Michael Sell, assistant coach of the United States men’s and women’s squad at the 2012 Olympic Games and former coach of the top American player in the world, John Isner, enters his sixth season as the co-head coach of the LSU women’s tennis team and seventh with the program.
Michael Sell, who served on the women’s tennis staff as a volunteer assistant coach for three seasons, joined his wife full-time in August 2015 to continue the program’s impressive upward momentum since Julia Sell was hired in 2012.
With Michael Sell as Co-Head coach, the LSU women’s tennis team reached record breaking heights in the short six-year tenure with Team Rankings, National Recruiting and National Championships.
Specifically, in 2016, the Tigers broke the record for the highest team ranking in school history when they broke into the Top 10 for the first time ever at No. 9 to shatter the previous record and reached the Top 10 again in 2021 at No. 9.
In 2017, the duo hauled in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country according to tennisrecruiting.net and followed that up with #5 in 2018, #5 in 2019, and #10 in 2019.
In 2020, LSU reached No. 12 in the National Tam Rankings.
In 2021, LSU earned their highest Team Season-Ending ranking at #17 and earned their highest SEC finish Tied-3 in the Conference. Paris Corley made the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals and earned All-American honors, making her the 13th different All-American (6th All-American player of the Sell’s tenure).
In other notable results…
- In 2016, Joana Valle Costa and Jessica Golovin qualified for NCAA Singles Championships to become the first pair of teammates to reach the postseason event in the same season.
- In 2017, Jade Lewis earned the highest-ranked win since 2008 and the highest-ranked win by a freshman in school history when she defeated No. 4 Astra Sharma in the Tigers’ SEC Tournament quarterfinal match against Vanderbilt. She later earned ITA Singles All-American, All-SEC First Team, SEC Freshman of the Year, and ITA Rookie of the Year.
- Lewis and Valle Costa, along with the doubles pairing of Valle Costa and Ryann Foster , marked the first time in program history that three players from the same team qualified for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
- The first time in program history that three players from the same team earned All-American honors as Valle Costa and Lewis were named ITA Singles All-Americans and Valle Costa and Foster were named ITA Doubles All-Americans.
- Freshmen Eden Richardson had one of the most dominant debut seasons in program history, earning First-Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors, ITA Rookie of the Year honors and Louisiana Player and Freshman of the Year honors, while recording the highest regular season winning percentage in the conference and competing in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
- In 2019 the Tigers reached their 6th consecutive SEC Tournament quarterfinals and a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. As a team, the Tigers ranked as high as No. 12 in the ITA/Oracle team rankings, and remained in the Top 25 for nine consecutive weeks.
- Individually, sophomore Eden Richardson earned a win over the ITA No. 1 player and eventual ITA Player of the Year, Katarina Jokic of Georgia. Richardson’s win over Jokic was only the second time in program history that a Tiger has beaten a No. 1-ranked player, and first since 2008. Richardson rose as high as No. 8 in the ITA singles rankings, becoming only the third Tiger in program history to reach the Top 10.
Michael Sell served as the Lead National coach for the U.S. Tennis Association Player Development (USTA) coaching staff from January of 2003 until August of 2012. During that stretch, he developed & coached a number of America’s Top Juniors players who are now Top 50 Professionals, like Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul while assisting professionals, including Serena Williams, Mardy Fish, and Donald Young.
Prior to his service at USTA, he served for two years as former World No. 1 Monica Seles’ personal coach. Seles won five titles and reached three other finals under his tutelage.
Michael Sell played professionally on the ATP World Pro Tour for five years and reached career highs of No. 136 in singles and No. 83 in doubles. He won three singles and eleven doubles Challengers Events on the USTA Pro Circuit for 14 total titles and recorded wins over a number of Top 50 players. Sell was also named as a practice partner for the 1998 U.S. Davis Cup team.
Michael Sell was a four-year All-American in singles at the University of Georgia from 1992-95. He was ranked as highly as No. 6 in the nation at one point during his collegiate career. In 1994, he received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.