WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the governing body of collegiate tennis in the United States, has honored Whitman College men's coach Jeff Northam as its NCAA Div. III West Region Coach of the Year.
Northam, who recently completed his 10th season at Whitman, was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in late April after his freshman-dominated team won a conference title. Whitman finished with records of 15-7 overall and 12-1 in the NWC, losing to Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) in the opening round of the NCAA Div. III national playoffs
Ranked as high as No. 15 nationally during the spring, Whitman finished the academic year with a No. 19 ranking. All but one player from this year's roster returns next fall.
Northam, a Whitman graduate, played on three consecutive NWC title teams in the 1980s. After graduating in 1988, Northam was an admission officer at Whitman for three years, and he worked as Director of Tennis at the Walla Walla Country Club from 1991 to 1994. He was the part-time men's tennis coach at Whitman in 1990 and again in 1993 and 1994.
While completing a master's degree (Exercise and Sports Studies) in the mid-1990s at Boise State University, Northam was as an assistant tennis coach for the Broncos for two seasons. He was the men's and women's tennis coach at Montana State-Bozeman for one season, before returning to Whitman in the fall of 1997 as director of tennis and full-time men's coach. Since then, he has led his men's teams to an impressive win-loss record of 74-23 against conference opponents.
In addition to coaching and teaching at Whitman, Northam has been active in a number of collegiate and professional tennis associations. Last fall, he organized and directed the ITA's Pacific Northwest regional tournament for women. Earlier this decade, he organized and hosted the first two NCAA Div. III National Indoor Tournaments for men.
In each of the past four years, Northam has hosted the annual conference of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association's Pacific Northwest chapter. Last summer, he ran a pilot program for the U.S. Tennis Association in which young multicultural tennis players from around the nation came to Whitman for a weekend of tennis and college exploration. He is continuing the program this summer.
Northam has been active in the USPTA's regional chapter for more than a decade. He served as treasurer from 1991 to 1995, and he was named the region's Professional of the Year in 1993 and again in 2001.