Published May 22, 2016
TULSA – Cherokee Nation citizen, Chris Young, made collegiate history at Oklahoma State University as Head Coach of the 12th-ranked Cowgirls, leading them to their first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance in the Big Dance, the NCAA Tennis Championship, against the 1-ranked California Golden Bears.
The Cowgirls fought a grueling match against 8th-ranked Ohio State on Saturday. The final winning point was pulled out in a third set victory by freshman Katarina Stresnakova of Slovakia, sealing their spot in the Final Four.
“It’s the first time ever for our program to be in this spot. We’re representing the state of Oklahoma and the Big 12,” Young said. “Something special is happening right now. We don’t where it is going to end, but we are sure enjoying the ride.”
After the regular season, Young received the Big 12 Coach of the Year honor, the first Cherokee coach to receive that honor in any Big 12 sports program. However, this is not Young’s first Coach of the Year experience. In 2004, Young received the NAIA Region VI Women’s Coach of the Year award while garnering the Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors for both the men’s and women’s tennis programs while at Oklahoma Christian University in that same year. He also lead the Lady Eagles to a Sooner Athletic Conference Championship and a national ranking of #5 under his guidance.
After leaving the Eagles in 2004, he took over the Head Coaching position at NCAA Division I Wichita State University for five years, three of which he was pronounced as the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year selection. Under Young, the Shockers also experienced conference crowns in 2006, ’07, and ’09, their only NCAA Tournament appearances in school history. In 2007, with a record of 27-3, and a first ever NCAA Tournament win, he was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Region Coach of the Year coupled with the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) and ITA’s National Award for Community Service.
Since at OSU, Young transformed the women’s tennis program in more ways than one as he spearheaded efforts bringing about the construction and establishment of the Greenwood Tennis Center which opened in 2014. The Greenwood Center was the second largest project for the OSU’s Athletic Village and is considered by the USTA as one of the top two tennis facilities in the country.
However, Young’s ever growing list of accolades of elite and highly coveted accomplishments don’t compare to that of which he is most proud:
“I am proud of my heritage and proud to be Cherokee and I always want to represent the tribe in a positive manner and I hope our success this season has given others hope that anything is possible,” Young said.
The 12th-ranked OSU Cowgirls will take on the 1st-ranked California Golden Bears in a Final Four match up today at 10 a.m. The winner will face the winner of 6th-ranked Vanderbilt and 15th-ranked Stanford match for the championship on Wednesday, May 24th at 12 p.m CT. at the University of Tulsa in the William D. Case Tennis Center.