BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham-Southern women's tennis head coach Ann Dielen announced that she is retiring after 41 years of coaching on the Hilltop. Dielen, who is the longest tenured coach in Birmingham-Southern history, will be transitioning to Director of Tennis. She will remain the Senior Women's Administrator.
"It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as the tennis coach for the past 41 years," said Dielen. "I have coached so many wonderful young men and women over the years. I am looking forward to my new role as director of tennis."
Dielen was hired by former Athletics Director Dr. Don Green to head the newly reinstated tennis program in 1977, coaching both the men's and women's teams. She started focusing on the women's program after the 2001 season, ending with over 200 wins on the men's side, boasting a .530 win percentage. Among her former women's players is current BSC Assistant Athletic Director Sheri Scholl Salmon ('85) who played from 1982-85.
"Ann Dielen could hit the ball on a dime, and still can," said Salmon. "She was a player's coach. We always had fun playing tennis. The best part of my BSC collegiate career was the time I spent on the tennis court and that is because of Ann Dielen and the team chemistry she created with both the women and men's programs. I am fortunate to call her a mentor, but more important, a friend."
Since 1983, Dielen has amassed nearly 680 wins and coached over 1,080 matches. She helped usher the Panthers through many eras as the program moved from an NAIA, to NCAA Division I, and finally to the NCAA Division III level. Under her direction the women's team participated in the NAIA National Championships every year from the tournament's inception in 1980 until BSC's final year in the league.
A past president of the National Tennis Association, Dielen is a seven-time NAIA District Coach of the Year and has garnered an ITA Women's Tennis Coach of the Year award. She is also an inductee in the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame. In 2014, the BSC home courts were dedicated the Ann Dielen Tennis Complex in honor of the illustrious coach.
"Ann has definitely left her footprint on the BSC tennis program which will last for a very long time," said Salmon. "We are grateful."
Athletics Director Kyndall Waters will be announcing the new women's tennis head coach later this week.