TEMPE, Ariz. – On Wednesday, Arizona State University formally announced the return of its men’s tennis program, revealing another layer of its strategic alliance with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The ASU men’s tennis program, which previously ran from 1902 to 2008, is the first from a Power 5 conference to be reinstated by an institution.
“Arizona State’s announcement of the return of its men’s tennis program is major news for college tennis,” said ITA CEO Timothy Russell. “When the ITA was discussing a possible strategic alliance with ASU, bringing back the men’s tennis program was certainly a core piece of the master plan. It’s a tremendous credit to Ray Anderson, ASU’s Vice President of University Athletics, for making this vision a reality. We’re looking forward to watching the Sun Devils men’s team stepping back onto the courts.”
Arizona State has currently raised $5M to support the reinstatement of the program, with Anderson and his wife, Buffie, personally donating $1M to the cause.
“I am so pleased for Buffie and I to have a personal stake in providing opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Anderson in ASU’s official press release announcing the return of men’s tennis. “Quite frankly, when I initially took the position at Arizona State, I was surprised ASU did not sponsor men’s tennis. With the weather and resources Tempe has to offer, there was no question that adding men’s tennis was on our radar for some time. Our alliance with the ITA was the first step to reenergize and strengthen the tennis community in the Valley, and naturally the next step in our progression was to reinstate men’s tennis.”
The men’s tennis program is the fourth new program added to the Sun Devils athletic family in the last 18 months, running the university’s number of NCAA varsity sports to 26.
“Arizona State University’s decision to bring back men’s tennis is a game-changer for our sport and for college athletics,” said ITA Chief Operating Officer Erica Perkins Jasper. “Not only does it show ASU Athletics’ understanding of the benefits college tennis brings to a campus and community but it also shows their commitment to a complete Olympic sports package. ASU will be setting a tremendous example for other universities — and we are thrilled to be their partner.”
Thoughts on ASU’s Reinstatement of Men’s Tennis
UCLA Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Billy Martin: "I'm very excited to see ASU bring back men's tennis. They were a Top 25 team when the university unfortunately cut the program and I know they will return to the top again in a short time. This is tremendous for the Phoenix/Tempe area, as they have a strong tennis community, great for the Southwest region and fantastic for college tennis to see a program return. The Bruins look forward to many exciting matches against the Sun Devils in the future!"
Cal Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Peter Wright: “Bringing back the men’s tennis program at ASU is exciting news for all of the Pac-12 coaches and for everyone in college tennis. This commitment from ASU is a positive reflection of the popularity of college tennis and of the values ASU shares with the ITA. This move is a step forward for college tennis and will hopefully inspire university leaders around the country to support their tennis programs and consider adding more tennis programs.”
Arizona State Women’s Tennis Head Coach, Shelia McInerney: “We are thrilled to have men’s tennis return to ASU. I applaud President Michael Crow and Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson, for making this possible through their unwavering commitment to Olympic sports. The men’s tennis program at Arizona State has had a rich history of success and I believe with the University’s support men’s tennis at ASU will flourish once again. The addition of our men’s tennis program will be a big boost to tennis in the community and nationally.”
USC Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Peter Smith: “It is a great day for the Pac-12 and college tennis to have such a significant program such as ASU men’s tennis return to NCAA competition. President Michael Crow and Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson deserve so much credit for being able to resurrect the program.”
Virginia Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Brian Boland: "It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that Arizona State University has decided to bring back their men's tennis program. We are in one of the most exciting and challenging times in collegiate tennis and the return of a program with such a storied tradition is a tremendous step in the right direction. I believe we should be thanking ASU Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson and his administration for not only becoming the new home of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), but more importantly for bringing back ASU tennis. The ITA led by Tim Russell has worked hard to make college tennis more relevant than ever. There is no doubt we have challenges ahead, but we are heading in the right direction. I have never been more excited to be part of the college game and all of us who care deeply about our sport have so much to be thankful for.”
About the ITA The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing women's and men’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITAtennis on Twitter.
About ASU Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.