Williams Men, Hope Women Receive
April ITA National Team Sportsmanship Awards
SKILLMAN, NJ (April 15) - The Williams College men's and Hope College women's tennis teams have been honored as recipients of the 2015 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Sportsmanship Award for the month of April.
The ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award is a monthly award that goes to one men's and one women's team that have exemplified outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis. The winners are selected by the ITA Ethics and Infractions Committee from nominations received from all ITA member institutions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges). This monthly award began in 2004.
Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, competes at the Division III level and is coached by Dan Greenberg, a 2008 Williams alumnus. Greenberg was NESCAC Player of the Year and ITA Northeast Region Senior Player of the Year in his senior season, and was a three-time ITA All-American. His celebrated career led him back to Williams one year after graduation, and Greenberg coached the team to a Division III National Championship in 2013, its first since 2002.
Williams was nominated for the Team Sportsmanship Award for combining tremendous sportsmanship with spirited play. "This award means a lot to us, especially since our guys are being recognized by fellow coaches and programs who we truly respect," said Greenberg. "Like them, we try to compete our hardest in every match, which means it can get intense, but playing and acting with integrity is always the top priority."
"We talk a lot about integrity and how that means playing with heart but not letting that cloud our respect for our opponents, teammates, and the game," he added. "I try to remind our guys in practice and matches (myself included) that winning is less important than competing hard with class."
Hope College, a Division III school in Holland, Michigan, is in its third year at the helm of head coach Adam Ford. Ford guided the Flying Dutch to a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in his first season and a runner-up finish in his second, and he has his squad back in first place this year midway through the 2015 spring season.
Ford's Flying Dutch were nominated for the ITA Team Sportsmanship for competing at the pinnacle of ethical conduct and for good sportsmanship over many years, and his team is said to be "a throwback to the days of old when tennis was all about honor and a good fair fight on the court."
"We spend a lot of time working on ourselves as people," said Ford about his team. "We ask the girls the question, 'What person are you becoming because of the sport of tennis?' We focus only on the things we can control, not the things that we can't."
"Winning an award like this means a lot," Ford added. "We try so hard in practice and in matches to be the best sports possible. We are far from perfect, but to know that a team nominated us for this award is a reminder that we are focused on the correct character traits."
Hope College holds a 15-4 record this season, while Williams College has won seven of its last ten matches to stand at 8-6.
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 and women 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.