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DeSales Photo-2018-03-01

By Dan Johnson

ITA Director of Communications & Marketing

TEMPE, Ariz. – Drab and cold winter days are giving way to longer bursts of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Spring is nearly here and with it, the thick of the college tennis dual match season.

All five divisions of collegiate tennis are taking to the courts to take part in spirited competition across the country. It’s an exciting time, but for those programs that are new to the landscape, or returning after a prolonged absence, there’s an even greater joy in being out on the courts.

DeSales Makes Splash In Return
DeSales University made the decision to reinstate its men’s and women’s tennis teams in 2015, with a projected return to competition a year later. David Kurvink, who was hired to be the head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams was excited, but knew he had a lot of work to do.

“My first goal was to field a team, so I wasn’t too picky,” Kurvink said. “It was hard trying to recruit without having a team. I had to get active in the community and let them know we had a tennis program. We were lucky to have a handful of tennis players already on campus. I looked for kids that could mesh with our program.”

The Bulldogs, competing in Division III, not only fielded tennis teams for the first time since 2010, but they excelled in the first year back.
The women’s team finished with an impressive 17-3 record and second-place finish in MAC Freedom conference. The men’s team would post a 6-10 record and qualified for the postseason tournament for the second time in school history. For his efforts, Kurvink was named MAC Freedom Coach of the Year for both men’s and women’s tennis.

In the fall, the men were a perfect 4-0, while the women were 3-1. Both teams begin the spring seasons this weekend.

Historic Day For Angelo State
On February 10, 2018, Angelo State hosted its first college tennis match in over 30 years, as the women hosted St. Edward’s University.

Last year, the ITA caught up with head coach Chris Bizot to discuss his road to the Angelo State job and how he envisioned building the program back. You can read the full interview here.

Sun Devils Off To Fast Start
In May of 2016, Arizona State University formally reinstated its men’s tennis program, which was shut down following the 2008 season. The Sun Devils, under the guidance of head coach Matt Hill, have immediately made an impact on the Division I landscape. Arizona State enjoyed a good showing in the 2017 Fall season, with players competing in the Oracle ITA Masters and Oracle ITA National Fall Championships.

The dual match season began with much fanfare for Arizona State, who kicked off the spring campaign with a home contest against Duke, the last team ASU played in 2008. You can read a full report from that historic day here.

Last week, Arizona State took home the Blue Gray Tennis Classic title after dispatching of previously-unbeaten Alabama, and as a result, the Sun Devils are No. 13 in the latest Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Division I Men’s National Team Rankings.

“We are so excited here at Arizona State to have the Men's Tennis program back,” Hill said. “Not only to compete for our university, but also to serve the Phoenix tennis community. I can't say enough about Ray and Buffie Anderson, who not only invested the seed money to restart the program, but equally as important create the vision for what ASU tennis can become. We would also like to thank our partners at adidas, particularly Mark King, president of adidas, for their generous contributions to our program being reinstated. Our desire is that other athletic departments will follow suit as they see the tremendous value tennis brings within college athletics and to the communities we live in. Tennis is truly a sport that historically has created some of the world leaders in different industries. It's time for a paradigm shift in how we think about student athlete opportunities.”

“Exciting to bring men’s tennis back”
The University of Montevallo is another in the list of institutions that have added or reinstated a tennis program, having added a men’s tennis team to its athletic program offerings.
Playing in NCAA Division II, Montevallo is off to a nice start in 2018 with a 7-1 record heading into March.

"With so many programs and sports being cut across the nation, it is extremely exciting to bring Men's Tennis back into play at Montevallo,” said head coach Adam Albertsen, who also coaches the women’s team. “Throughout the entire process we have received great support from our entire community. It was a very rewarding seeing the team come together and compete at a high level this fall. The energy and enthusiasm the team has brought to the campus has been a tremendous addition."

Added Programs 2016-17 
Angelo State (women)
Arizona State (men)
Brewton Parker College (men & women) 
Ottawa University (men & women) 
DeSales (men & women)
Shawnee State University (men) 
University of Montevallo (men)
Mount Vernon Nazarene University (men & women)
Sterling College (men & women) 
Texas Wesleyan (men)