Stella Sampras enters her seventh season as the head coach of the UCLA women’s tennis program with a career record of 96-58 (.623). Sampras became only the third head coach in UCLA women’s tennis history when she was named the successor to longtime head coach Bill Zaima, who announced his retirement effective the end of the 1995-96 season.
In her first six seasons at UCLA, Sampras guided the Bruins to five top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including three top-5 showings (1997, 2000 and 2002). In addition, UCLA has reached the NCAA Quarterfinals twice in the last three years (2000 and 2002). Under her tutelage, the Bruins have finished in the top-10 nationally, five out of six years. In 2000, Sampras was named the ITA West Region Coach of the Year.
A 1991 graduate of UCLA with a degree in Psychology, Sampras enjoyed a successful four-year career as a Bruin player from 1987-91 and competed on the pro circuit for a season prior to joining Zaima’s staff. An NCAA Doubles Champion as a freshman in 1988 with Allyson Cooper, Sampras was also the NCAA doubles runner-up as a senior in 1991 with Kimberly Po. A four-time All-American, Sampras was only the second player in UCLA history to obtain this status. She also won the 1989 and ’91 Pac-10 doubles championship and the 1990 Rolex Regional doubles title. Sampras completed her UCLA career ranked No. 3 nationally in doubles and No. 42 in singles. Team accomplishments were most important to Sampras, who helped lead the Bruins to four straight NCAA Top-3 finishes.
As a professional, Sampras’ highest international singles ranking was No. 250, and her best in doubles was No. 130. Her professional highlights include competing in both singles and doubles at the U.S. Open and Lipton Championships. She advanced to the U.S. Open second round in doubles and also competed in doubles at Wimbledon. She also won three satellite tournament titles and competed in Team Tennis for the Wichita Advantage in 1992.
Born in Potomac, Md., Sampras moved to the Los Angeles area as a child and graduated from Palos Verdes High School. A top-three player in Southern California and among the top-10 in the country as a junior, Sampras claimed the CIF doubles title as a freshman and the singles title as a senior in 1987. She capped her high school career by being named her school’s Athlete of the Year.
The second-oldest of four children of Sam and Georgia Sampras, Stella considers the support of her entire family most significant. Younger brother Pete demonstrated his level of support for Stella and the Bruin program when he personally endowed a scholarship and assisted with the important fund-raising effort in Stella’s first fall at the helm. Pete has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, including seven of the last nine at Wimbledon.
Sampras and her husband Steve Webster were married on Jan. 3, 2003 in Dana Point, Calif.