EL PASO, Texas - Director of Athletics Bob Stull named Myriam Sopel as UTEP's women's tennis head coach on Wednesday. Sopel succeeds Mark Roberts, who held the position from June 2012 to December 2013.
The native of Toulouse, France comes to the Sun City from the University of Idaho, as she will find herself in a familiar situation. She was hired as head coach at Idaho in December 2012 and immediately jumped into the spring season, where the Vandals recorded a 14-12 record and reached the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The Miners will begin the 2014 spring season on January 31 against McNeese State in San Antonio.
"I am very excited to be a part of the Miner family. UTEP is a prestigious institution with an incredible support system. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to fully demonstrate my skills and acquire more experience for my career as a Division I head coach," said Sopel. "I am honored to be working under the leadership of Bob Stull and Dr. Diana Natalicio, who have been having a tremendous influence on the growth of UTEP.
"I have a solid group of talents and I connect very well with my players. There is no doubt in my mind that we will build a strong team, get better every day, and achieve great results together. I am exciting to be competing in Conference USA. I look forward to working in partnership with [graduate assistant] Martina Trierweiler and starting the season in a couple of weeks. I got a chance to meet the entire athletic staff and members of the community during my visit. Everybody was extremely welcoming and instantly made me feel at home. I look forward to moving to UTEP and becoming a part of the El Paso community, which is a great environment to evolve in."
"We welcome Myriam to the UTEP family," said UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull. "She has accumulated some diverse experience at a young age. She played on a top-25 team at Indiana University and has already been a head coach at two Division I institutions, Wagner and Idaho. Last year she faced a similar situation to what she is in now at UTEP, joining Idaho at the start of the spring semester. Despite her late start, the Vandals were highly competitive in the Western Athletic Conference. We look forward to our tennis program continuing to grow under her leadership and ultimately contending for conference championships."
Two Vandals earned first team All-Western Athletic Conference honors at the No. 1 doubles position under Sopel's tutelage in 2013. Victoria Lozano and Almudena Sanz finished the season with a 14-5 record, including a 7-0 mark in WAC play. Sanz earned WAC Player of the Week accolades on April 22, while Lozano garnered the same honor on April 15.
Sopel began her coaching career at Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.) in the fall of 2012. She guided the Seahawks to their first winning record in five years.
"I am grateful for the experiences I have had thus far," Sopel said. "I would like to thank all my former colleagues and the faculty at Idaho, who have shown me great support. I would especially like to thank Jeff Beaman, who has been my supervisor and mentor. I would not be the coach I am today without him. I would also like to thank my brother, who has been a role model and has always guided me in my career as a coach."
A former standout and senior team captain at Indiana University, Sopel played four years for the Hoosiers where she compiled a 59-44 singles record and an 89-59 doubles mark. She was part of two Hoosier teams (2008, 2010) that qualified for the NCAA Championship. Sopel, along with teammate Leslie Hureau, earned a top national doubles ranking of No. 31. She graduated in May, 2011 with a double major in journalism and Spanish, and was a four-time Academic All-American and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Sopel was also the recipient of the 1A Faculty Athletic Representative Academic Excellence Award for achieving a GPA of 3.8 or better upon graduation.
Source: UTEP Athletics