🎾 Kansas Tennis Adds Dees, Abidullina to Coaching Staff

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas tennis head coach Todd Chapman announced a pair of coaching additions on Monday, adding Associate Head Coach Cullen Dees and Assistant Coach Adel-Byanu Abidullina to the staff.

“We are extremely fortunate to bring Cullen and Adel to our women’s tennis staff.  Cullen and Adel will both add so much to our program in very different ways,” Chapman said. “Cullen brings 11 years of collegiate coaching experience, including head coaching and national championship experience.  His character and experience will be invaluable to our program.”

“Adel brings a different type of experience; one that I believe will resonate well with our team. Adel had an unbelievable career at both the Division I and Division II level as an athlete and knows what it takes to achieve at the highest level as a player,” Chapman said. “She has solid ties with international recruiting. I know our student athletes are going to benefit greatly from the coaching and leadership of both Cullen and Adel.”

Dees spent the previous four years at the University of Texas – San Antonio (UTSA), where he served as the Roadrunners’ Associate Head Coach. During the 2022-23 season, Dees helped the Roadrunners to the program’s first Doubles Regional Champions, defeating No. 24 Texas A&M, No. 13 Baylor and No. 3 TCU. UTSA reached a No. 6 National ranking in the Fall of 2022 and was a Quarterfinalist at the ITA Fall National. The Roadrunners finished with an 18-7 overall record during the 2022-23 season, the most wins in program history, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history.

In 2021-22, Dees helped UTSA to a first-round win in the C-USA Tournament for only the second time history. Over a two-year stretch (2020-22) UTSA had its fewest losses over a two-year span.

Prior to his time at UTSA, Dees served as the Interim Assistant Coach and Volunteer Assistant Coach at the University of Texas from 2017-19 and was previously the Head Tennis Coach at the University of the Ozarks from 2015-17. While at Texas, Dees helped the Longhorns to the 2018-19 National Champion, Big 12 Championship and No. 1 National team ranking.

Dees spent the previous three seasons at Schreiner University as the assistant men’s and women’s coach. In just one year, Dees helped elevate Schreiner to among the best tennis teams within the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), highlighted by an undefeated conference record (4-0) on the women’s side in 2015, and an appearance in the conference tournament finals. The men’s team finished with a 3-1 conference mark and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the SCAC Tournament in 2015. During his time at Schreiner, the men’s team posted three straight winning seasons in conference play. A combined 22 women’s and men’s players received all-conference honors during his tenure.

Dees was a four-year standout player for Hardin-Simmons University from 2009-2012, achieving all-conference all four seasons. He also made the ASC All-Academic Team during his collegiate career. Dees received his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Hardin-Simmons in 2012.

Abidullina joins the Kansas coaching staff as an assistant coach after completing her college tennis career. During the 2022-23 season at Delaware, Abidullina played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Blue Hens and was ranked as high as No. 3 in Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) doubles rankings. Abidullina advanced to the Quarterfinals of the ITA Fall National Championships and finished the season ranked No. 35 in the final ITA Division I doubles rankings with a record of 29-2, qualifying for the NCAA Doubles Championships.

Prior to her time at Delaware, Abidullina competed at Central Oklahoma, where she was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American in singles (2019, 2021) and a two time NCAA Division II All-American in doubles (2020, 2021). She was a three-time ITA All-Academic honoree and two-time MIAA Player of the Year (2019, 2021).

Kansas tennis enters the 2023-24 season after a 15-8 season in 2022-23, resulting in the program’s 13th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Jayhawks defeated #40 Charlotte in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and returning a promising roster headed into the 2023-24 season.