The National Award Winner will be announced next Tuesday
It’s the first time in program history
Cowgirls finish the season 15-6 overall
Zhelyazkova earns third set tiebreaker for victory
Wyoming reaches semifinals tomorrow
Dean Clower, who held the title of interim head tennis coach and was an assistant the previous four years, was promoted to head coach of the Wyoming Cowgirl tennis program in the spring of 2012.
It was another milestone year for Clower and the Cowgirl program during the 2014-15 season. He helped the Cowgirls to a 15-6 record overall during the 2015 spring season and a perfect 5-0 mark in league play. The 15-wins were the most in program history, while the five wins tied for the most wins in league play. The first-place finish in MW action was also a school best for a Wyoming tennis team. Four individuals garnered postseason honors during the season including seniors Alma Espinosa and Christa Gecheva, sophomore Dorottya Jonas and redshirt freshman Magdalena Stencel. Finishing his fourth season at the helm, Clower has an overall mark of 50-34 and an 18-7 record in league play. Earlier this season, he became the all-time winningest coach in school history and the 18 conference wins is the most ever in school history. At least two individuals have earned All-Conference honors in each of his four years. Wyoming went 2-1 at the 2015 Mountain West Tennis Championships defeating the top-seeded Fresno State Bulldogs, 4-3, before falling in the championship match against New Mexico, 4-2. For his efforts, Clower was named the Mountain West Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year.
Clower became the fifth head women's tennis coach in Cowgirl history. After taking over the program, he led them to a 14-9 overall mark and a record of 5-2 in Mountain West play. They finished tied for second which is the highest finish ever for a Wyoming team. As a team, the Cowgirls were ranked in the Campbell's/ITA national rankings every week since they started coming out on January 3, 2012. Their highest was the 56th spot on March 27th, which was a best in school history. Along with that, they defeated three nationally ranked teams on the year and finished the year ranked 61st. The doubles team of Veronica Popovici and Simona Synkova also won the ITA Mountain Regional Tournament in the fall, while earning a spot of 47th in the rankings.
In addition to that, two members of the squad were named All-Mountain West. Popovici and Synkova were named First Team All-Conference in singles play, while they were selected to the All-Conference Doubles Team as well. It was the third time in school history that a player had won back-to-back singles awards and the first time that a player won the doubles award three seasons in a row.
In his second season, Clower and the Cowgirls finished the year with an 11-12 record and a 4-4 mark in league play. The 11-wins marked the fourth straight year that the tennis program reached double-figure victories. As a team, they were ranked 61st heading into the spring and six weeks throughout the season. The doubles team of Simona Synkova and Veronica Popovici were ranked 21st in the preseason Campbell's/ITA rankings and entered the spring 52nd. They participated in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and reached the finals of the ITA Mountain Regional Tournament.
They also garnered All-Mountain West honors. For the fourth time in her career, Synkova was selected All-MW in doubles and is the only Cowgirl to achieve that honor in school history. Popovici earned All-MW honors in doubles for the second year in a row. Both student-athletes were selected to the All-Mountain West singles team. It was the second time for Synkova and the third for Popovici, which was also a school record.
For the fifth straight year, the Cowgirl tennis team reached double-figure victories with an 11-8 mark overall while finishing with a 4-1 record in league play during the 2013-14 season. Two Cowgirls earned All-Mountain West honors for the third time in Clower's head coaching tenure. Veronica Popovici was selected in singles for the fourth straight year and is the first Cowgirl to achieve that honor in school history. She and doubles partner Dorottya Jonas were named to the All-MW team in doubles. Its the first such honor for Jonas and the third for Popovici.
Clower came to Wyoming after two seasons as an assistant coach at Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas). His duties included assisting with practice sessions, on the court training of both singles and doubles teams, creating and maintaining data bases for prospective players, along with ensuring compliance with recruitment regulations. Prior to that, he spent one season as a volunteer assistant with the program and as an adjunct professor for kinesiology.
He also worked as an assistant teaching pro at The Greens Country Club in Oklahoma City (2002, 2004, 2007). Clower trained juniors players and was responsible for tournament travel and preparation for competition, while providing private and group lessons to juniors and adults. Prior to that, he worked at the Indian Springs Country Club in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Clower began his collegiate career as a student-athlete at Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kan. He was a two-year team captain and was ranked fifth in the nation in doubles as a freshman and sophomore. Clower then moved on to a two-year career at Lamar University. He finished with a season-best 14-7 record in singles play and 9-9 in doubles at the number one spot as a junior. During his senior season, he posted a 9-10 overall record, 12-6 in doubles-play and a 48th ranking in NCAA Division I. He became the first player in school history to accomplish that feat.
A native of Broken Arrow, Okla., Clower earned a bachelor's of arts degree in general studies with a minor in history and kinesiology from Lamar University in 2006. He and his wife, Amanda, who is an assistant coach with the UW Track and Field Team, have a daughter, Riley and son, Weston.