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2015 MHOF group
2015 ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Photos and Video Available

Class of 2015 inducted on May 20 in Waco, TX

 

Photo Album

 

SKILLMAN, NJ (June 10) - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association inducted the Class of 2015 into the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame at its annual Enshrinement Banquet on May 20 in Waco, TX.

 

The 2015 class consists of six inductees: coaches Fred Kniffen (University of Texas at Tyler & Tyler Junior College) and Jim Schwitters (University of Hawaii); players Jay Berger (Clemson University), Mark Merklein (University of Florida) and Jeff Morrison (University of Florida); and contributor Tim Russell (Northwestern University), who will begin his new role as CEO of the ITA on July 1.

For detailed information on each inductee, read the Class of 2015 official release. A DVD of the complete ceremony is available for purchase at $20. Please submit an order form to the ITA office if you would like to view the ceremony. Below are short excerpts from the acceptance speeches.


2015 MHOF venue

 

Jay Berger:

"One of the funniest things {while I was at Clemson was when I played} in the US Open and made it to the Round of 16 and I played Yannick Noah. I lost in four sets on center court of the US Open and was interviewed by Brent Musburger, who was a very famous commentator at the time. I got home the next day and coach [Chuck Kriese] did make me play a challenge match to make the team. Two days later, in order to earn a warmup, I had to run the mile in 5:15."

 

Fred Kniffen:

"I rode the bus and attended school in Clyde (Texas). The school had one tennis court and when you reached the fifth grade, you were allowed to play tennis on it during recess. This is where I found my love for the game and my competitive drive. We all ran to the court at recess and the first two kids to get there got to play one game. The winner stayed and the loser went to the end of the line. Winning is a lot more fun."

 

Jim Provines (accepting for Jim Schwitters):

"Coach Jim Schwitters epitomizes the highest standards of the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. He is truly one of the great collegiate coaches in tennis history as evidenced by his teams averaging 21 wins every year over 38 years."

 

Mark Merklein:

"My experience at the University of Florida was amazing. It's a great school and we had the best facilities and we had everything at our fingertips to be successful, but that really had nothing to do with it. It was the people that I met; the relationships, the coaches and my teammates. Usually when someone is successful and does well, it's not that person alone. It's all the people behind him. I really had the right people pushing me along. If it wasn't for them, I would not be standing up here tonight."

 

Jeff Morrison:

"College tennis for me is where almost all of my great memories as a player come from. You've heard Jay and Mark talk about the people, the teammates and the relationships with our coaches. It's really something that I think should be celebrated in college tennis: the teamwork, the camaraderie and the life lessons that are learned that can be transferred into our professional lives and our lives after tennis."

 

Tim Russell:

"St. Benedict in the 6th Century said that, 'service and work is our gift to the future.' It's also great when our work and our play actually become one. Robert Solomon was once asked what gives meaning to life and he answered, 'the meaning of life is found in our passions or it's found nowhere.' For me, I have two passions: higher education and tennis. To volunteer on behalf of college tennis has been an absolute joy."

 

About the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame

The ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, housed at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex, was inaugurated in 1983 and has inducted more than 200 players, coaches and contributors. The ITA Hall of Fame museum displays over 2,000 rare photos and memorabilia.  Its members include the late Arthur Ashe (UCLA), Jimmy Connors (UCLA), John McEnroe (Stanford) and Coach Dick Gould (Stanford). The late Dan Magill, legendary Georgia head men's tennis coach, served as the curator from its inception until 2013. John Frierson is the current curator. For a complete list of the Hall of Fame Inductees, please visit www.itatennis.com.