LSU Women's Tennis Co-Head Coach Julia Sell has changed the culture of the program and has helped lead the Lady Tigers back to national prominence on the recruiting trail and on the courts in her first three seasons in Baton Rouge.
On the court in 2014-15, the team finished with a 20-11 record. The Lady Tigers have also improved drastically in the team ranking under Sell, moving up more than 40 spots in the polls since arriving at LSU to a peak of No. 23 in 2015. This impact in the polls is largely due to Sell’s success on the recruiting trail.
The Lady Tigers have gained three blue-chip recruits in the past three seasons, a first for the program. Sell has also brought in successful transfers with the additions of Noel Scott and Skylar Kuykendall to the lineup.
The program, under Sell’s guidance, has continued to progress and develop. The team reached the 20-win mark for just the third time in school history in 2014-15. The Lady Tigers also reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time and the semifinal of the SEC Tournament for the third time in school history.
The entire roster has continued to develop under the leadership of Sell. During the 2014-15 season, Joana Vale Costa and Skylar Kuykendall became the 14th and 15th players in school history to reach the 30-win mark. It was only the fifth time in school history and the first time since the 1984-85 season that two teammates have won 30 or more matches in a season.
Vale Costa became just the sixth player in the program’s history to reach the NCAA Single Championships. The Lisbon, Portugal, native earned the highest-ranked singles win for an LSU player since 2009 with a victory over No. 7 Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt. Vale Costa along with Scott also defeated No. 7 Pleun Burgman and Emily Flickinger of Auburn for the highest-ranked doubles win since 2002.
Sell came to LSU from Boca Raton, Fla., where she had been assisting the USTA as a Regional Training Center Coach since August 2011.
Prior to her stint with the USTA, Sell served as an assistant coach for Notre Dame for three years from September of 2008 until August of 2011 where she helped propel the Irish to their best results in program history, back to back Final Four appearances in the NCAA Team Tournament and a No. 5 year end ranking in 2009 and 2010. While at Notre Dame, she helped the Irish capture three Big East titles as well as reaching the semifinals of the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
Off the court, Notre Dame's women's tennis team earned the highest grade point average among all of the Irish's teams with a 3.6 GPA in 2009 followed by a 3.65 in 2010.
In May of 2010 Sell was selected as a coach for the USTA Summer Collegiate Team, which serves as an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players who are trying to make the transition into professional tennis.
Sell got her start in coaching at the collegiate level in September of 2007 when she was named an assistant coach at Harvard. In her one season at Harvard, she helped recruit the nation's seventh-best signing class in 2007 followed by the nation's No. 2 rated class the following year.
A 2003 graduate of the University of Florida, Sell (née Scaringe) served as team captain for the Gators from 2000-03 and played the No. 1 singles position for the 2003 National Championship Team. During her time in Gainesville, Florida won a national championship, two Southeastern conference championships, three SEC tournament championships and finished as the NCAA runner-up and National Team Indoor runner-up. She received Florida's Most Improved Player award, the SEC Outstanding Senior award, and was named the ITA South Region Player of the Year as a senior in 2003. Scaringe achieved career-high ITA singles rankings of 24th and seventh in doubles.
She also was a two-time Dorothy Anderson Award recipient, given to an athlete who displays the best combination of academics and character on and off the court, as well as being named a 2002 Sportsmanship Award honoree. Scaringe graduated 11th all-time in combined singles and doubles wins in Florida history and seventh all-time in doubles victories. She also was a member of Florida's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
As a junior player, Scaringe was a member of the U.S. National team, playing in all four junior Grand Slams and achieving a world ranking of 54th in singles and 42nd in doubles. Her best result came at the Australian Open where she reached the round of 16 in singles play.
A native of Marietta, Ga., the former Julia Scaringe earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Florida in 2003. She is married to LSU co-head coach Michael Sell.