Women's tennis team loses to nationally-ranked team
Grizzlies play three matches in three days
Texas native nabs honors after dominant weekend
Women's tennis team improves to 3-2
Women's tennis team improves to 2-2
Montana vs. Lewis-Clark State (2/15/14)
Montana vs. Washington State (1/31/14)
Women's tennis photo gallery :: Southern Utah, Idaho State
Montana vs. Weber State (4/6/13)
Meet the Griz :: 2012-13 women's tennis photo day
The 2013-14 season is Steve Ascher's sixth year as head women's tennis coach at the University of Montana. Ascher, the 2012 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, was hired in the summer of 2008.
Ascher is a believer in former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden's aphorism that turning a program into a champion requires four steps: lose big, lose close, win close, win big.
It could be argued that Ascher and Montana ignored step one completely. In his first season Ascher led the Grizzlies to a record of 8-13 and a spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament.
In the four years since, Montana has gone 10-12, 11-12, 14-8 and 15-8, all while playing an increasingly competitive nonconference schedule. During that time, the Grizzlies have gone 27-7 in Big Sky Conference matches, with a 9-1 league record in 2013.
Montana has made the Big Sky Conference tournament each season under Ascher. The Grizzlies' back-to-back appearances in the championship match in 2012 and '13 were the first time making the title match in program history.
The 2012-13 season was one of the best in program history. A successful fall season resulted in Heather Davidson and Laurence Pelchat earning a No. 10 doubles spot in the ITA Mountain Region rankings and Haley Driver receiving a No. 18 singles ranking.
Montana opened its spring season with a near upset of No. 41 Minnesota on the road and closed it with seven straight wins leading up to the Grizzlies' loss to Sacramento State in the Big Sky tournament championship match.
All five Grizzlies who played both singles and doubles during the spring season were recognized after the season, with Davidson and Precious Gbadamosi earning first-team Big Sky Conference honors. Sasha Carter was named second team, Driver and Pelchat honorable mention.
Following the season, Montana was voted No. 10 in the ITA Mountain Region, and Davidson and Pelchat repeated their No. 10 doubles ranking from the January poll.
In five seasons Ascher has coached eight first-team All-Big Sky selections, three second-teamers and four honorable mentions, and seen his players receive 16 Big Sky Conference player of the week accolades.
Ascher's teams have posted a 3.1 GPA or better in nine of his 10 semesters on campus, and his players have 17 times been named Academic All-Big Sky Conference.
Prior to taking the job at Montana, Ascher spent two years at Portland State, where he coached both the men's and women's teams. Ascher was hired by PSU in the summer of 2006 to rebuild a Viking tennis program that had been eliminated for budget purposes in 2002.
Born and raised in Portland, Ascher played collegiately at the University of Portland, from which he graduated with a degree in psychology in 1996.
After starting his coaching career as an assistant with the Pilots in 1997-98, Ascher moved on to assistant coaching positions at Millersville (Pa.) (1998-2000) and Davidson (N.C.) (2000-01).
The women's program at Millersville advanced to the round of 16 at both the 1999 and 2000 NCAA Division II national tournaments.
Ascher returned to the Pacific Northwest after one season at Davidson, once again taking an assistant position at Portland.
Ascher, who earned a master's degree in clinical psychology from Millersville in 2003, worked as a school psychologist for the Portland Public School District for two years (2004-06) before restarting the Portland State program.
Ascher and his wife, Shelbi, have two daughters, Adalynn and Eliza. Shelbi played collegiate soccer for UC San Diego from 1995 to 1998 and was part of three NCAA Division III national championship teams.
Ascher's Coaching Resume
Ascher at Montana
02/27/2014 - W. Tennis
02/18/2014 - W. Tennis
02/15/2014 - W. Tennis
02/15/2014 - W. Tennis
02/12/2014 - W. Tennis
02/09/2014 - W. Tennis
02/07/2014 - W. Tennis
02/02/2014 - W. Tennis
01/31/2014 - W. Tennis
01/29/2014 - W. Tennis
Official Griz Gear