2015 Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award Winners Announced
Winners receive internships at Wilson's global headquarters in Chicago
SKILLMAN, NJ (May 13) -- The ITA announced today that Patrick Kuhle of Quincy University and Joey Swaysland of the University of Oregon have been selected as the 2015 Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award winners. Both Kuhle and Swaysland will receive a paid summer internship to work at Wilson's global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, in its Grassroots Marketing department.
The Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award recognizes two student-athletes who advance the game of tennis by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities, and by supporting and bringing awareness to their school program and to college tennis in general.
Kuhle, a junior at Quincy University, is studying Public Relations, Marketing and Graphic Design. Captain of the Quincy tennis team, Kuhle writes press releases for the team, manages the program's Twitter account and is President of Quincy's Student Athlete Activities Committee.
Kuhle has been very involved with the promotion of the Quincy program in the community by teaching tennis at local schools, and by linking together the university tennis program with the Quincy Tennis Association and Quincy Park District.
"We do a lot of things with kids in the Quincy community," Kuhle said. "Just to get a racket in their hands is really good. It's not often the first choice for a lot of parents to get their kids into, but we like to introduce it to them as much as we can."
Throughout the school year Kuhle writes stories for The Falcon, the university newspaper. He also works as a cameraman during volleyball and basketball events. The template for managing a demanding schedule while promoting the sport comes from his father.
"My dad's a role model for me in that category," Kuhle said. "He just loves the game and he does as much as he can to promote it, both where we live and on a national scale. I really love tennis and it definitely needs people to promote the game."
Kuhle has also held positions as a Press Aide for the USTA/Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Classic and as a Community Relations Intern with St. Mary's Hospital. Writing and sending press releases and newsletters, and creating flyers, graphics and advertisements have been among his promotional duties in those ventures.
"I'm very honored to win this award. There are a lot of people out there doing a lot of great things for tennis, and the fact that I was one of two people to win is pretty humbling," Kuhle said.
"I'm just very excited to work with Wilson this summer. Having the opportunity to work with a company on the scale of Wilson is pretty exciting."
After completing the internship this summer, Kuhle has high hopes set for his senior season on court. "For our team, our goal every year is to make our conference tournament. It's a tough conference. This past season was the first time we've made the tournament since I've been on the team, and our goal is to do it again. And for myself, I really want to make the All-Conference team next year. I've never done that before as a player. I'll be playing No. 1 singles this coming season so I just really want to compete well and hopefully make the All-Conference Team."
Joey Swaysland, who will graduate in December from the University of Oregon with a degree in General Social Science, Applied Business and Economics, transferred to Oregon after two years at the University of Texas and quickly became the team's leader, exhibiting passion for being a part of a team and for the sport. He worked tirelessly during the team's Kids and Fan Days and in local tennis club fundraisers, helping to grow the team's popularity and presence in the local tennis community.
"We needed to promote tennis in the community, to get out there and make sure everyone knew about our program and was invested and interested in it," Swaysland said. He focused his promotional efforts on the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club, creating a program where teammates would partner with club members to give hands-on experience in their tennis development while also building relationships within the community.
On campus, Swaysland elevated the team's Instagram presence by promulgating his team's schedule, latest results and graphics to the Oregon student body. Like Kuhle, Swaysland was his team's representative on the Student Athlete Activities Council, and he helped coordinate student-athlete participation for the Marathon Kids program, illustrating the facets of a healthy lifestyle to 10,000 elementary students. Before the season, Oregon hosted a Kids Day.
"We had young kids come out before our season and we'd do a sample of drills for them," said Swaysland, "and we made sure they enjoyed their experience. We put them through drills and exercises and just anything to enrich their thoughts on the game of tennis."
Swaysland found success through all of these initiatives, increasing the team's home audience and awareness in the local community. He took on additional responsibilities while serving as a co-captain of the tennis team and those efforts have been rewarded. "I was very excited to win the award and internship," said Swaysland. "Wilson is a leading brand in tennis, I'm really looking forward to heading up to Chicago to learn from the industry leader and gain experience in the tennis world."
"Our congratulations to Patrick and Joey," David A Benjamin, Executive Director of the ITA, said. "This unique Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award presents a wonderful opportunity for students to be recognized for their promotional efforts of their varsity tennis programs and tennis in general. Patrick and Joey have both been outstanding in their efforts to promote collegiate tennis, and this award will provide them with a great experience as summer interns with Wilson Sporting Goods, a leader in the tennis industry."
"We are excited to welcome Joey and Patrick to our Wilson Team for the summer," said Tim Buwick, U.S. Promotions Director for Wilson Sporting Goods Racquet Sports Division. "The 2015 Wilson/ITA Promoter of the Year Award is a high honor and they are truly deserving. We are excited, both for them and for us. Having two such high-quality individuals working in our global headquarters will surely be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. We look forward to having them here in Chicago."