Amended bylaws provide a different structure; new Board includes six tennis coaches, a University President, college Athletic Directors and several executives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists
SKILLMAN, NJ – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has announced the election of a new Board of Directors to serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2016. The ITA is the governing body of college tennis. For almost four decades, David A Benjamin was its Chairman, CEO, and Executive Director, and the Board was comprised of Benjamin and over two dozen college tennis coaches.
With Benjamin’s retirement in 2015, the ITA’s Bylaws were amended to provide for a new Board structure. Under the new Bylaws, the role of the Chairman of the Board and the CEO was split between two individuals. After a nationwide search, on July, 1, 2015, Dr. Timothy Russell became the new Chief Executive Officer of the ITA. On December 12, 2015, Jon Vegosen became the new Chairman of the Board of the ITA, when he was elected to an initial term ending June 30, 2018.
Under the new Bylaws, the Board will now be comprised of 17 directors, six of whom shall be Head Coach Members, and two of whom shall include the Chairman of the Board and the CEO. The remaining nine directors are now free to come from other walks of life, such as education, business, law, medicine, sports science, technology, media, entertainment and philanthropy.
“The new structure will provide the opportunity to have a Board that focuses on high level matters such as big picture thinking, strategic planning, fundraising for and endowment of the ITA, and helping enhance the visibility and stature of the ITA in the tennis world and the world of college athletics,” said Vegosen. “These changes are not designed to, and will not, change the critical role of the ITA Operating Committees. Those committees have coaches with tremendous knowledge and experience and will focus on various elements regarding the college tennis scene.”
A nine-member ITA Nominating Committee, including five tennis coaches who are current ITA Board members, considered approximately 40 candidates for the new Board.
Russell expressed gratitude to the Nominating Committee and the existing ITA Board for the new ITA Board.
“I am extremely pleased with the composition of the new Board and look forward to working with this remarkable array of talented individuals,” said Russell. “Their variety of exciting backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets will make an important difference for the ITA and college tennis.”
The following individuals will comprise the new ITA Board, effective July 1, 2016:
Jon Vegosen, of Chicago, Illinois, Chairman of the Board of the ITA. Vegosen is a founding member of 35-year-old Chicago corporate and litigation law firm, Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. A long-time volunteer, leader, advocate, fundraiser and connector for tennis at all levels, Vegosen served as the 2011-2012 Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association, and Chairman of the US Open. He has served on other tennis boards, including the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the USTA Foundation. Vegosen has a passion for collegiate tennis and education. During his USTA Presidency, he created the Tennis and Higher Education Task Force to promote the importance of every American youngster obtaining a college education – and that tennis is the sport of opportunity for achieving this goal. Vegosen played tennis at Northwestern University. He was captain his junior and senior years, selected to the All Big-Ten Team, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Vegosen attended Northwestern University School of Law, graduating Cum Laude. He has been inducted into the following Halls of Fame: ITA Men’s Collegiate, Northwestern University Athletics, USTA/Midwest Section, and Chicago Tennis.
Dr. Timothy Russell, of Phoenix, Arizona, Chief Executive Officer of the ITA. Russell spent three decades as a distinguished educator at two major Division I schools (as Professor at Arizona State University and formerly at The Ohio State University), as well as at the University of Rochester, a leading Division III institution. In addition to his academic achievements, Russell has also been a highly successful entrepreneur, with a leadership role in the development of two renowned American non-profit institutions. Russell is also well known in the tennis world, including for his work as a long-time USTA volunteer. He has been inducted into the following tennis Halls of Fame: ITA Men’s Collegiate, USTA Southwest, and USTA Central Arizona.
ITA MEMBER COACHES:
Betsy Kuhle retired after 33 years as the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Western Michigan University. A record-breaking seven-time MAC Coach of the Year, Kuhle coached three MAC Players of the Year, five MAC Freshmen of the Year, and ranks among the most successful coaches among all athletic programs at WMU and the conference. Kuhle, a current ITA Board member, served as an ITA Regional Chair, on the ITA Operating Committee, and the ITA Executive/Budget Committee. Currently, she is the Director of the ITA Summer Circuit. Kuhle is a 2006 inductee into the Western Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame.
Geoff Macdonald, Vanderbilt University’s longest-tenured coach, is in his 22nd season as the head coach of the women’s tennis team. Vanderbilt won the 2015 Division I National Team Championship. During the previous 21 seasons, Macdonald, the three-time SEC Coach of the Year and current Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year placed the Commodores among the nation’s elite programs on a consistent basis. Macdonald has earned three Coach of the Year honors, including SEC recognition for his 2001 team. As a player at the University of Virginia, Macdonald capped off a successful collegiate career by winning the ACC singles title in 1981. Macdonald was named the ACC’s Most Valuable Player and also won the league’s Sportsmanship Award.
David Roditi, one of the great players in the history of the men’s tennis program at TCU and a former tennis professional on the ATP Tour and member of the ATP Council from 1998-2000, has been the men’s head coach since September of 2010. In his first five years at the helm, Roditi returned the Horned Frogs to the top of the collegiate tennis world, as they finished the 2015 season ranked at No. 4. Roditi became the 11th head coach in the history of NCAA Division I men’s tennis to lead his team to the NCAA Final Four as a player and a coach. The 2015 Wilson/ITA Division I Men’s National Coach of the Year and Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year, Roditi guided TCU to the 2015 ITA National Indoor Team Championships for the first time since 2001, while also leading the team to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Championship. A current ITA Board member, Roditi has been a pioneer in trying to revolutionize the atmosphere and attendance at tennis matches. He received the 2014 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award, one of college tennis’ most esteemed awards.
Bryan Shelton is currently the men’s head tennis coach at the University of Florida, after having spent 12 seasons as head coach of the Georgia Tech women’s tennis program. He is one of just five coaches in the history of Georgia Tech Athletics to guide a team to a national title, and the only one to capture an NCAA Team Championship. The 2007 ITA National Coach of the Year and four-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year directed the Yellow Jackets to three national titles - one outdoor (NCAA) and two indoor (ITA). Following his collegiate career, Shelton climbed as high as 55th in the ATP singles rankings and also played in seven U.S. Opens, six Australian Opens and four French Opens, while posting victories against the likes of Andre Agassi, Thomas Muster, Richard Krajicek and Todd Martin. After retiring from the tour, Shelton coached MaliVai Washington, a 1996 Wimbledon finalist, until being named a USTA National Coach.
Alison Swain is in her ninth year as the women’s head coach at Williams. So far, she has the led the Ephs to seven NCAA Division III titles in her first eight years, and, most recently, the 2015 NCAA Division III title. Under Swain’s leadership, Williams owns the longest NCAA Tournament win streak – 33 – and has an astonishing 39-1 record in NCAA Tournament play. Swain was the 2013 ITA National Coach of the Year and the ITA Northeast Coach of the Year 2010 and 2013. Swain was co-captain of the first Williams team to win the NCAA Championship (in 2001). She also became the second coach in any division to win the NCAA Championship as both a player (2001) and a coach (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2015). Swain is believed to be the first collegiate coach on any level to lead her team to six NCAA titles in her first six years as a head coach. Only Williams and Stanford have won six consecutive NCAA women’s tennis titles.
Vince Westbrook is the men’s head tennis coach and senior associate athletic director at the University of Tulsa. During his tenure, which has included coaching both the men’s and women’s tennis teams, Westbrook has built some of the top tennis programs in the nation. One of Westbrook’s greatest achievements at Tulsa was the construction of the state of the art Michael D. Case Tennis Center. By raising private donations, Westbrook distinguished himself as one of the nation’s top fundraisers for collegiate athletics and tennis. Westbrook also played an integral role in landing Tulsa the right to host the 2004 Men’s NCAA Championships and the 2008 and 2016 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Tennis Championships. Westbrook was instrumental in Tulsa hosting one of the nation’s premier collegiate tennis events at the Case Center, now called the Saint Francis Health Systems ITA All-American Men’s Tennis Championships. Westbrook has long-standing service on the NCAA National Tennis Committee, including being Region V Chairman. During the past 15 years, he served on the ITA National Board of Directors and the ITA Operating Committee. For the last eight years, he has administered ‘First Serve’, which gives free tennis instruction to inner-city and underprivileged kids in the Tulsa community.
Dr. Charles M. Ambrose is the 15th President of the University of Central Missouri. A career educator, who is a fervent advocate of servant leadership and engaged learning, he is committed to promoting academic quality, excellence in teaching, and the collegiate experience. Ambrose previously served for 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C. When recruited there, Ambrose was only 36 years old, making him the youngest serving president of a college or university in North Carolina in 1998. After Pfeiffer, he was the second-longest-serving president of the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities. Ambrose served for two years as chair of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council. He has served on the President’s Council of the Association of Governing Boards, Chair of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Board of Directors of the Kansas City Area Development Commission, and on the USTA Presidential Task Force on Tennis and Higher Education. Ambrose received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Furman University, where he was a four-year letterman and captain of the soccer team. Thereafter, he earned two advanced higher education administration degrees, a master’s from the University of Louisville and a Doctor of Education from the University of Georgia.
Rick Dickson served 16 years as the Director of Athletics at Tulane, where he not only sustained Green Wave Athletics but also led its transformation to a model Division I Athletics program. In 2006, Dickson was awarded the United States Sports Academy Distinguished Service Award for skillfully directing the department through the unprecedented adversity of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. His swift and decisive response to these challenges saved Tulane Athletics, allowing Tulane’s student-athletes and staff to continue to represent it as one of the nation’s premier universities and athletics programs. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dickson came to Tulane from Washington State, where he served as athletics director from 1994-2000. There, Dickson oversaw an athletics program that was recognized nationally for its success in dealing with gender equity issues. He raised funds for a capital campaign for scholarships and endowments, an indoor practice facility, and the renovation of Bohler Gymnasium. Prior to that, Dickson spent six years as athletic director at his alma mater, The University of Tulsa. There, he was instrumental in forming a football scheduling alliance that evolved into Conference USA and the expansion of the Western Athletic Conference.
Dr. Karin Lee is the Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Ball State University. Lee is a past member of the NCAA Champs/Life Skills Advisory Team, NCAA Certification Team, NCAA Minority and Opportunities Interest Committee and the NCAA Men’s Tennis Committee. She is currently the Mid-American Conference administrative liaison for women’s tennis. Lee obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Sports Administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a doctorate degree from Capella University in Organizational Management.
EXECUTIVES, ENTREPRENEURS, AND PHILANTHROPISTS:
William (“Bill”) Dutton has been playing tennis for over 50 years, including four years of college tennis at Princeton University, where he was captain of the team in 1975 and 1976. He has had a 35-year career in the investment industry as a securities analyst, portfolio manager, and business owner. A Registered Certified Public Accountant, Bill is currently a Partner and Senior Advisor at Skyline Asset Management, L.P. in Chicago. Skyline manages a small cap equity mutual fund called AMG Managers Skyline Special Equities Fund and also manages separate equity portfolios for institutional investors. Dutton is a tremendous supporter of the ITA and other tennis causes.
Harold Edwards is President & CEO of the Limoneira Company (NASDAQ: LMNR) a 124-year-old agricultural, real estate and community development company. He previously was the president of Puritan Medical Products, a division of Airgas Inc. Prior to that, he held management positions with Fisher Scientific International, Inc., Cargill, Inc., Agribrands International and the Ralston Purina Company. Based in Santa Paula, California, Edwards has served on several corporate boards. He is a global business executive with proven abilities in strategic planning, financial management, marketing/sales management, cultural management, improving efficiency of manufacturing operations, executing business plans, team building, and motivating people. Edwards received his BA from Lewis and Clark College and his MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). A high-level tennis player, Edwards has raised considerable sums for tennis projects in California.
Barbara Georgescu, a retired advertising executive with Young & Rubicam, recently concluded a nine-year term as a Board Member and Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Georgescu was instrumental in leading a highly successful multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign for the Hall of Fame, attracting talented and generous new Board members, and never hesitating to generate ideas that brought non-traditional solutions to challenges the Hall faced. As the Head of Development, the combination of Georgescu’s polite persistence and irresistible charm produced sterling results and brought the Hall to new heights. As a member of the Museum Committee, Georgescu was active in the Museum’s accreditation and renovation projects. She contributed mightily to the acquisition of a Renaissance painting from 1538 that is believed to be the earliest known painting of tennis. A graduate of Rutgers University, Georgescu splits her time between Manhattan and Palm Beach.
Neel Grover is the founder and CEO of Indi.com, Chairman of the Board Bluefly.com and The SWI Group, and the former CEO of Rakuten.com and Buy.com. As a talented and seasoned e-commerce, mobile and social media entrepreneur and executive, Grover brings a highly relevant skill set to the ITA Board. Grover attended UC Irvine, where he was captain of the men’s tennis team. He received his J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School. Grover was Captain of the 2013 US National Men’s 40s National Team and participated in the World Championships in Turkey. A talented competitive tennis player, Grover has won several national championships.
Dr. Mark Kovacs is a performance physiologist, researcher, sports executive, professor, author, speaker and coach. He runs a consulting firm focused on optimizing human performance by the practical application of cutting edge science to national federations, major professional sports leagues, leading universities and start-up firms. Kovacs formerly directed the Sport Science, Strength & Conditioning and Coaching Education departments for the USTA. Kovacs was the Director of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and an executive with PepsiCo. He serves as the Executive Director of the International Tennis Performance Association (the “iTPA”). He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and a Certified Tennis Performance Specialist and Master Tennis Performance Specialist through the iTPA. In 2012, he was the youngest ever recipient of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award. In 2014, he received the US Olympic Committee Doc Counsilman Science Award for his innovative use of sport science application to Olympic athletes. Kovacs has worked with hundreds of elite athletes in dozens of sports providing high performance sport science services. Kovacs attended Auburn University, where he was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion. He earned his PhD from the University of Alabama.
Sean S. Mayo, of Naples, Florida, was one of JP Morgan’s top bond brokers. He currently holds all trading records at the now CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). Only in his 40’s, Mayo retired in 2007 to concentrate on giving back to tennis, especially to benefit under-served youth through the combination of tennis and education. A Vice President of the USTA Foundation, he has spent the last four years as Chair of the USTA Foundation Opening Night Gala at the US Open and as a member of the Audit Committee. In 2013-14, Mayo served on the USTA Parks & Recreation Committee. In 2015-16, he serves on the USTA National Pro Circuit Committee. That service, coupled with his 16-year-old daughter’s competing on the ITF Junior Circuit, provides him with a unique perspective about junior players and prospective college players. A life-long tennis player, Mayo is a USPTA Member that holds an “Elite Professional” status. He graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Business Administration.