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UNC's Kalbas becomes fourth women's tennis coach ever to reach 700 career wins

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Head coach of UNC Women's Tennis Brian Kalbas celebrated his 700th career win on Sunday, March 20, 2022.

When it comes to the North Carolina women's tennis team's history of success, it’s hard to overlook one of its longtime constants — head coach Brian Kalbas.

In Sunday's 6-1 win against Boston College, Kalbas won his 700th game as a collegiate women’s tennis head coach.

He became the fourth Division I women’s tennis coach — and only one of two currently active coaches — to reach 700 victories, further earning his place in the pantheon of UNC's all-time coaching greats.

With a 17-0 record, UNC women's tennis has yet to be defeated this season. Last month, the No. 1 Tar Heels earned their third straight ITA National Team Indoor Championship.

On Sunday, though, the spotlight wasn't just set on that unbeatable roster, but also on the coach whose leadership has led to so many years of winning.

“I’ve learned that when you have really good players, you win a lot of matches,” Kalbas said. “That's been what's been going on for us here at Carolina. We've had really good players, really good people."

Senior Alle Sanford was in a tight third and final set in her court six match against Boston College's Stephanie Sanchez. Though Sanford lost the set, giving the Eagles their only point of the day, the energy the Tar Heels showed reflects the camaraderie that Kalbas consistently encourages among the team.

Sanford's teammates cheered her on the entire time, just as they do for every match. When the chips are down, everyone on the team gathers around the court to provide their unrelenting support — Kalbas included.

"We have such an environment that prioritizes enjoying the moment and enjoying the process," senior Cameron Morra said. "And I think him getting to his 700th win today shows how much that can impact a team."

After the match ended, the team donned shirts emblazoned with that inevitable number, 700, and picked up a full cooler of ice water, dousing their coach in a victory bath.

Before arriving at UNC, Kalbas served as the head coach for William & Mary, where he recorded the first 214 wins of his head coaching career. Now, after 19 seasons at North Carolina, he's made it clear that his success isn’t a coincidence.

From the seniors to the first-years, the greatness was recognized.

“He’s just the best of the best," first-year Carson Tanguilig said. "It's hard to put it into words."

This year, five of his players are within the top 30 ranked singles players in the nation. In his 30 years as a head coach for women’s tennis, Kalbas said he has always credited his success to his players while also emphasizing the importance of team unity.

The Tar Heels' strong mentality has given them the upper edge on multiple occasions this season. The team has dominated play from the start of the doubles matches, giving opponents no room for error later in the games.

"We all make each other better," Morra said. "I'm really appreciative to be a part of that type of environment. Competing with these girls every day at practice and getting to play next to each other for Carolina is something super special."

Despite this season's constant triumphs, the team has no room to rest. North Carolina will be facing Miami and Florida State later this week in Florida. With just a few weeks remaining in the regular season, the Tar Heels must be prepared to face whoever crosses their path.

And to hear Kalbas tell it, all he's looking at now is getting win number 701.

“We feel like we still have room to improve as we’re trying to figure out our outdoor identity,” he said.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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