Trinity (TX) University Honored with Inaugural Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award
Award dedicated to the late Gustavus Adolphus head coach
SKILLMAN, NJ (Feb. 26) - After making their first appearance in the finals and claiming the program's first-ever title at the Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship, hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College, the Trinity (TX) Tigers will be adding another first. Trinity head coach Russell McMindes' squad has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award.
|The Trinity (TX) Tigers displayed tremendous sportsmanship over the course of the three day event|
"This is an exciting time for our program," stated McMindes. "I'm particularly honored to win the inaugural award, as I, and our team, have always held Coach Wilkinson and the Gustavus program in such high regard. This one is really special, and I'm very proud of my guys."
The Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award is dedicated to the memory of Steve Wilkinson, long time Gustavus Adolphus men's head tennis coach and founder of Tennis & Life Camps. The award is presented to the team that has displayed exceptional sportsmanship, character, and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and college tennis during the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship each year.
The Trinity Tigers exhibited a high level of tennis as well as a high level of sportsmanship throughout the weekend. The team found itself in numerous tense moments during its run to winning the championship, but was always able to handle their emotions well and display outstanding conduct.
"They are a deserving winner," said Gustavus Adolphus head coach and former player under Steve Wilkinson, Tommy Valentini. "They compete at a very high level and do it with a great spirit of sportsmanship. They represent the combination of tennis excellence and sportsmanship that Coach believed was at the heart of Division III and the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship. They are a great choice for the first-ever Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award."
|Gustavus head coach Tommy Valentini spoke with each team about the legacy of Steve Wilkinson|
With Wilkinson having devoted more than four decades of his life to Division III tennis, including playing a key role in founding and developing the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship, this award is a welcomed addition.
"Coach Wilkinson was one of the key forces behind the birth of the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship," explained Valentini. "He loved the event for the level of play and sportsmanship that it brought out in the top Division III teams in the country. It is fitting, then, that the ITA has created the Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award to be a part of this and all Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championships. He would be pleased to have an award that celebrates sportsmanship at this great event, and we at Gustavus are thrilled and grateful that the ITA has chosen to name it in honor of our legendary Coach."
It is no coincidence that Trinity has been recognized as this year's recipient, as the combination of winning tennis and sportsmanship is something the Tigers are always aiming to display.
"I appreciate the other coaches feeling my players were deserving of this award," added McMindes. "Here at Trinity, we have always tried to instill in our players that we can and will be successful, but we will do it the right way. Having the success we did this weekend and then being rewarded with this award helps validate that message."
About the ITA
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches representing over 1,200 institutions, administers numerous regional and national championships and the ITA College Tennis Rankings for over 20,000 college varsity student-athletes at 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 ITAtennis.com.