Alabama Women’s Tennis Team Honored with SEC Sportsmanship AwardCourtesy: Alabama Athletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Alabama women’s tennis team has been named the female recipient of the second annual SEC Sportsmanship Award, which was announced by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive on Friday. It is now in the running for the NCAA’s national sportsmanship awards to be announced in July.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized with the SEC Sportsmanship Award,” said head coach Jenny Mainz. “I am extremely proud of the dignity, poise and class that this team demonstrated throughout the season. They are an extraordinary group and played inspiring tennis this year.”
The day before the spring season was set to begin, Mainz received word that her father lost his three-year battle with ALS. The team got together on its own and decided to dedicate its season to Ed Mainz. That night, they went out and purchased black ribbon and made enough pins for everyone to wear including their opponents. The team also found black shoelaces, which they would wear for the entire season, and wrote the initials E.M. on the back of their playing shoes.
Its actions that weekend gained national attention when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association recognized the Crimson Tide as its National Team Sportsmanship Award winner for the month of March. In the ITA’s release about the award it said, “With heavy hearts, the team played every match during the course of the tournament with incredible passion and energy while exhibiting sportsmanship that truly represented themselves as ambassadors of the sport.”
Off the court, the team is heavily involved in ALS awareness taking part in and helping to organize teams for the annual Walk to Defeat ALS.
“We are fortunate to have this caliber of student-athletes at the University and in the Southeastern Conference,” added Mainz. “The character of this team is a testament to the high standard we expect at Alabama.”
Winning the award on the men’s side is Arkansas track & field junior Dorian Ulrey.