Per Nilsson named SEC Coach of the Year
Mississippi State's men's tennis team has produced a tremendous amount of success this season and that was evident in the release of the 2011 All-Southeastern Conference teams last Wednesday, as five Bulldogs earned league honors, Malte Stropp was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Year and head coach Per Nilsson was named Coach of the Year in the league.
"I'm extremely proud of what our team has accomplished this season, and these honors are very indicative of those accomplishments" Nilsson said. "I am humbled to have been named Coach of the Year by my peers, but I also want to give a lot of credit to our assistant coach, Matt Hill. He deserves as much credit as I do for our success."
Nilsson, in his fourth season as State's head coach, has led Mississippi State back to familiar territory in 2011. The Bulldogs, which are primed for their 20th selection to the NCAA Championship (to be announced May 3), have posted their best record overall (13-8) and in the SEC (8-3) since 1998's NCAA semifinal team went 21-5 and 9-2 in the league. Seven of MSU's eight losses this season have come to teams currently ranked among the nation's top 10.
Under Nilsson's guidance, MSU also claimed its first SEC Western Division crown (since the league went to divisions in 2002), finishing two matches better than its nearest competition in the division. State has also been ranked as high as 19th nationally this spring, the best by the program since 2005.
Nilsson himself was four-year letterwinner (1991-94) for the Bulldogs and was a member of State's 1993 SEC Championship team and the Bulldogs' 1994 NCAA semifinalist squad. He was assistant coach at Pepperdine when the Wave won the 2006 national title.