Legendary UCLA men’s tennis head coach Glenn Bassett, who guided the Bruins to seven NCAA team championships as head coach, passed away Tuesday at the age of 93.
Bassett held a career record of 592-92-2 over 27 seasons (1967-93) as UCLA head coach. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest men’s tennis head coach, by percentage (.864), in NCAA Division I history. Bassett was also the first individual to collect NCAA tennis team championships as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach – all at UCLA.
“It’s a sad day for the Bruin family to have lost Glenn Bassett,” said UCLA head men’s tennis coach Billy Martin, who served as an assistant coach under Bassett for 10 years before assuming his current role. “I was so fortunate to have played for him, worked under him, and succeeded him. I feel very fortunate to have had such a great mentor. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met and the biggest Bruin fan I’ve known. We’ll miss him dearly.”
A co-captain under head coach Bill Ackerman, Bassett helped UCLA to its first-ever NCAA championship as a player in 1950. He went on to serve as an assistant coach under JD Morgan and was part of five more team titles in that role. Bassett began his head coaching career at Santa Monica High School, where he guided his alma mater to five CIF-SS (Southern Section) large-school crowns in a row (1962-66) before succeeding Morgan.
In addition to the seven NCAA championships (1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1984), Bassett’s teams won 13 Pac-8/10 titles. Three NCAA singles champions (Jeff Borowiak in 1970, Jimmy Connors in 1971 and Martin in 1975) and four NCAA doubles champions (Haroon Rahim/Borowiak in 1971, Peter Fleming/Ferdi Taygan in 1976, John Austin/Bruce Nichols in 1978, and Patrick Galbraith/Brian Garrow in 1988) also reigned during his tenure. Four-time honorees Marcel Freeman, Ferdi Taygan, and Brian Teacher were among the 49 All-Americans coached by Bassett, who also worked with national champions Arthur Ashe and Ian Crookenden and 1992 Olympian Mark Knowles. Bassett was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame in 1993 and the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.
After retiring from UCLA, Bassett spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Pepperdine before taking the reins as head coach one final time for the Waves in 1996. He remained a supporter of the Bruin program during his retirement, attending home matches at Los Angeles Tennis Center. Bassett resided in Laguna Hills, Calif.
Bassett is survived by his daughter, Cindy, who resides in Ojai, California, and grandson, Shane McAlister, who lives in Orange County with his wife, Ali, and their three children.