Manuel Diaz won his 500th career match Sunday as the ninth-ranked Bulldogs held off No. 27 Vanderbilt, 4-3, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Diaz is the sixth Georgia coach in any sport to reach 500 wins:
(women's basketball), 748; Dan Magill (men's tennis), 706;
(women's tennis), 534; Steve Webber (baseball), 500;
(men's tennis), 500.
With the match tied at 3-3, Georgia senior
came through at No. 3 with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over Vijay Paul. He clinched the Bulldogs’ 49th win in their last 51 SEC regular season meets.
“Our guys fought their hearts out,” Diaz said. “Vanderbilt played a great match. We fought hard coming off that five-hour marathon against Kentucky on Friday. We were challenged emotionally and physically, and Vanderbilt is becoming a great program. They came in and put themselves in position to win. Still, we won another match and that is the important thing.”
Georgia (12-2, 4-0 SEC) won its seventh straight match and extended its home winning streak to 71 matches dating back to 2005. The Bulldogs are only five wins from tying the school record 76-match home winning streak that ended in 1972.
Diaz is now 500-102 in his 22nd season as head coach. Since his first year in 1989, he has guided the Bulldogs to four NCAA team titles and 13 appearances in the Final Four. Diaz has led Georgia to a total of 19 SEC titles: 12 regular season titles and seven tournament championships.
“It means I’m getting old, that’s about it,” Diaz said. “It’s something I wasn’t aware of until two or three matches ago. Our guys are coming together as a team this year, and I’m looking forward to the future.”