Head coach Stella Sampras Webster enters her 20th season at the helm of the UCLA women’s tennis program in 2015, compiling an impressive overall record of 368-136 (.730). Sampras Webster is only the third head coach in UCLA women’s tennis history, following legendary coaches Bill Zaima (1972-76 & 1986-96) and Gayle Godwin (1977-86).
Sampras Webster recently guided the program to its second NCAA Championship in the last seven years, as the Bruins captured the 2014 NCAA title in Athens, Georgia with a thrilling 4-3 victory over North Carolina in the final. It marked the 111th NCAA Championship for UCLA, as the Bruins finished the 2014 campaign with a 27-2 overall record, which included a 9-1 mark in the highly-competitive Pac-12 Conference. UCLA did not surrender the doubles point in any match last year, going a perfect 29-0 in doubles play. The 2014 season marked the second NCAA Championship for Sampras Webster, as she also led UCLA to the title in 2008. UCLA’s 2008 title was the first NCAA Championship for the program, following up on the team’s 1981 AIAW national crown.
The 2012 ITA National Coach of the Year, Stella Sampras Webster is also responsible for helping the Bruins to their first Pac-10 Championship in 2008, as UCLA ended the conference season with a 7-1 record that year. For her efforts, she was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year at the end of the season.
Few college coaches can match Sampras Webster’s ability to continually put their teams in the title hunt year in and year out. Prior to her first title in 2008, she also had a pair of second-place finishes at the NCAAs in 2004 and 2007. In all, Sampras Webster’s teams have finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships in 17 of her 18 seasons in Westwood. UCLA has also finished in the top 5 nationally on 12 occasions (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
The 2000 ITA West Region Coach of the Year, Sampras Webster has recruited and coached some of the top players in collegiate tennis. Under her tutelage, a total of 25 players have achieved All-America status. Two of the most notable during Sampras Webster’s tenure are Riza Zalameda and Robin Anderson. Zalameda was a four-time All-American and the Most Outstanding Player at the 2008 NCAA Championships. She and partner Tracy Lin captured the NCAA Doubles title in 2008, marking the second UCLA team to capture the doubles title under Sampras Webster’s tenure. Lauren Fisher and Daniela Bercek also won the title in 2004. Anderson, who like Zalameda was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAAs in 2014, is heading into her senior season on pace to become a four-time All-American in both singles and doubles.
A 1991 graduate of UCLA with a degree in Psychology, Sampras Webster 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 Webster was also the NCAA doubles runner-up as a senior in 1991 with Kimberly Po. A four-time All-American, Sampras Webster 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 Webster completed her UCLA career ranked No. 3 nationally in doubles and No. 42 in singles. Team accomplishments were most important to Sampras Webster, who helped lead the Bruins to four straight NCAA top-three finishes.
As a professional, Sampras Webster’s highest international singles ranking was No. 248, and her best in doubles was No. 142. 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 Webster 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 Webster 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 won a record 14 Grand Slam singles titles during his playing days, including seven Wimbledon championships.
Sampras Webster and her husband, Steve, were married on January 3, 2002 in Dana Point, Calif. They are the proud parents of twin girls Sophia and Savannah.