Miha Lisac, a former player and men's assistant coach at Georgia State, begins his sixth season as head coach of the women's tennis program at his alma mater.
Lisac, the 2009 CAA Coach of the Year, took over the head coaching position in the summer of 2007 after serving as the men's assistant coach from 2005-07. He saw the opportunity to lead the program as "a chance to give back to the school and the community that helped to raise me." Lisac has been associated with Georgia State tennis for more than a decade as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach.
In five seasons at the helm, Lisac has led the women's tennis program to one conference title, back-to-back CAA Championship finals appearances and two other berths in the CAA Championship semifinals. His overall record stands at 55-38. The highlight of his tenure came in 2009, when he guided Georgia State to the first NCAA appearance in school history and was named CAA Coach of the Year.
Last year was a benchmark year in the Georgia State women's tennis program. Abigail Tere-Apisah became the school's first-ever tennis All-American after advancing to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship. Tere-Apisah also took home CAA Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Performer honors. Whitney Byrd and Maryna Kozachenko became just the second pair in Lisac's tenure to earn All-CAA First Team Doubles honors. The team advanced to its second-straight CAA finals and earned its highest ITA Ranking in school history (#38 on Feb. 25, 2012). The team finished the season ranked in the ITA National Team Rankings for a third consecutive year after defeating three nationally-ranked opponents. By finishing in the Top 75, GSU earned a bid to the ITA Kick-Off Weekend National Indoor Tournament for the second-consecutive year. The Panthers earned a victory over its highest ranked opponent in school history with a 4-3 upset at No. 37-ranked USF during the 2012 season.
In 2010-11, the Panthers achieved a No. 55 ranking to finish the season to earn a spot at the national indoor tournament in the spring. The tournament takes the top 64 teams in the nation. GSU enjoyed an outstanding season, advancing to the CAA Championship finals and earning a 15-4 overall record, including an 8-2 mark on the road. The Panthers earned the No. 3 seed in the CAA Championships, opening with a 4-0 win over Delaware. The team then upset No. 35 VCU, 4-2, in the semifinals. The Panthers won the doubles point in the finals against William & Mary, but fell 4-2. Abigail Tere-Apisah was named CAA Championship Most Outstanding Performer after going undefeated at No. 1 singles. It makred the second time a Georgia State women's tennis player received the award, following Martina Ondrackova in 2009.
In Lisac's third season as head coach, the team reached the semifinal round of the CAA tournament for the third straight year while producing two all-CAA athletes in Diana Nakic (first team singles, second team doubles), and Linda Hricistova (second team doubles). Nakic was named CAA Co-Player of the Year after a season in which she went a perfect 17-0 in singles in dual match play, and she was selected for the NCAA Singles Championship.
In 2009, Lisac presided over one of the most successful women's tennis campaign in Georgia State history as the Panthers captured their first conference title to reach the NCAA Championships for the first time ever. GSU posted an 11-5 record and finished the year with a national ranking of No. 47.
For his efforts, Lisac was honored as CAA Coach of the Year. Diana Nakic was named both Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the conference and was one of four Panthers on the All-CAA squad, along with Martina Nitkova (first team singles), Dariana Kozmina (second team singles) and Linda Hricistova (second team doubles). Nakic also became the first GSU female to earn selection to the NCAA Singles Championship.
In his head coaching debut in 2007-08, Lisac led the Panthers to an 11-9 dual match record and a berth in the semifinals of the CAA tournament. Three Panthers earned all-CAA honors in Dariana Kozmina, Martina Nitkova and Katerina Gresova.
Lisac's coaching style is one that is focuses on developing the total student-athlete that stresses the importance of achievement in the classroom as well as on the court. As a result, the women's tennis team has excelled in the classroom by consistently posting one of the top grade point averages among all GSU teams.
In two seasons, the women's tennis program posted the highest GPA among all GSU teams, including a 3.35 for the spring of 2010 and a 3.56 in the spring of 2009. In Lisac's three years, 14 Panthers have received the CAA Commissioner's Academic Award.
In back-to-back years, Women's tennis standouts Mateja Podgorsek (2008) and Martina Nitkova (2009) won Georgia State's High Five Award as the female student-athlete with the highest GPA. Podgorsek was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District second team in 2008, while Nitkova was honored as the 2009 CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's tennis.
Before moving to the head coaching position, Lisac worked under Nick Brochu, former head coach for the men's tennis squad, for two seasons. In 2007, Lisac helped guide the men's tennis team to its first league title as a member of the CAA and an NCAA berth. That year, Martin Steigwardt became the first Panther in history to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. The 2007 squad set the school record for dual match victories with a 19-5 mark and ended the season ranked No. 36 in the country.
Lisac, whose name is pronounced MEE-ha LEE-sots, was born and raised in Velenje in the European nation of Slovenia, where he was ranked among the country's top 10 juniors.
A 2005 graduate of Georgia State, Lisac lettered four years for the Panthers and was a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection and a four-time recipient of conference academic honors.
MIHA LISAC AS HEAD COACH
||NCAA Tournament appearance, CAA Champions, CAA Coach of the Year
||CAA Finals, ITA All-American (Abigail Tere-Apisah)
||Total at Georgia State