SKILLMAN, N.J. - The 24th annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Coaches Convention took place at the Naples Grande Resort in Naples, Fla., December 12-15, 2008.
The ITA Coaches Convention is one of the best professional development opportunities for collegiate tennis coaches today. Nearly 300 men's and women's college tennis coaches from all divisions gathered for this year's convention at Naples. The four-day convention was highlighted by some of the most influential people in the sport of tennis. Among this year’s clinicians were: tennis legend Stan Smith, renowned tennis coach Nick Saviano and former No. 1 in the world in doubles Kelly Jones. Several of the nation’s top collegiate coaches were also on hand for instructional clinics.
In addition to offering clinics, panel discussions, an awards banquet, a trade show and a chance to exchange ideas, the ITA Coaches Convention served as the venue for the association’s annual meetings, which include the ITA Board of Director and Operating Committee and General Membership meetings.
Among the convention highlights was the ITA Welcoming and Awards Banquet on Dec. 13 honoring the 2008 Wilson/ITA National Coaches of the Year and the USTA/ITA National Community Outreach and Campus Recreation Award winners. Zina Garrison was this year’s featured speaker. During Garrison’s career, she was a women's singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990, a three-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion and a women's doubles Gold Medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games. Founded in 1993, she has championed the cause of providing opportunities for Houston's youth through a program designed around tennis instruction and personal growth. The academy annually reaches more than 1,200 children, ages 4-18, from all races, socioeconomic groups and tennis levels.
“The convention is always a very exciting time of the year for our Coaches Association,” ITA Executive Director David A Benjamin said. “Besides being able to take in great clinics and workshops at a beautiful resort in a great city, the coaches also have a forum to meet and discuss the important issues within college tennis today.”
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, presented by the USTA, and the ITA Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA web site is www.itatennis.com.