2013 Hall of Fame Inductee: Gualberto Escudero
Oct. 4, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. -- The Pepperdine University Department of Athletics' 2013 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is coming up on Sunday, October 20, in Firestone Fieldhouse.
Tickets are available ($60 per person, includes dinner) and can be purchased by contacting Jamil Macias at 310-506-4935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From now until the event, PepperdineSports.com will be running profiles on each of the inductees. Today is Gualberto Escudero's turn:
Gualberto Escudero arrived at Pepperdine's old South Los Angeles campus as a freshman in the fall of 1968. He's never left, and 45 years later he has fashioned one of the most prolific coaching careers in NCAA women's tennis history.
Heading into his 37th season as the Waves' head coach, Escudero has a career record of 632-329 (.658), and his win total ranks second all-time among women's tennis coaches. Escudero has led the Waves to the NCAA postseason on 30 occasions, including each of the last 26 seasons.
Thirty-one of his 36 teams have posted winning records, and his squads have finished with a top 10 national ranking seven times.
The Waves have dominated the West Coast Conference, winning either the regular-season or tournament title in 24 of the last 26 seasons (including 14 straight from 1988-2001). In fact, there have only been five times that the Waves haven't won the WCC Tournament title (23 championships in the 28-year history).
Escudero has received numerous individual accolades. He was selected as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's District VIII Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992, the ITA West Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and the WCC Coach of the Year in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2012.
He has consistently attracted talented student-athletes to Malibu. Pepperdine women's tennis players have been named All-Americans 31 times, while there have been 41 singles players and 23 doubles teams that have earned All-WCC first team honors. Also, his players have earned spots on the WCC All-Academic list 43 times.
Escudero was named head coach prior to the 1977-78 season. The Waves competed at the AIAW Championships in both 1979 and 1980 (and was ranked first in the AIAW at one point during the 1980 season).
Pepperdine competed at the first-ever NCAA Tournament back in 1982, and made four straight first-round appearances when there were just 16 teams. The Waves earned their first NCAA Tournament victory in 1988, then had a run of three straight years in the quarterfinals between 1989-91. The Waves again made it into the quarterfinals in 1994.
During Escudero's tenure, the Waves hosted NCAA first and second-round matches three times (1999, 2000 and 2006) and also put on the NCAA finals in 1995 and 2000.
Escudero moved to the United States from Bolivia when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Hollywood High School, he was a standout player for the Waves from 1969 to 1972. He was a finalist in the 1969 WCAC singles tournament while winning the doubles title with John Lovelace, and helped the Waves win two conference team titles. He earned a degree in physical education from Pepperdine in 1972.
After graduating, Escudero stayed on campus by teaching tennis courses for both the University (he's continued to teach the popular course to this day) and with the Crest Associates, and serving as an assistant coach with both the men's and women's teams. At one point, he was enlisted to be an interpreter for fellow Hall of Fame inductee Marcos Leite.
Escudero and his wife, Ha', have two children, Kevin (a doctoral candidate at the University of California) and Egan (a senior at Pepperdine).