Liz LaPlante enters her 34th year as head coach of the Triton women's tennis team in 2012-13.
2012 was LaPlante's 12th year at the NCAA Division II level after 21 seasons during which she became the most successful coach in Division III women's tennis history. Her teams qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championships a total of 19 times, winning four national titles, finishing second on five other occasions. The Tritons also placed third nationally three times while at the D-III level.
During her 33 years on the La Jolla campus, LaPlante has amassed a .688 winning percentage with her 500-227 overall record. She has posted double-digit win totals in all but four of her 33 campaigns at the helm, and has notched winning seasons in all but three. Only three times in her career has she ever had a team with double-digit losses while recording 20 or more wins on five different occasions.
LaPlante earned her 500th-career victory as head coach of the Tritons in the season finale against Hawaii Hilo on April 22, when UCSD defeated UHH, 5-0.
Despite UCSD's conference winning streak being snapped at an amazing 65 wins with a loss to Cal Poly Pomona, the Tritons rebounded to defeat Cal State Stanislaus in the final match of the 2010 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) slate to capture their seventh-straight league title. UCSD finished the season with a No. 15 national ranking and earned the third seed in the West Region, advancing to the program's 30th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Despite the Tritons falling 5-1 in their May 6 return to Hawaii, the season-ending loss did not take away from the stellar campaign.
LaPlante was recognized as the 2009 CCAA Coach of the Year as well as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region Coach of the Year after leading the Tritons to their sixth-straight undefeated CCAA championship season. Under LaPlante's tutelage, UCSD recorded wins against Hawaii Pacific, Hawai'i-Hilo, No. 17 Florida Southern, No. 22 Cal State Stanislaus and No. 25 Delta State. LaPlante's coaching prowess helped the Tritons extend their CCAA winning streak to an amazing 59 games, as the team earned the second seed in the NCAA Division II West Region.
The 2008 season was another banner year for the women's tennis program as LaPlante guided the Tritons to their fifth-straight conference title. The team posted a 14-11 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in CCAA play. The undefeated league campaign ran the Tritons' win streak up to 50-straight in conference action, a streak that dates back to the final league match of the 2003 campaign.
LaPlante earned her fifth-straight CCAA Coach of the Year award while also placing five of her student-athletes on the All-CCAA Team.
In addition to the team's success during the regular season, LaPlante also guided her squad to the NCAA postseason for the 27th-straight season. The Tritons won their first round matchup, defeating Cal Poly Pomona by a 5-0 margin before traveling to BYU-Hawaii and losing in the second round by a 5-0 score.
In 2006, LaPlante directed her squad to a CCAA title and a 14-8 overall record. The Tritons advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament before being ousted by Hawaii-Hilo in a narrow 5-4 decision. UCSD placed four student-athletes on the All-CCAA teams while LaPlante earned CCAA Coach of the Year honors. Ina Dan was tabbed the CCAA Freshman of the Year.
The 2005 campaign marked the second-straight season that the Tritons went undefeated in conference play. The CCAA title led to another NCAA Championship appearance in which the Tritons won the West Regional at home and moved on to the round of 16 in Florida.
While in Florida, UCSD won its round of 16 match and advanced on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2002. The run through the NCAA brackets came to an end in their first match as the Tritons fell to Armstrong Atlantic State. The team ended the year with a 20-4 overall record, including LaPlante's 400th career win, its best mark since the 23-4 campaign in 2002.
2004 marked a season of firsts for the Tritons at the Division II level, going a perfect 8-0 in league play and winning their first CCAA championship. Coach LaPlante guided her squad to an 18-9 overall record and a final national ranking of No. 15 following her team's advancement to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2003, UCSD finished with an overall record of 17-6 and a final ITA national ranking of 19th. The Tritons were a near-perfect 7-1 in conference play, finishing as runner-up at the CCAA Championships for the third year in a row. Three Tritons were named All-CCAA. Following an opening-round win over Hawaii-Hilo, the Tritons lost to eventual repeat national champion BYU-Hawaii on the road in an NCAA second round match in Laie, Hawaii, to conclude the season.
LaPlante was honored as the NCAA Division III Coach of the Decade in 1991. She was also the 2000 ITA Division III Coach of the Year.
Since LaPlante took over the program in 1980, 29 Tritons have earned All-America honors.
LaPlante has served as a member of the Western Region Ranking Committee since 1981, and has also been on the ITA National Ranking Committee and the NCAA National Subcommittee, which governs the national championships for men's and women's tennis.
LaPlante graduated from San Diego State University in 1979 and played varsity tennis for three years as an undergraduate. Prior to that, she was one of the top junior players in San Diego County. LaPlante currently plays club tennis.