McInerney named 2016 ITA award winner

November 30, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. — Sheila McInerney, Arizona State University women’s tennis coach, has been named by ConantLeadership and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the recipient of the 2016 ITA Meritorious Service Award, presented by ConantLeadership.


McInerney will be presented her award by Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup and founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, at the 2016 ITA Coaches Convention awards luncheon, held Sunday, December 11, at the Naples Grande Resort in Naples, Florida.

“Sheila McInerney is a tremendous example of the very best in college coaching, and who our coaches should strive to be,” said ITA Chief Executive Officer Timothy Russell. “During her tenure at Arizona State, Sheila’s student-athletes have excelled, both in the classroom and on the tennis courts, thanks to her leadership. Her work on the ITA Board of Directors and operating committees have shown Sheila’s passion and dedication to serving college tennis. I am thankful to call Sheila a friend and am thrilled that she is being honored with the 2016 ITA Meritorious Service Award.”

The ITA Meritorious Service Award is given annually in recognition of an ITA coach who has gone “above and beyond” in their commitment and contributions to the ITA and college tennis in general. As part of receiving the Meritorious Service Award, McInerney, courtesy of the ITA and ConantLeadership, will attend the 2017 Rolex Enshrinement Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, where McInerney will be recognized during the International Tennis Hall of Fame Luncheon on July 15, 2017, immediately prior to the ITHF Induction Ceremony.

“I am very honored to be the recipient of the ITA Meritorious Service Award,” said McInerney. “The sport of tennis and college tennis in particular have been very good to me. I feel fortunate to be able to show my gratitude by working closely with the ITA and my coaching peers to help grow and advance collegiate tennis.”

In her 33-year tenure at Arizona State, McInerney has amassed 481 wins, and her teams have advanced to 31 NCAA tournaments, including the last 29. The Sun Devils has finished each season in the Top 38 of the national rankings and have recorded 86 wins over ranked opponents since 2008.

The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, McInerney received the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor, and was also selected as the ITA Southwest Region Coach of the Year. She was the 1997 ITA National Coach of the Year, and was the 1987 USA Pan American Games coach and 1986 Goodwill Games coach.

McInerney’s teams have thrived off the court as well. She’s had four Academic All-Americans, 45 ITA Scholar-Athletes since 2002 and 80 Academic All-Pac 12 student-athletes since 1991. Under McInerney’s watch, Jacqueline Cako was named Arizona State Female Athlete of the Year (2013), Michelle Brycki was awarded the Cissie Leary ITA National Sportsmanship Award (2012) and Kelcy McKenna was selected as the Pac-12 Post-Graduate Scholar (2011).

“Sheila McInerney’s commitment to the sport of tennis and her student-athletes in unparalleled,” said Arizona State Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson. “A pioneer of the game, she has advanced women’s tennis from her time as one of the first female collegiate athletes to earn a scholarship to her 33-year tenure as head coach at Arizona State. Most notably, she is truly a wonderful human being who has impacted the life of countless people, student-athletes, and coaches she has come into contact with. On behalf of Sun Devil Athletics, we could not be more proud of Coach Sheila McInerney for receiving the ITA Meritorious Service Award.”

Prior to Arizona State, McInerney served as an assistant women’s tennis coach at the University of Southern California, the same institution she played for as a student-athlete. McInerney, who earned a bachelor’s in public relations, was captain of the Trojans her senior year and was a four-time All-American. The Trojans won three national championships during McInerney’s career, and she was the national doubles runner-up three times and a national singles semifinalist in 1977.

McInerney enjoyed success on the professional tennis tour, reaching the Top 75 in the rankings and competing at Wimbledon, the French Open and US Open, where she advanced to the Round of 32.

“I can’t think of a more deserving coach to receive the ITA Meritorious Service Award,” said University of California, Berkeley, women’s tennis head coach, Amanda Augustus. “Sheila’s tireless commitment to the young women she coaches, professionally to her colleagues in the Pac-12 Conference and around the country, and as well as giving back to the game through her work with the USTA. Her longstanding and consistent service record with ITA national and regional committees on behalf of college tennis is unparalleled. She is a great teacher, coach, mentor and friend and fills all those roles daily with tremendous passion and enthusiasm.

“As a fellow female head coach Sheila has always been a fantastic mentor and role model for me. She is the utmost professional and her teams exude her competitiveness as well as great sportsmanship and character. At ASU, she has delivered a consistent level of excellence on the court and in the classroom that helped to inspire renewed resources and commitment to the future of college tennis. Always hard at work, yet always willing to take the time to help out a young coach with questions or check on an old friend. Sheila respects and loves the game at all levels and helped inspire me to get into coaching and to continue to be a better coach every day. ASU and college tennis are very lucky to have her.”