National Award winners honored at ITA Membership & Awards Banquet
 

National Award winners honored at ITA Membership & Awards Banquet

Former WTA pro Kathy Rinaldi provides keynote address

 

NAPLES, FL (Dec. 15) -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) presented a number of coveted awards Sunday evening at the 2013 ITA Coaches Convention, held at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida. 

 

 ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award winner Bonnie Vona with Timon Corwin, Chair of the USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee.
Timon Corwin, Chair of the USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee, first presented the ITA Collegiate Varsity Awards. The ITA Collegiate Varsity Awards, presented by the USTA, are awarded to a USTA section staff person and volunteer who encourage, promote, organize and execute campus and community tennis programming while working closely with ITA member varsity coaches, colleges and universities.
 
Bonnie Vona was honored with the ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award and Roberta Feldman was recognized as the ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year. 

 

Vona is the Competitive Tennis Manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic section, and she has been a vital part of a number of collegiate showcases, information sessions and forums that help promote varsity college tennis. She helped lead the Adopt-a-Regional initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic section for a third straight year, and this year, the Section was able to work with all four USTA/ITA Regional Championships held in its territory.

 

"It's wonderful to be recognized by the USTA and the ITA. It means so much." Vona said. "This award is also a tribute to the other USTA staff. I hope this gets their attention. It's really important to me that it makes them think that we should do more," she said.

  

2013 ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year Roberta Feldman has been a USTA volunteer for more than 20 years, and has been involved in everything from membership to strategic planning. In addition to having been on the USTA Volunteer National Collegiate Committee for two years and on the Junior Competition Committee, Feldman is now a member and secretary for the USTA Eastern's Junior Tennis Foundation. She has been a valuable volunteer at events such as the USTA Section College Showcase day and other college information sessions. Feldman, who was unable to attend the Convention to receive her award in person, said "It's a pleasure to get to work with wonderful people and be honored for something you enjoy doing."


Corwin next presented Methodist University's Francie Barragan and Florida State University's Dwayne Hultquist with the 2013 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award, one of college tennis' most esteemed awards.

 

The USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award was presented this year to one men's and one women's college coach who provide a leadership role in increasing tennis participation throughout his or her community, both on and off campus. Among the USTA/ITA partner programs available to assist coaches in giving back are Campus Kids' Days, Kids 10 and Under, Campus Showdowns and Tennis On Campus.

USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award winner Francie Barragan of Methodist University with Timon Corwin, Chair of the USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee.

 

Since becoming Methodist University's women's head coach in 2005, Barragan has led the Monarchs to a 163-30 record with seven regular season conference championships, six conference tournament championships and six NCAA Tournament appearances.  In addition to her team's on-court successes, Barragan has led numerous initiatives to get her community more involved in tennis. She regularly hosts USTA/ITA Campus Kids' Days, which help expose junior players, their parents and coaches to varsity college tennis team matches. In addition, Barragan hosts USTA/ITA Campus Showdowns, which are one-day, short format tournaments open to juniors, college players, professionals and adults.

 

Barragan said, "It's incredibly humbling to be honored. Coming from a small Division III school, it's essential for us to be involved with the community, and for our players to get to know local players. It's important to give them that experience."

 

Like Barragan, Hultquist has seen a great deal of success on and off the tennis courts. At the helm of Florida State men's tennis for 15 years,Dwayne Hultquist has turned the Seminoles into one of the top programs in the ACC and the nation.  His 183 career wins are a school record and he's led his team to 11 straight trips to the NCAA Championships. Hultquist brought his program to the forefront of the 10 and Under Tennis initiatives by hosting events during FSU tennis matches in March and April this year, running several after-school programs and working with 500 students from Robert's Elementary School in an all-day event with the FSU tennis team. On campus, the team further supported the growth of tennis by holding a free tennis day during which FSU students got the chance to hit with FSU tennis players.

USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award winner Dwayne Hultquist of Florida State University with Timon Corwin, Chair of the USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee.
On being awarded the 2013 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award, Hultquist says community outreach is something he strongly believes in. "I always try to involve the community. As coaches we want to win, and win at the highest level, but we need to be good role models and inspire other people and encourage them to take part in tennis," he said.

 

Barragan and Hultquist were selected from a group of USTA Sectional winners that included coaches of teams from different divisions. Award applications are open each year to ITA member varsity coaches from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA and Junior & Community Colleges. Sectional winners were Dwayne Hultquist, Florida State University (Florida), Dean Clover, University of Wyoming (Intermountain), Todd Wojtkowski, Case Western Reserve University (Midwest), Ryan Redondo, University of the Pacific (Northern California), Lisa Hart, Washington State University (Pacific Northwest), Francie Barragan, Methodist University (Southern), Erica Perkins Jasper, New Mexico (Southwest) and Michael Hunt, Texas Lutheran University (Texas).

 

Kathy Rinaldi was the keynote speaker at the 2013 ITA Membership and Awards Banquet, courtesy of Wilson Sporting Goods. Rinaldi, a former Top 10 player in both singles and doubles, was coach of the U.S. Fed Cup team under Captain Zina Garrison from 2006 to 2008, and has served as the Touring Pro at the Breakers of Palm Beach, FL, for 10 years. Currently a Lead National Coach, Rinaldi helped present the 2013 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year awards alongside Jeffery Adams, National Sales Manager, Racquet Sports at Wilson Sporting Goods.

The 2013 Wilson/ITA Coaches of the Year seated with Kathy Rinaldi (front row, center) and Jeffery Adams, National Sales Manager, Racquet Sports at Wilson Sporting Goods (back row, far left). 

The 2013 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year award winners for Small College divisions were: Jim Elton, Riverside City College (JuCo men), Gretchen Schantz, Pima Community College (JuCo women), Mattias Johansson, Vanguard University (NAIA men), Alan Green, Xavier University - Louisiana (NAIA women), Paul Settles, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College (Division III men), Alison Swain, Williams College (Division III women), George Samuel, Barry University (Division II) and Lauren Conching, Hawaii Pacific (Division II women).

 

The Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year award is given each year to one men's and one women's coach at each of the Small College divisions: Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College. For all divisions, coaches who are in at least their second year at their current institution are eligible to be nominated. Sportsmanship of both the applicant and his or her players is an important criteria, as is a coach's past honors and contributions made to the sport of tennis. Consideration is also given to the team's improvement compared with the previous year's performance and the team's performance during the coach's entire coaching career. The Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year award is also given at the regional level each year.

 

The 2013 Division I Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year award winners were Sam Winterbotham, University of Tennessee (Division I men) and Jenny Mainz, University of Alabama (Division I women). The Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year award is given each year to one men's and one women's coach at the National Division I level (with 12 Regional winners also being named). To be eligible, a college head coach must have completed a minimum of three years at his or her current school. Strong consideration is given to the team's performance during the current year and during the coach's entire coaching career. Sportsmanship of both the applicant and his or her players is also considered, as is the coach's contribution to the game of tennis. 


The 2013 ITA Coaches Convention concludes on Monday, December 16 with a morning of clinics led by Nick Bollettieri, Winterbotham and Mark Bey and Andrea Norman, and clinics will be followed by a farewell cookout. 

 
An annual event since 1985, the ITA Coaches Convention is one of the best professional development opportunities for collegiate tennis coaches today. Nearly 300 men's and women's college tennis coaches at all levels gather each year for the four-day Convention, which is highlighted by some of the most influential people in the sport of tennis. In addition to offering clinics, panel discussions, an awards banquet, a trade show and a chance to exchange ideas, the ITA Coaches Convention serves as the venue for the association's annual meetings, which includes Board of Directors, Operating Committee and Roundtable sessions. 
 

For more information on the ITA Coaches Convention and ITA Awards program, please visit www.itatennis.com. To view photos from the convention, please visit the ITA Facebook page.

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