of 9-9 and 2-4 in the MVC.
In the first home outdoor match of the season, the Illinois State women's tennis team defeated Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville, 6-1, in ISU's fifth MVC match of the spring season.
Madeliene Baillon earned the lone point for the Redbirds who fell to the nationally ranked Shockers, 6-1.
Next, the Redbirds travel to Indianapolis, Ind., Feb. 8, to face Indianapolis at 1 p.m.
Emmie Marx, Madeliene Baillon and Gabby Phillips each earned Missouri Valley Conference singles titles.
Chris Hoover began his coaching career in 1986 and has continued his tradition of excellence through the years by molding and sculpting his players to achieve maximum performance. Hoover began his tenture at Illinois State in 1994 and has been named the Missouri Valley Coach of Year five times. He has guided the Redbirds to five of the last 10 Missouri Valley Conference championships and his teams have placed in the top three in the Valley standings 13 times in the last 17 seasons.
In the 2012-13 season, the Redbirds finished 10-13 overall and finished with a 4-3 overall in Valley matches. The Redbirds finished the season with a loss in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Team Championships to top-seeded Wichita State.
In the 2011-12 season, the Illinois State women's tennis team finished 13-11 overall and recorded an overall score of 5-2 in the MVC. They battled against top-seeded Wichita State in the finals round of the MVC Championships, but fell 4-1, securing the second place conference title.
In the 2010-11 season, the Redbirds finished 9-13 overall and finished with a 3-4 mark in Valley matches. Hoover's sixth-seeded ISU squad rallied during the State Farm MVC Team Tennis Championship, topping two of the top three seeds before eventually falling to top-seeded Wichita State in the final.
Illinois State finished the 2009-10 season with an overall record of 18-6 and a 6-1 Valley mark. The Redbirds finished second in the conference standings and at the State Farm MVC Team Tennis Championships.
During the 2008-09 season, the Redbirds accumulated an overall record of 14-10 and finished 6-4 in the Valley. Hoover led ISU to a third-place finish in the conference and senior Tanja Hrovatic was named to the 2009 MVC Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete First Team.
ISU wrapped up the 2007-08 season with a record of 13-10 and posted a 7-3 mark in the MVC. On the academic front, the team set a then-school record for women's team grade-point average (GPA) with a 3.66 in the spring semester.
Hoover led his squad to another winning season in 2006-07, as the Redbirds finished 13-9 overall and 7-3 in conference matches. The team was recognized by the NCAA for its perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the team earned the highest GPA of all sports at ISU with a 3.40 in the fall of 2006.
The 2005-06 Redbirds wrapped up the season with an overall record of 14-7 and a 9-2 conference mark on their way to a fourth-straight MVC regular-season championship. Seven Illinois State players won seven Valley individual championships during the fall season.
Hoover's 2003-04 team dominated the Valley by finishing a perfect 12-0 in league matches. The Redbirds won the regular-season title outright and went on to claim the State Farm MVC Team Tennis Championship title to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time under Hoover.
The Redbirds posted perfect conference marks in 2001, 2003 and 2004 and claimed outright conference titles during all three seasons. Under Hoover's guidance, the duo of Alesia Mikalayeva and Liina Suurvarik competed in doubles at the 2002 NCAA Championship. Suurvarik also competed in the singles at the 2003 NCAA Tournament and attained a national rank of 30 during her 2003 campaign. Mikalayeva and Suurvarik won the 2001 ITA Omni Hotel Midwest Regional Championship and were ranked as high as 13th in the nation in 2002.
Hoover has recruited four Valley Freshman of the Year, including Emilie Sechaud, Laura Gravino, Suurvarik and Mikalayeva. Suurvarik graduated from ISU, went on to receive her MBA , started her professional tennis career in February 2005 and reached a WTA rank of 599.
He played an instrumental role in bringing legendary tennis coach Nick Bolletteiri to the Evergreen Raquet Club prior to the start of the 2003 spring season. Bolletteiri has coached some of the world's greatest tennis players, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. Hoover and Bolletteiri worked together during the summer of 1992, and helped Bolletteiri host clincs for both adults and juniors.
From 1995-98, Hoover captained the middle Illinois Junior Wrightman Cup team, which finished near the top each year and claimed the Sportsmanship Award in 1997. During this time, Hoover raised over $100,000 to help the Illinois State women's tennis program rise to regional and national prominence.
Hoover got his start in collegiate tennis as a walk-on at New Mexico State. He started teaching tennis at the Oakment Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., before taking a teaching position at the Forest Lake Tennis Club in St. Louis, Mo. It was there that he established an elite traveling team of juniors in addition to guiding the UTSA Volvo 2.5 women's team to the 1991 National Championship.
The Redbirds were familiar with Hoover before he came to ISU in 1994, as he was an assistant coach at conference rival, Creighton, for both its men's and women's tennis teams. Ed Hubb, head coach at Creighton, received his first and only coach of the year award while Hoover was on his staff. In the time that Hoover was an assistant for the Bluejays, both teams set numerous records, including earning the highest conference standing for both the men's and women's tennis teams.
Hoover and his wife, Susan, have two children: Addison, 25, and Kelsey, 21. Addison finished his collegiate career at the University of Dayton and Kelsey is a history education major at Illinois State.