Chris Young

Speaker
Oklahoma State Women’s Tennis

In his nine years at the helm of the Oklahoma State women’s tennis program, head coach Chris Young has transformed OSU into a national tennis power.

A native of Norman, Okla., Young has compiled a career record of 350-171, directing the OSU women and the men’s and women’s programs at both Wichita State and his alma mater, Oklahoma Christian. Young now holds a 161-76 record with the Cowgirls.

After spending five years as the Wichita State Director of Tennis, Young returned nine seasons ago to his home state where he competed as a collegian and began his coaching career.

During his time in Stillwater, Young has led the Cowgirls to unprecedented success, as shown by the team’s seven-straight trips to the NCAA tournament, three trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 in the last four years, two Big 12 regular season titles in the last three years, and a national runner-up finish to the 2016 season.

During Young’s seven years at Oklahoma State, he has overseen 23 Academic All-Big 12 selections, two ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award Recipients, six All-American selections, seven ITA Central Regional Champions, three ITA Rookie of the Year regional selections, two ITA Central Region Senior Players of the Year, a Big 12 Freshman of the Year, the 2015 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year. Under Young, the Cowgirls have racked up four-straight seasons of 20 wins or more.

Young was also instrumental in the fundraising and design of the state-of-the-art Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center that would push OSU and Stillwater to the forefront of college tennis. Since the grand opening in 2014, both the OSU men’s and women’s programs have experienced exponential growth, and the facility has hosted several major events, including the 2014 ITA Central Region Championships and the 2016 Big 12 Championships.

In 2018, Young’s Cowgirls posted a 20-5 overall record and hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season. Despite only returning three letterwinners from a season prior, the Pokes finished second in a stacked Big 12 and advanced in the NCAA Tournament for a sixth-straight year.

Young guided Cowgirls Vladica Babic and Sofia Blanco to the finals of the 2018 NCAA doubles draw, which also clinched the pair’s first All-America recognition. Under Young’s direction, the OSU tandem became the first OSU doubles team to be named All-Americans since 1991. Babic and Blanco were also named ITA All-Stars, while five Cowgirls received All-Big 12 accolades.

In his eighth year, Young led the Cowgirls to a 25-6 overall record and 8-1 mark in Big 12 play, good for the team’s second consecutive Big 12 regular season conference title. OSU followed up its fourth Big 12 title match appearance in the last five years with its second-straight Elite Eight appearance, as the No. 9 seed Cowgirls dropped No. 8 Georgia Tech in a thrilling 4-3 victory to advance.

The 2017 season would bring Viktoriya Lushkova her third singles All-America recognition, as Young guided the Ukrainian standout to become the first player in school history to achieve such a feat. That season, Young would also coach seven Cowgirls to an All-Big 12 team and four Pokes to appearances at the NCAA Individual Championships.

Young was named the unanimous Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading Cowgirls to the best season in program history in 2016, claiming the 2016 Big 12 Championship and advancing to the national championship match for the first time ever. OSU turned in a 29-5 overall record, along with a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play to bring home the regular season Big 12 title. The squad would storm through the Big 12 Championship, winning each of its three matches, 4-0, to take home the tournament title as well.

In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Young and the host Cowgirls handled Albany and Tulsa to advance to their second-straight Sweet 16. OSU would knock off the likes of No. 5 Georgia, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 1 California on its way to the NCAA Finals, where they would meet powerhouse Stanford and fall just short, losing, 4-3.

The following week at the NCAA Singles Championship, Young coached junior Katarina Adamovic to a quarterfinal appearance and her first career All-American honor. In all, a combined seven Cowgirls finished the season in the ITA singles and doubles rankings, while the team earned its highest finish in school history at No. 8.

During the 2015 season, OSU’s women’s program rose to new heights, finishing the season 23-6. The Cowgirls took down 14 ranked opponents and notched 15 shutout wins. The stellar season earned the Cowgirls their fourth-straight trip to the NCAA championships and the privilege to host the first and second rounds for the first time on the OSU campus. A heroic showing by the Pokes advanced them to the Sweet 16, where they faced a tough Florida team and fell. Throughout the season, Young saw his squad rise to No. 8 in the ITA polls, the highest ranking in program history. He also saw Lushkova earn the highest singles ranking at No. 10. She paired up with Miami transfer Kelsey Laurente to become the nation’s No. 3 doubles team at one point, also breaking a school rankings record.

That year, Lushkova and Katarina Adamovic were named All-Big 12 singles selections and the Lushkova/Laurente duo and Adamovic/Babic duos were named All-Big 12 doubles selections. Lushkova and Carla Tur-Mari were labeled as Academic All-Big 12 selections as well.

Young earned accolades for himself as he was named the 2015 ITA Central Region Head Coach of the Year.

Under his direction in 2014, Oklahoma State saw its first women’s tennis All-American since 1991 in Viktoriya Lushkova. In 2015, Lushkova repeated the honor, making her the first Cowgirl since the 1986 and 1987 seasons to earn two singles All-America honors. She is also just the second Cowgirl to accomplish the feat.

In 2014, he led the Pokes to a 15-8 campaign with a 7-2 record against Big 12 opponents. The Cowgirls produced 11 wins over ranked teams, including a huge 4-3 win over No. 14 Oklahoma. Young and his squad received the highest final ranking for the program since 2001, when it was named the No. 21 team in the nation. The Cowgirls went on to the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row, where they advanced to the Round of 32 after a dominating 4-0 win over South Florida.

Several of his players earned individual awards following the season. Lushkova was not only named All-American but also Big 12 Freshman of the Year, ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year and selected to the All-Big 12 singles and doubles team. Kanyapat Narattana joined Lushkova on the All-Big 12 doubles and Megan McCray was named to the singles team.

In 2013, Young coached the Cowgirls to a 16-9 overall record. The team notched 11 wins over ranked opponents, including a 5-2 victory over No. 12 Nebraska in San Diego, Calif., in March. Oklahoma State competed as the fifth seed in the Big 12 tournament after recording a 5-4 mark in conference play for the second straight year.

That year, Young’s Cowgirls made the program’s deepest run into the Big 12 tournament in 10 years with a 4-2 win over fourth-seeded TCU, and an exciting victory over top seed and 19th-ranked Baylor to send Oklahoma State to the conference championship for the first time since 2003; however; the Cowgirls fell, 4-0, to the No. 3 seed Texas in the Big 12 championship the next day.

The Cowgirls earned back-to-back NCAA tournament bids in 2012 and 2013, for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 seasons. In 2013, Young also coached the Cowgirl doubles team of Malika Rose and Narattana to an NCAA doubles tournament appearance.

Oklahoma State finished with an 11-10 record in Young’s third season. The Cowgirl program saw its biggest win ever in 2012 when the team defeated No. 6 Texas for the fourth time in history. As a result, the Cowgirls received a No. 5 seeding and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships, as well as a bid to the Tuscaloosa Regional in the NCAA Tournament. OSU fell in its first match of each tournament.
Under Young’s direction, Meghan Blevins was named ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year in 2012.

The 2011 Cowgirls finished the season with an 8-16 record; however, the team made it to the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship for the second straight year, edging out Missouri before eventually losing to top-seeded Baylor.

In his first year as OSU, Young led the Cowgirls to a 13-10 finish, their best in three years, and picked up his milestone 200th career coaching win.

Young’s coaching prowess was evident as his 2010 Cowgirls reached the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship and received several individual accolades. His athletes earned a Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award, a No. 4 singles Big 12 co-championship and a doubles spot on the all-conference team.

He also earned his second USTA/ITA Campus and Community Outreach Award in 2010, as he was honored for his work in promoting tennis to the community.

During his time in Wichita, Young led the women’s squad to a 94-38 mark, including a 33-6 ledger in Missouri Valley Conference play. A three-time conference coach of the year selection, Young guided the Shockers to league crowns in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Those seasons also resulted in the first three NCAA Tournament appearances in school history.

Young took a program that had never held a national ranking or defeated a ranked opponent and transformed the Shockers into a squad that was ranked for 43-straight weeks and defeated more than 20 ranked opponents under his direction.

The 2008-09 campaign saw Young’s squad post a 21-6 mark and capture its third league title in four seasons. Individually, his players won 65 of their 68 individual matches in MVC action.

The fruits of his off-court work began to show as well as the Shockers finished the year ranked in the top 10 nationally in attendance.

The Shockers narrowly missed their third-straight conference title in 2008, finishing the year with a 16-8 mark and a runner-up finish at the MVC Tournament.

Young’s third season at WSU proved to be one for the history books as his charges produced a school-record 27-3 mark and became the first MVC squad to win an NCAA Tournament match. The Shockers knocked off 25th-ranked South Carolina in the first round to secure the school’s first NCAA victory. Additionally, the Shockers climbed to No. 16 in the national rankings, making them the highest ranked team in the history of the MVC.

Five Shockers earned all-conference honors, including Madina Rakhim, who finished the year with a 29-2 mark at the No. 1 singles position. The Shockers were dominant up and down their lineup, finishing with a 66-1 record in their individual conference matches.

For his efforts, Young was named the ITA Central Region Coach of the Year. The 2007 campaign also saw him earn the USTA/ITA National Award for Community Service.

The 2004-05 campaign, WSU’s first under Young, resulted in immediate progress. The Shockers finished with a 13-13 mark, giving them their highest win total in seven years and providing an indicator of the program’s bright future.

Young produced 17 all-conference singles players, nine all-league doubles performers. His squads also emphasized their work in the classroom with 16 Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athletes dotting his rosters.

From 2005-08, Young also steered the Shocker men’s program and tallied a 58-38 record. His 2008 squad recorded 19 wins and achieved the program’s highest ranking in 10 years. Individually, he coached nine all-conference singles players, two all-league doubles teams and produced two MVC Scholar-Athlete selections.

Prior to taking over the Shocker program, Young worked as the assistant men’s and women’s coach at Oklahoma Christian University, including a stint as the interim head coach for both programs in 2002.

He took charge of the women’s program in 2003 before adding the OC men’s head coaching position to his list of duties the following year. The 2003 season also resulted in a national championship on the men’s side.

During his time at Oklahoma Christian, the Eagles had 20 players receive NAIA All-America honors, including eight with Young as head coach.

The 2004 season saw Young garner both the men’s and women’s conference coach of the year honors in addition to his recognition as the NAIA Region VI Women’s Coach of the Year.

Young’s coaching career got underway in 1999 in Ardmore, Okla., where he served as a teaching pro and assistant coach at Ardmore High School.

As a player, Young earned three letters from Oklahoma Christian and helped the Eagles to top-five national finishes in each of his three seasons.

A 2000 graduate of Oklahoma Christian, Young and his wife, Sarah, have two children, Braden and Kelsy.