Tom Lilly is in his 19th full season at the helm of Creighton’s women’s and men’s tennis programs. He leads the Bluejays into their third season in the BIG EAST Conference in 2015-16. Lilly has been a part of Bluejay tennis for 27 years. He spent five years as a player, redshirting one season and later served three years as an assistant coach for both teams.
He took over as interim head coach in the spring of 1997. Lilly was later named head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at the end of that season.
Lilly directed the women's team to an 10-13 mark in the 2014-15 season and finished ninth in the BIG EAST. In addition, senior Jennie Hartjes earned a 2015 Capital One Academic All-America Division I Women’s At-Large Third Team honor as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Hartjes' Academic All-America honor marks the first by a Bluejay tennis player in school history.
The Creighton women's tennis team claimed a team award and six individual academic laurels from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) after the 2013-14 season. The Bluejays also earned seven BIG EAST All-Academic Awards.
On the annual spring break trip to Florida, the women's team went 2-1 and is now 32-3 all-time under Lilly in the Sunshine State since 2002 including perfect marks in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Lilly holds a 192-234 overall record in 18 completed seasons at the helm of the women's team.
Lilly has 360 coaching victories during his campaign coaching both men's and women's tennis. He earned his 350th victory during a 7-0 sweep of UNO by the men’s team on March 3, 2015.
He also had success coaching eight MVC All-Conference players, including Hartjes in 2013. Hartjes also earned All-BIG EAST recognition in 2015 - the first honor earned by a CU women's tennis player from the conference. Hartjes finished her stellar career at No. 3 all-time on the CU women’s tennis program wins list with 134 total victories.
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 second all-time on the Creighton charts. In his first two years 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 (he later coached Billy Paluch and J.T. Christian to a new record of 21 wins during the 2009-2010 season). He was the team’s captain in his final two seasons and was voted the Most Valuable Player as a junior. He graduated from Creighton 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 and coached the only Bluejay women's player on the list, Katie Chiu. Lilly also has served as a member of the Central Region Advisory Committee for NCAA Division I women’s tennis.
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 son, TJ, and a daughter, Kaitlyn Elise.