Belen native Dils steps down as head of UNM men’s tennis
Former Belen High tennis player Alan Dils, who recently finished his 18th year as head coach of the University of New Mexico’s men’s tennis team, announced his retirement from UNM effective June 30 on Monday.
Dils will now will transition into a role in athletic development for the Lobos, with an emphasis on fund raising for the completion of the McKinnon Family Tennis Center, which will become UNM tennis’s home court.
Current UNM men’s assistant Bart Scott will take over for Dils in the interim. In several interviews, Dils cited the need to help care for his father, Tommy, as well as twin brother Loren as a reason for his retirement. Loren Dils was diagnosed with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2007.
“First I would like to thank Paul and Tim for working with me on this change,” said Dils in a press release. “It is not an easy decision to give up what you have done for the past 25 years, but it is important to be able to help my family more so now than ever.”
“I am excited to work on some new projects with UNM athletics and to be able to stay involved with the Lobos. I will always be a Lobo whether coaching, fund raising, or just watching from the sideline.”
Alan Dils was a two-time state champion with brother Loren in double tennis while at Belen High in 1983 and 1984.
Alan Dils began his college tennis career at UNM as a walk-on. In 1987, he and teammate Steve Bickham won the Western Athletic Conference doubles championship. In 1989, Dils was the WAC singles runner up. He played in the NCAA Championship Tournament in both of those seasons.
Dils moved into coaching at UNM after receiving his degree in business administration from the school in 1989.
He became an assistant coach for UNM soon after, serving under then head coach (and current UNM athletic department Chief Operating Officer) Tim Cass for seven seasons.
As an assistant, Dils helped the Lobos to five WAC titles and six NCAA Championship appearances, including a program-best No. 6 national ranking during the 1994-95 season.
When Cass moved on to Texas A&M in 1996, Dils took over as head man, with brother Loren as an assistant. In 18 years, Alan Dils amassed a record of 260-169 and was named Mountain West Coach of the Year five times, in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and this past season
In his time at UNM, Dils coached seven All-Americans, two as an assistant and five as a head coach.
Under Dils, the Lobos appeared in a school-record seven consecutive NCAA singles, doubles or team tournament appearances.
The Lobos have also made five NCAA team appearances (1997, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009) and sent seven singles players and five doubles pairs to compete in the the NCAA Tournament
With Dils as head coach, New Mexico has had more than 50 all-conference honors. Five Lobos were named to the singles/doubles All-MWC team for the 2002-03 season and in 2007-08, records for the most number of players on a postseason team.
Dils has coached four MWC freshmen of the year in Max Jones, Johnny Parkes, Jadon Phillips and Hayden Sabatka this past season.
The men’s tennis program also achieved its highest individual national ranking in January 2005 with David Kowalski and Ryan Stotland notching a No.3 ranking.
Academically, the Lobos have garnered seven ITA All-Academic awards and 38 ITA Scholar-Athlete awards. The program has also had 70 Mountain West All-Academic selections, 33 Mountain West Scholar-Athletes, and five Academic All-District Awards.
“This is an emotional and exciting time for Alan, all wrapped up in one,” said Tim Cass, Chief Operating Officer at UNM and the former head tennis coach at UNM when Dils was a student-athlete and an assistant. “Alan has had a tremendous amount of success in all phases; as a student-athlete, as an assistant, and as the head coach. What is really special is the respect that the program and Alan have gotten nationally from coaches across the country for the class manner in which he has run it.”