A season to remember ends in defeat for a historic Oklahoma tennis team


I am not much of a tennis guy. I’m not jumping out of my seat for Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. However, it’s hard not to root for your school.

The Oklahoma Sooners men’s tennis team has never been a true powerhouse. No tennis team representing the University of Oklahoma has ever been to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

However, something magical happened in 2014.

John Roddick, you might know his little brother Andy, took over as the head coach at Oklahoma. He just wrapped up his fifth season with the program, and Roddick has gradually gained respect nationally for his brilliant coaching.

Oklahoma’s tennis team entered the 2014 NCAA Tournament as the Big 12 regular and post-season champions. They earned the second seed in the field, and just like in college football, one and two happened to meet in the National Championship match.

Oklahoma and Southern California.

Two teams that have history on the gridiron met on a different stage—the 2014 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Tennis National Championship, and wow, what a classic.

The top ranked USC Trojans rolled to the championship, crushing the likes of the Idaho Vandals, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Texas Longhorns, Columbia Lions, and Virginia Cavaliers.

OU did not find much trouble with their competition until the later rounds. The Sooners fought their way past the North Carolina Tar Heels and needed a little magic to fend off a feisty UCLA Bruins team.

The Sooners had never been to a Final Four before in men’s tennis, but there they were. Oklahoma knocked off the sixth-seed Bruins and found themselves in the biggest tennis match in program history.

A national title looked promising. Oklahoma won the point at doubles with little difficulty, giving them a 1-0 edge heading in to the six singles matches. OU just needed three wins, and they could leave Athens, Georgia with a trophy no Oklahoma player had ever touched.

USC, on the other hand, was very familiar with winning championships. Oklahoma learned why USC wins so often.

Dane Webb, a 6’4″ junior, made quick work of his Trojan opponent. Webb’s victory put the Sooners up 2-0, which meant two more wins to secure their first ever National Championship.

Unfortunately for the Sooners, Webb’s successful day in Athens could not carry over to the rest of the team. Southern Cal battled back and took the next four matches, ending all hope of a coveted NCAA crown for the boys in crimson.

While the outcome was not the one Oklahoma had hoped for, this season was not a disappointment by any means.

What Oklahoma’s accomplished in such a short time under John Roddick is simply amazing. They are national contenders competing at the highest level of collegiate tennis.

They did not just lose to any slack Division 1 program, they lost to one of the best and most storied programs. And while Oklahoma had to be excited to be in such a position to compete for a title, the experience of USC shined through on a sad and unforgettable day for Oklahomans.

A national title was not won. The men’s tennis team headed home with a runner-up trophy. However, they gave fans something to believe in.

For a few hours, the OU men’s tennis team distracted a lot of people who are not familiar with the sport. Their effort and passion was apparent as they fought through a lot to get to the final match.

Next season, Oklahoma brings back their entire cast except for two seniors. And a loss to USC on the biggest stage should be burned in to everyone’s memory.

This is a team to cherish. A team that will go down in history in Norman. They accomplished what no other OU tennis team has done before, however, I have a feeling they will be re-writing the record books soon.

Congratulations to the USC Trojans. However, the country has not seen the last of Oklahoma Tennis.