Basham takes over Westmont tennis program

Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell has announced the hiring of Santa Barbara resident Mark Basham as Director of Tennis and head coach of men’s tennis.

“I’m very excited about the formidable experience and many gifts that Mark brings to our tennis program,” said Odell. “A former ATP tour player, All-American at UCLA and key member of UCLA’s national championship teams, he has competed at the highest levels of both singles and doubles and certainly understands what it takes to become a champion.  

“In addition, Mark is a community stalwart who is eager to engage the community in his vision for excellence.  His leadership comes at a pivotal time for our tennis programs.  With the competition getting tougher each year, I trust in Mark’s ability to recruit and train players who share our common desire to launch Westmont Tennis into national prominence.  This is a great day for Westmont Tennis.”

“I am excited for this opportunity,” said Basham. “I have been involved with tennis for many years and I hope to draw from that experience in this new role to address a lot of different things including strategy, the psychology of the game, and motivation.”

Basham, who grew up in Santa Barbara, played tennis as a Santa Barbara High School student under Coach Jack Trigueiro. 

“We had very good teams,” said Basham of his prep career. “In my freshman year we had four nationally ranked players and reached the CIF finals.”

In the fall of 1981, Basham journeyed south to attend UCLA where he played tennis for Glenn Bassett. The Bruins advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of Basham’s four years, claiming the title of national champion in his freshman and junior seasons.

“The highlight for me at UCLA was in my junior year when we beat Stanford in the finals 5-4,” said Basham. “It came down to the number one doubles match in which I was playing. That was very exciting.”

After graduation from UCLA, Basham played on the professional circuit for two and one-half years.

“I like to tell people I got into the dance,” said Basham. “I got to play Wimbledon and the US Open and the French Open and a lot of big tournaments in doubles that were in the United States.”

Since 1998, Basham has been teaching tennis in Santa Barbara. Currently the Director of Tennis at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, Basham has also served as the Director of Tennis at the Birnam Wood Golf Club and taught at Knollwood Tennis Club.

“One of my best experiences in teaching tennis was in coaching the USTA Team Zonal Championships,” said Basham. “I coached five boys and five girls each time who were from ages of 14-16. I really loved that experience and the opportunity to show patience and compassion for their level of competition, but also try to motivate them and get them to play better – the best that they could play.”

In his new role, Basham anticipates utilizing his connection with the Santa Barbara community to promote Westmont Tennis.

“I know so many people who are heavily involved in tennis in Santa Barbara which includes Westmont past players and supporters,” said Basham. “I enjoy the thought of sharing my vision for Westmont Tennis with those I have come to know in this community.”

“This is certainly a transition for the team and I want them to know that I am excited for this opportunity,” said Basham. “I am going to spend time in the coming six to eight months getting to know what has been done with the men’s and women’s programs through the years – how they have been run, what have been their greatest strengths, and what are some areas that can be improved upon. I respect where Westmont has been with its tennis and hope to help take it to the next level.”

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