The Angelo State tennis courts have a new look this fall as the revitalized Rambelles tennis team returned to action for the first time in 31 years.
The addition of women’s tennis was announced in January 2017, expanding the ASU Athletic Department to 15 athletic teams, including nine women’s teams. Chris Bizot, a 19-time American Southwest Conference Coach of the Year and national championship coach at the University of Texas at Tyler, was tabbed to lead the program.
“We are excited to be starting women’s tennis at Angelo State,” said James Reid, ASU athletic director. “Tennis was a logical choice for us as something we’ve had a history with, and it was a good fit in the Lone Star Conference, being able to compete for a conference championship right away. We feel we will have great support for tennis in the San Angelo community.”
Bizot takes over an ASU tennis program that has been dormant since 1986. He previously spent 12 years at UT-Tyler coaching the men’s and women’s tennis teams to 16 conference championships and 17 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. He led the Patriots to a combined 24 winning seasons and 400-153 combined record. He has amassed an overall record of 452-200 in 14 years as a head tennis coach.
“The biggest thing that drew me to Angelo State is the commitment to excellence and the chance to grow the sport of tennis in San Angelo,” Bizot said. “On the Division II level, there’s a lot of success in different programs at ASU, and there’s a lot of support from the administration, as well. I’m really excited about the opportunity to build relationships and bring the sport of tennis back to Angelo State.”
The biggest thing that drew me to Angelo State is the commitment to excellence and the chance to grow the sport of tennis in San Angelo.
During Bizot’s time at UT-Tyler, the Patriots made nine straight NCAA D-III Tournament appearances between 2008 and 2016, and the men’s and women’s teams combined to win 16 of 18 conference championships. Four of his teams advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA D-III Tournament. He was twice named the West Region Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, in 2008 and 2012.
Since arriving at ASU, Bizot has been busy building the Belles roster, which already includes Zoe Gubbels, Ena Ovcina, Lucie Maitrot, Virginie Becht, Maria Delgadillo and Melanie Dreux. The group began practicing in September and finished their first fall season. The first team dual match is set for Feb. 9 at the ASU Tennis Courts.
“I am very excited about the six girls that we have signed for the fall,” Bizot said. “They all bring a versatile skill set on the court and will be a great foundation for our program. Most importantly, they are great individuals who are excited about the unique opportunity of being the first tennis team at ASU in 31 years.”
That first group of Belles tennis players will be relying on Bizot, who has a stellar history of developing talent. Nine of his former student-athletes were named NCAA All-Americans and eight individuals advanced to the national tournament. He has also coached 11 American Southwest Conference East Division Players of the Year, 11 ASC East Division Newcomers of the Year and 10 ASC East Division Freshmen of the Year. More than 150 student-athletes earned all-conference honors during his tenure and over 100 were academic all-conference selections.
“Our goals are very simple,” Bizot said. “We want to create a culture that builds relationships and puts us in a position to win championships. This first year will be about growth. All of our girls will be young, so putting them in a position to maximize their games will be very important.”
“The San Angelo community has been unbelievable,” he added. “They are very excited about the start of women’s tennis at Angelo State. The amount of support I have received so far with the building of the program has been overwhelming. In order to be successful, you need buy-in from the administration and the community. We are so fortunate to have both at ASU.”