MANHATTAN, Kan. – After 30 years of service to Kansas State tennis, head coach Steve Bietau announced today that he is retiring effective at the end of the season.
"Kansas State University and K-State Tennis have been our family's lifeblood for 30 years, and after thorough reflection and discussion with my wife I have decided that it is time to step away," Bietau said. "To help facilitate the next steps and to ensure a smooth transition, I will be stepping away from the program as of today.
"I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished over the last three decades, culminating with the construction of our beautiful new tennis facility. We built this program from the ground up and turned it into one that has been competitive both in the Big 12 Conference and nationally. The time is right for this program to have new leadership, and I am looking forward to starting this new phase of my life and watching the continued development of the program."
Assistant coach Liz Ullathorne will lead the program for the remainder of the season, Athletics Director John Currie said. A national search for a new coach will be conducted later this spring.
Bietau entered his 30th season at the helm of the K-State women’s tennis program in 2013-14 and is the second-longest tenured coach in school history, trailing only legendary track and field head coach Ward Haylett on the longevity list (34 years).
Bietau, the 1989 Big Eight and 2000 Big 12 Coach of the Year and 1990 and 1996 ITA Central Region Coach of the Year, is the all-time wins leader in women’s tennis at K-State with a record of 270-354. In his previous 29 seasons, Bietau mentored three Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Americans, guided the Wildcats to three NCAA Tournament appearances (1996, 1998 and 2003), including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2003, five Big 12 singles champions, five Big 12 doubles champions, 15 All-Big 12 honorees and 37 Academic All-Big 12 selections. Four of Bietau’s players reached the NCAA Tournament in singles a total of eight times while two doubles teams have reached the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to his coaching duties, Bietau served as a member of the ITA's Board of Directors as well as being the ITA Central Region Chair from 1992-97. He was also a member of the NCAA Women's Tennis Committee from 1992-96 and served as chair of the committee in 1997.
"We are very appreciative of Coach Bietau's three decades of service to Kansas State as he worked tirelessly to build our tennis program," Currie said. "His hard work, patience and dedication helped navigate our program through some difficult times and lead to the realization of the new Mike Goss Tennis Stadium and has positioned us for continued development and success."
posted by J.B. Bauersfeld