PALATINE HILL -- Two-time West Region assistant coach of the year Jimmy Chau is the new head coach of the Lewis & Clark Pioneers. Following his 13th season as an assistant for his alma mater, Chau will lead both of Lewis & Clark's nationally-ranked programs.
Chau was announced as the new head coach on Friday by Director of Physical Education and Athletics Shana Levine.
"To say this is an unbelievable opportunity would be an understatement," said Chau, who competed for the Pioneers in the early 2000s. "The connections I have made being an undergraduate and an assistant coach will further be strengthened as I look to connect past, present and future Pioneers to the opportunities and resources that Lewis & Clark has to offer."
"Jimmy has been critical to the success of our tennis programs and I'm excited for both to flourish with him leading the way," said Levine. "Jimmy has been a true representation of Pioneers athletics for nearly 20 years. He is a tremendous strength for the entire Lewis & Clark community and our department as we pursue Building Champions."
Since 2005, Chau has been a member of the Lewis & Clark coaching staff and helped the Pioneers ascend into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings. Last season, both the men's and women's programs were ranked in the top 30 and neither has finished a regular season outside of the rankings since the 2014-15 academic year.
Chau replaces Patrick Dreves who accepted a position with the United States Tennis Association in May.
"First off, I would like to thank Shana Levine for giving me this opportunity and hope to add to our department's commitment to the Building Champions philosophy," said Chau. "I am also forever indebted to the coaches that I was lucky enough to have played for and worked for, Gundars Tilmanis and Dreves, who have instilled in me the values of resilience, growth and family that will guide me in this new venture.
"I feel that our athletics department is on the rise as we continue to improve our facilities and add coaches and student-athletes who are motivated to take Lewis & Clark to the top. Our tennis program, in particular, has grown tremendously on the national scene recently and I look to continue to build upon that momentum."
At the end of the 2018 season, Chau was named the West Region tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year for men's tennis, his second time earning the distinction. He was also selected in 2015. This past season, the Lewis & Clark men's program qualified for the NWC Championship final for the second straight year and had the Joe Huston Male Athlete of the Year award winners, Brenden Barrows and Gordon Barrows. The year before, the Pios ended Whitman's nearly decade-long NWC undefeated streak.
During the 2016 season, the Pioneers women won the team's first NWC championship since 1979 and qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships. Additionally, at least one individual qualified for nationals in 2015 and 2017. Lewis & Clark was ranked 18th nationally in both 2016 and 2017.
Since the ELCYS began in 2016, Lewis & Clark's annual postseason awards program, a tennis program has earned the Team of the Year award each year. The women were chosen at the inaugural ceremony followed by back-to-back honors for the men in 2017 and 2018.
Growing up in Portland, Chau was a three-year varsity competitor for the Pioneers and was named captain and most valuable player during his senior season in 2001. He was selected as an ITA Scholar-Athlete All-American while playing for the Pioneers and graduated with Delta Mu Delta honors in Business and Economics.