SKILLMAN, NJ – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced today that Mike Sprouse has been appointed as its new Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer. He will begin work in this role on August 31, 2015. Sprouse will focus on raising the profile of college tennis and its programs, players and coaches, while enhancing sponsorship opportunities for new supporters, establishing marketing plans to build the ITA brand and playing a key role in the output of the ITA’s new strategic plan by helping to effectively showcase all aspects of the sport.
In announcing the appointment, ITA CEO Timothy Russell pointed to the vast landscape of intercollegiate athletics in remarking, “Given the breadth and depth of our planned efforts, as the ITA seeks to serve all of college tennis in raising the profile of our sport and Association, the addition of Mike Sprouse to our team is a major coup. He shares many of the same visions about what college tennis can be, and his marketing expertise, along with the assets and business relationships he's built in the last 20 years, will be greatly beneficial to us.”
Sprouse brings a strong background in business and marketing to the ITA. He started his career developing and marketing sports collectibles endorsed by all the major sports leagues, and co-founded a successful e-commerce business at the age of 24. Sprouse also spent over 10 years in executive positions in entertainment and digital/online advertising. He most recently founded his own marketing and creative consultancy which helps clients across sports, entertainment, fashion, technology and financial services industries create and execute business, marketing and growth strategies.
"Mike's business and marketing background, as well as his track record in college tennis as a former competitor, are strong assets that will serve the ITA well at this very important time for us,” said ITA COO Erica Perkins Jasper “We have large goals for college tennis, and Mike clearly knows how to convert complex objectives into plans that are actionable and effective given his success in marketing.”
Sprouse’s tennis career started as a junior player in the USTA New England section. As an 18-under player, he was ranked No. 1 in singles in New England and was part of the top-ranked doubles tandem in the country. He was a three-time scholastic All-American and state singles champion, and became the No. 1 player in singles and doubles at the University of Notre Dame. Sprouse won the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for leadership and sportsmanship in 1995.
“The announcement of Mike's joining the ITA is great news for college tennis and its followers,” said Bobby Bayliss, ITA Hall of Famer and retired Notre Dame Men’s tennis coach. “Mike's highly successful business career coupled with his intrinsic love and understanding for college tennis is a win-win for the ITA. And let's not forget what a great college player he was at number one singles and doubles on some of our better Notre Dame teams in the nineties. He has kept his pulse on tennis since then, and it is exciting to see him join our sport in a leadership capacity.”
Sprouse is originally from Fairfield, Connecticut, and now resides in the suburbs of Chicago. He graduated with honors from the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame with a degree in Accounting.
“I am incredibly humbled to have the chance to serve college tennis with Tim, Erica and the rest of the ITA team,” Sprouse said. “The opportunity to grow our sport is here and I’m eager to bring everything I’ve learned in my career back to tennis. Our thousands of fans, coaches, student-athletes, supporters and friends work hard every day to grow the game. I hope to add to their efforts by helping make tennis the example of success across collegiate athletics.”
About the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing men's and women'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.