In this age of parity, Brian Kalbas and Sam Paul have more than kept up with the Joneses.
There is no greater example of creating a monster than what Anson Dorrance did with UNC women’s soccer. He has won national championships in four different decades, from when he dominated college recruiting and coaching through the massive growth of girls’ soccer that produced parity in the worldwide women’s game.
So when coaches like Brian Kalbas and Sam Paul keep winning when the competition continues to broaden, now that’s something and mirrors what Dorrance has done. Kalbas recently became the most successful UNC women’s tennis coach, which means one of the best in ACC annals, as well, when he surpassed the legendary Kitty Harrison who recruited the best talent when there was less of it.
In 15 years, Kalbas has more victories and championships than what took Harrison 22 years because in her era there were fewer matches and tournaments and, frankly, fewer great young women players. While both coaches worked at a great university that attracted the best talent out there, Kalbas has kept pace in recruiting and on the court against more top women players and teams all over the ACC and nation. Kudos to Kalbas for surpassing Harrison in spite of the parity and a run of bad publicity for UNC.
Paul has reached one milestone after another while becoming the winningest active men’s tennis coach in the ACC, well on his way to 500 career victories and coaching more than 20 first-team All-Americans. Men’s tennis has had a longer and richer tradition than the women, which makes Paul’s consistency of compiling 20-win seasons even more impressive. Soon he will break the all-time UNC victory mark set by the also-legendary Don Skakle.
All of Carolina’s Olympic sports don’t draw the same attention as women’s soccer and baseball, but they keep fighting and earning recognition, like powerful field hockey and the same-season national championship men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, while they toil in the shadows of moneyed football and men’s basketball and the glare of NCAA scrutiny.