Although the season didn’t quite end the way they had hoped, or how any of us had hoped, the UCLA women’s tennis team had an incredibly successful, albeit short, 2019-20 season. On the backs of a 12-1 (2-0) record before the season was cancelled and after what was her 24th season at the helm of the Bruins, head coach Stella Sampras Webster was recently featured by the United States Tennis Association.
In a candid conversation, Sampras Webster answered questions from what got her into coaching tennis at an early age to what a day in her life looks like as the head coach at UCLA.
She has led the Bruins to two national titles in her time as the head coach, in 2008 and again in 2014. She was an All-American on the court herself for the Bruins, on four occasions to be exact during her 1987-91 playing career. She won the 1988 NCAA doubles title and finished runner-up in 1991.
Her success wasn’t quite finished on the court, however, as she also won the 2012 ITA National Coach of the Year with UCLA.
She’s forged her own legacy in what could only be seen as one of tennis’ most famous families. And as she put it in the interview, she’s forged her own legacy on her own.
“I earned a spot to play at UCLA, and I didn’t get it because I was (Pete’s) sister,” Sampras Webster said. “Even my position (as head coach), I felt like it was my own place.”
“The whole UCLA thing felt very separate and felt like my own thing versus him being part of it, and I felt good about that.”
Cheers to you, Stella. We hope you keep earning those W’s on and off the court, especially when the women return to the court this fall!
Celebrating Women’s History Month, the full Stella Sampras Webster interview with the USTA can be found here.