Tom Lilly, who has been a part of Bluejay tennis for 25 years, is in his 16th full season at the helm of Creighton’s women’s and men’s tennis programs. He spent five years as a player, redshirting one season, one year as a fan and three years as an assistant coach for both teams. He took over as interim head coach in the spring of 1997. He was later named head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at the end of the season.
As a player, Lilly racked up 128 victories, which is good for third on the Creighton all-time career wins list. Sixty-four of his wins came in singles play, placing him fifth on the all-time singles charts. The other half of his wins came in doubles, a number that ties him for the all-time lead on the Creighton charts. As a freshman and sophomore, Lilly held down the No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles positions.
As a sophomore, he tied the school record for the most combined wins at the singles and doubles positions with 39. He also holds the school record for the most doubles wins in a season at the No. 2 position with 18 wins. Lilly was voted the team’s Most Improved Player both as a freshman and sophomore. After sitting out a season as a medical redshirt, Lilly returned for his junior and senior seasons. He competed at the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles positions both years and is in the school record books at both positions. At the No. 1 singles position, he finished second in school history with 18 wins during his senior season. As a junior, Lilly broke the school record at the No. 1 doubles position with 17 wins, and coached Billy Paluch and J.T. Christian 21 wins during the 2009-2010 season. He was the team’s captain as a junior and senior and was voted the Most Valuable Player as a junior. He graduated in 1993 with a degree in theology.
For his collegiate accomplishments, Lilly was named to the MVC All-Centennial Team in 2007. He was the only male player from Creighton selected to the team, while coaching the only women's player from Creighton, Katie Chiw.
Lilly's men's team was 9-10 in the 2011-12 season and finished 6th in the Missouri Valley Conference after recording a 7-10 mark during the 2010-11 season. On the annual Spring Break trip to Orlando, the men's team is 19-3 under Lilly and a combined 42-4 with the women's team. Lilly holds a 139-185 overall record in 15 seasons at the helm of the men's team.
Lilly has 302 coaching victories during his campaign coaching both men's and women's tennis. He earned his 300th victory during a 7-0 sweep of UNO on Apr. 12, 2012. He has coached close to 100 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athletes, with six men's players and eight women's players earning the award last season.
He has also had success coaching Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference players, coaching seven MVC All-Conference women's players and four men's players, including Billy Paluch from last year's team.
During the summer months, Lilly also serves as the head tennis professional at Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha. He is married to former Bluejay tennis player Jean (Fougeron) Lilly, who serves as the assistant coach for the women’s squad. The couple has a 12-year-old son, TJ, and an eight-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn Elise.