SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah athletics director Mark Harlan announced the hiring of Ric Mortera as the Utes’ women’s tennis head coach today, who will enter his first season in 2019-20.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Ric Mortera to the University of Utah,” Harlan said. “I want to thank deputy athletics director Kyle Brennan and associate athletics director Liz Prince for leading the way in this process to find someone who would fit the formula for taking the Utah women’s tennis program to new heights.”
“This program is rich with history and tradition and is housed in one of the best facilities in the country, the Eccles Tennis Center. We believe that Ric, who has tremendous coaching experience in Power Five women’s tennis, will continue that tradition as our new head coach and we are excited to see him lead our program in an upward direction.”
Mortera comes to Salt Lake City after a year as Fresno State’s women’s tennis head coach, where he saw the Bulldogs win nine dual matches with three student-athletes earning All-Mountain West honors. He became Fresno State’s head coach in July 2018 after spending three successful seasons as the associate head coach at Texas Tech.
“I would like to thank athletics director Mark Harlan, deputy athletics director Kyle Brennan, associate athletics director Liz Prince, senior women’s administrator Nona Richardson, and the entire search committee for the incredible privilege of leading this program into the future,” Mortera said.
“I would also like to thank Fresno State and all of the great people there for giving me my first opportunity to be a head coach. To say I am overjoyed and am honored to be bestowed this position at Utah would be an understatement. I have a strong belief in the platform that this athletic department, school and community can provide for student-athletes and I cannot wait to get on campus.”
During his time at Texas Tech, the Lady Raiders went 73-17, the best three-year winning percentage in program history (81.1), while six of his athletes captured All-Big 12 singles selections. Texas Tech made the NCAA Tournament all three years that Mortera was on staff, including back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2015 and 2016 and an Elite Eight run in 2017.
Mortera was named Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Texas Region Assistant Coach in 2016 and 2017, with his final season (2017) being the best in program history. The team finished the season ranked No. 7 in the final Oracle/ITA rankings, made its first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance, produced a program-high 27 wins, and won its first Big 12 regular season and tournament championships in program history.
Prior to his stint at Texas Tech, he was an assistant coach at Illinois (2014) and Purdue (2013), helping both teams to new heights.
At Illinois, he saw the Fighting Illini hold a No. 45 ITA ranking, notching upsets over No. 25 TCU and No. 29 Oklahoma State with four student-athletes being honored by the Big Ten through all-academic, all-conference and sportsmanship award selections. While at Purdue, the Boilermakers reached a program-high No. 14 in the ITA ranks as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 with a program-best 18 dual wins that season.
Mortera got his start in collegiate coaching as a volunteer assistant at Illinois for two seasons (2011-12), also working on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour, where he coached former United States Fed Cup player Alexa Glatch and 2009 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup. He helped Glatch reach the U.S. Open and Wimbledon main draws and helped Boserup achieve a career-high ranking of No. 174.
The Portland, Oregon, native was a four-year letter winner at Oregon. He graduated in 2010 with degrees in both economics and political science after ranking as high as No. 45 in the ITA in singles his senior season while also receiving a master’s in sport management from Texas Tech in 2018.