USTA President Jon Vegosen (left) and USTA Awards Chair Nancy Rasgado (right)
present ITA Executive Director David Benjamin with the 2011 President's Award.
David Benjamin – USTA President’s Award
Introduction by USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen
It is my great pleasure to present the USTA President’s Award to David Benjamin. The President’s Award is given to an individual who has contributed unusual and extraordinary service to tennis in the public interest.
Varsity college tennis has come a very long way because of David and since the days people of my generation played.
We really only had one season – spring. In the fall, we practiced outside for a couple of months, but there were no competitions with other schools and no tournaments. In the winter, it was the same, but the practices were few and far between. At Northwestern, we pretty much practiced with one another, but it was usually late at night on the wood floor of a basketball court. The only tournament we had in the Big Ten was the Conference Championship and, if we were lucky enough, the NCAA Championships.
Fast forward to today. It’s a whole different world of varsity college tennis – an incredibly rich experience replete with exciting tournaments, fierce competition, awards for players and coaches, a summer circuit, campus showdowns, kids’ days, and a governing body that is the watchdog of varsity college tennis. And the reason that varsity tennis has been transformed is because of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the vision and passion of its Executive Director, David Benjamin, over the past three decades.
Today, the ITA is both the conscience and the voice of varsity college tennis. It advocates and fights for college tennis. As the governing body of college tennis:
• It organizes the tournaments that collegiate players compete in,
• It bestows the awards that players and coaches receive, and
• It helps educate our coaches on a host of best practices, including how to safeguard their programs.
The USTA could not have a better, more strategic partner than David Benjamin and the ITA. David, great thanks to you and the ITA for your tremendous support of our sport and hearty congratulations on your well deserved recognition today.