Miha Lisac (MEE-ha LEE-sots) enters his third season as head coach at West Virginia University. A former Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Coach of the Year, Lisac previously spent six seasons as head coach at Georgia State, where he built one of the top Division I programs in the nation.
Lisac is a former student-athlete at Georgia State and served as the men’s assistant coach for two years. In 2007, Lisac was named head coach of the women’s tennis team at his alma mater.
While at Georgia State, Lisac led the women’s tennis program to one conference title, back-to-back CAA Championship final appearances and two other berths in the CAA Championship semifinals.
His overall record stands at 75-80 as head coach. The highlight of his tenure came in 2009, when he guided Georgia State to the first NCAA Championship appearance in school history and was named CAA Coach of the year.
At West Virginia
West Virginia concluded its 2015 campaign with a 9-13 overall record. The Mountaineers recorded nine straight wins for the first time since 2010 and earned the program’s 450th win at Toledo on Jan. 31.
In the spring season, WVU competed against nine ranked opponents, with its last five competitors ranked in the nation’s Top 40. Junior Hailey Barrett posted her first victory over a ranked opponent in 2015, defeating Baylor’s then-No. 82 Rachael Jakes-Baker in a straight set win.
Freshman Carolina Lewis was the first player since 2003 to tally 20 singles wins in a season, ending her freshman campaign with a 24-6 singles record. Freshman Habiba Shaker also held a team-best mark in doubles play as she teamed up with Lyn Yuen Choo, Yvon Martinez, Barett and Lewis throughout the spring season.
In his first season at West Virginia in 2013-14, Lisac led the freshman tandem of Kaja Mrgole and Oana Manole to a No. 9 ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in the Atlantic Region entering the spring season. The WVU duo finished the fall season at 5-8 and battled their way to the quarterfinals at the USTA/ITA Regionals in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Vivian Tsui tallied three straight wins at the USTA/ITA Regionals and made it further in the main singles draw bracket than any other Mountaineer after having to survive the qualifying bracket.
In the spring season, freshmen Oana Manole and Kaja Mrgole led the team with a combined 24 wins in singles and doubles. Mrgole posted a team-high 13 wins in the spring.
At Georgia State
Lisac’s final season with Georgia State was a benchmark year for the program, as Abigail Tere-Apisah became the school’s first-ever tennis All-American after advancing to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship. Tere-Apisah also took home CAA Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Performer honors. Whitney Byrd and Maryna Kozachenko became just the second pair in Lisac’s tenure to earn All-CAA First Team Doubles honors. The team advanced to its second straight CAA finals and earned its highest ITA Ranking in school history (No. 38 on Feb. 25, 2012). The team finished the season ranked in the ITA National Team Rankings for a third consecutive year after defeating three nationally ranked opponents.
In 2010-11, the Panthers achieved a No. 55 ranking to finish the season, earning a spot at the national indoor tournament in the spring. The tournament takes the top 64 teams in the nation. GSU enjoyed an outstanding season, advancing to the CAA Championship final and earning a 15-4 overall record, including an 8-2 mark on the road.
In Lisac’s third season as coach, the team reached the semifinal round of the CAA Tournament for the third straight year while also producing two All-CAA athletes in Diana Nakic (first team singles, second team doubles) and Linda Hricistova (second team doubles). Nakic was named CAA Co-Player of the Year after a season in which she went a perfect 17-0 (in singles and dual match play), and she was selected for the NCAA Singles Championship.
In 2009, Lisac presided over one of the most successful women’s tennis campaigns in Georgia State history as the Panthers captured their first conference title to reach the NCAA Championship for the first time ever. GSU posted an 11-5 record and finished the year with a national ranking of No. 47. For his efforts, Lisac was honored as CAA Coach of the Year.
In his coaching debut in 2007-08, Lisac led the Panthers to an 11-9 dual match record and a berth in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament. Three Panthers earned All-CAA honors; Dariana Kozmina, Martina Nitkova and Katerina Gresova.
Last spring, Lisac’s squad averaged a 3.59 GPA, and four Mountaineers were honored by the Big 12. Senior Ikttesh Chahal, junior Hailey Barrett and freshman Lyn Yuen Choo were named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team, while sophomore Kaja Mrgole landed on the second team.
In 2014, Lisac’s team posted the highest GPA among all WVU teams with a 3.5435 GPA, while four players received Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors: Irinka Toidze, Vivian Tsui, Chahal and Barrett. The Mountaineers also were named to the ITA All-Academic Team, with three individuals earning Scholar-Athlete awards: Oana Manole, Chahal and Toidze.
At GSU, Lisac’s team posted the highest GPA among all GSU teams on several occasions, recording its highest GPA of 3.72 in the fall of 2007, including multiple Panthers named to the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award list. Mateja Podgorsek also was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Second Team in 2008, while Martina Nitkova was honored as the 2009 CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s tennis.
As an Assistant
From 2005-07, Lisac worked under Nick Brochu, former coach of the GSU men’s tennis squad, before transitioning to the men’s coaching position. In 2007, Lisac helped guide the men’s tennis team to its first league title as a member of the CAA and an NCAA berth. That year, Martin Steigwardt became the first Panther in history to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. The 2007 squad set the school record for dual match victories with a 19-5 mark and ended the season ranked No. 36 in the country.
Lisac was born and raised in Velenje in the European nation of Slovenia, where he was ranked among the country’s top-10 juniors. A 2005 graduate of Georgia State, Lisac lettered four years for the Panthers and was a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection and a four-time conference academic honoree.