TEMPE, AZ – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the not-for profit governing body of college tennis, is excited to announce the newly expanded Board of Directors, whose work will begin July 1, 2018.
In 2016, the ITA Board was reorganized after many years to include both ITA member coaches as well as non-coaches, working together to support the Association and the sport of college tennis.
Following a successful initial two-year term of that Board, the ITA Bylaws were amended to provide an expanded Board structure. The current 17-person Board approved to allow two additional members, bringing the new Board total to a maximum of 19. The newly structured ITA Board will now utilize staggered terms, with elections for new members occurring annually moving forward.
The next ITA Board will be comprised of 19 directors, seven of whom will be ITA Member Coaches, and two of whom shall include the Chairman of the Board (Jon Vegosen) and the ITA CEO (Timothy Russell). The remaining ten individuals come from various walks of life, such as higher education, business, law, medicine, sports science, technology, media, entertainment, and philanthropy. Eleven of the current ITA Board members will be returning. This will provide continuity, but it will also allow fresh perspectives to add value to Board discussions.
“I want to thank all of the current Board members for their dedication to the ITA and their excellent ideas, guidance, and contributions,” said Vegosen. “It has been an honor to work with all of them. At the same time, thanks to our superb Nominating Committee, we will have outstanding new members joining the Board in July. Tim Russell and I are looking forward to working with both the returning and the new Board members on behalf of our association and college tennis.”
ITA CEO Tim Russell added: “Our sport and our Association are most fortunate to have such a committed Board of Directors working enthusiastically on behalf of our coaches, programs, and student-athletes. A special thank you to Jon Vegosen for his magnificent leadership and to our dedicated executive committee. I am confident that our Board will continue to attend to the big picture needs of the ITA conscientiously and meticulously and work intently to insure a bright future for college tennis.”
The following individuals will comprise the new ITA Board, effective July 1, 2018. New Board members have an asterisk next to their names:
Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board of the ITA, is a founding member of the 37-year-old Chicago corporate and litigation law firm Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. A long-time volunteer, leader, advocate, fundraiser and connector for tennis at all levels, Vegosen served as the 2011-2012 Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and Chairman of the US Open. He has served on other tennis boards, including the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the USTA Foundation. Vegosen has a passion for collegiate tennis and education. During his USTA Presidency, he created the Tennis and Higher Education Task Force to promote the importance of every American youngster obtaining a college education – and that tennis is the sport of opportunity for achieving this goal. Vegosen played tennis at Northwestern University. He was captain his junior and senior years, selected to the All Big-Ten Team, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Vegosen attended Northwestern University School of Law, graduating Cum Laude. He has been inducted into the following Halls of Fame: ITA Men’s Collegiate, Northwestern University Athletics, USTA/Midwest Section, and Chicago Tennis. Vegosen has received many awards for his outstanding service and devotion to the sport of tennis, including the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Dr. Timothy Russell is President and Chief Executive Officer of the ITA. Russell spent three decades as a distinguished educator at two major Division I schools (as Professor at Arizona State University and formerly at The Ohio State University), as well as at the University of Rochester, a leading Division III institution. In addition to his academic achievements, Russell has also been a highly successful entrepreneur, with a leadership role in the development of two renowned American non-profit institutions. Russell is also well known in the tennis world, including for his work as a long-time USTA volunteer and current member of the Board of Directors of the Tennis Industry Association. He has been inducted into the following tennis Halls of Fame: ITA Men’s Collegiate, USTA Southwest, and USTA Central Arizona. A passionate tennis devotee and tireless and thoughtful executive, Russell has built creatively on the impressive foundation that his predecessor, David Benjamin, so ably constructed for the ITA.
ITA MEMBER COACHES:
Steve Bickham* is men’s head tennis coach at Pomona & Pitzer Colleges. Bickham has completed five seasons as the head coach of men's tennis at Pomona-Pitzer, and in that time has lifted the program to new heights. The program has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the ITA National poll and climbed as high as No. 3 in the national ranking in 2015. Under Bickham’s guidance, the Sagehens have also claimed nine individual All American honors. In 2015, Bickham was recognized as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region Coach of the Year and in 2014 the program received the USTA Sectional Community Outreach Award in Southern California.
Bickham arrived at Pomona-Pitzer in the summer of 2013 with over 25 years of experience in the tennis industry, as a player and coach, in private industry, and in the non-profit sector. His most recent position was that of Executive Director for the USTA Idaho District where he helped bring the 2013 Davis Cup Quarter-final tie (USA vs Serbia) to Boise, Idaho. He has also held coaching stints at Northern Arizona University as the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach, and at Arizona State University as Men’s Assistant Tennis Coach. Bickham is a 1987 ITA Division I All American and in 2016 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Tennis Hall of Fame.
Michael Center* is the men’s head tennis coach for the University of Texas. Center has maintained the Longhorns' standing among the nation’s elite collegiate tennis programs in his 17 seasons at Texas and 26 campaigns overall as a collegiate head coach. He has 16 conference titles, 9 regular-season and 7 conference tournament titles. Center, a four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and the 2007 U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) National College Coach of the Year, he has instilled in his players a strong work ethic and competitive spirit that have resulted in both team success and individual accolades. Center holds a 504-198 (.718) career record and a 346-130 (.727) mark at Texas while guiding the Longhorns to appearances in the NCAA Championship in all his 17 seasons in Austin, including three trips to the final four. Center's Longhorns finished strong in 2017, as Texas won three matches at the NCAA Championships, and reached the national quarterfinals. With Center at the helm, Texas made its first NCAA finals showing in 2008, advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2006 and 2009 and finished in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2014 and 2017. UT reached the round of 16 on seven other occasions (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2016). The Longhorns achieved their highest final national ranking (No. 3) in 2006 under Center. Sixteen of Center's Longhorns have earned 28 ITA All-American honors since his arrival at Texas in 2000.
Grant Chen*, Named the new men’s tennis head coach at SMU on June 5, 2018, Chen joins SMU after serving as Associate Head Coach for UCLA men’s tennis. He was Director of Operations for the Bruins’ men’s tennis team for five seasons prior to being named assistant coach. In his first year as associate head coach, the Bruins swept the singles and doubles titles at the 2016 NCAA Tennis Championships. Mackenzie McDonald won the singles crown and then paired with Martin Redlicki to take home the doubles championship. UCLA has reached the national semifinals twice (2012 and 2014) and the final once (2013) in his tenure as Billy Martin’s top assistant. UCLA has won the Pac-12 Conference regular season title four times and Pac-12 Tournament title three times since Chen joined the coaching staff. In his spare time, Chen has organized several tennis charity events around the country. On the coaching side, Chen served as head coach of the UCLA Club Tennis Team from 2007-10. He coached the team to a pair of Southern California Regional Championships in 2007 and 2008, including a third-place national finish in 2010. Chen was a member of the club tennis team from 2005-2006, winning both the Fall and Spring Intramural events at UCLA while leading the team to a regional title and a top 5 finish at nationals. Chen coached Team USA at World University Games in August 2017 helping Hart/Staggs win bronze medal in mix doubles. Chen has also coached many USTA Southern California team functions and currently serves on the Board of Directors for USTA Southern California.
Lauren Conching* is the head women’s tennis coach and assistant athletic director at Hawai'i Pacific University. As head coach, Conching holds an overall record of 131-37 with six trips to the NCAA National Championships, including four semifinal appearances and an additional quarterfinal berth. She has had five players named ITA All-Americans. In her first season, Conching guided the then-Sea Warriors to a final ITA ranking of No. 6 in the country after an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA National Championships. Conching was named ITA/Wilson Women's Tennis National Coach of the Year in 2013 as she steered the Sea Warriors to a 19-2 record and a semifinal finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships. In 2014, the Sharks went 20-7, falling to eventual champion, Barry University in the semifinals. Prior to becoming head coach, Conching spent five seasons as an assistant at HPU under Stefan Pampulov. In all five of those seasons, HPU reached the NCAA National Championships. In 2010, she was named the ITA National Assistant Coach of the year. Conching also works for the HPU athletics department as the Assistant Athletics Director. She is in charge of apparel and branding for the department, marketing and promotional materials for the various athletics teams and assisting throughout multiple facets within the department. Conching attended Collin County College in Plano, Texas, where she lettered in tennis. There she won the 2001 National Junior College doubles title and placed second at NJCAA nationals with her team. In 2002, Conching transferred to Stony Brook University in New York where she finished her eligibility and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and journalism. Upon graduation, she remained in New York and worked for CBS Sports until 2006, when she decided to return home to Hawaii. Her husband, Hendrik Bode, is the head coach of the men’s tennis team at Hawai´i Pacific, and they have a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter named Lana. Both serve as members of the inaugural ITA Division II Operating Committee in 2017-18. In addition, Conching sits on the NCAA Coaches Commission, the ITA West Regional Ranking Committee, the ITA West Regional Award Committee, and the ITA Ethics Committee.
Geoff Macdonald, Vanderbilt University’s longest-tenured coach, is in his 25th season as the head coach of the women’s tennis team. Vanderbilt won the 2015 Division I National Team Championship. During the previous 21 seasons, Macdonald, the three-time SEC Coach of the Year and current Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year placed the Commodores among the nation’s elite programs on a consistent basis. Macdonald has earned three Coach of the Year honors, including SEC recognition for his 2001 team. As a player at the University of Virginia, Macdonald capped off a successful collegiate career by winning the ACC singles title in 1981. Macdonald was named the ACC’s Most Valuable Player and won the league’s Sportsmanship Award.
Alison Swain is the women's tennis head coach at USC, following a 10-year stint at Williams College. During her time at Williams, Swain led the Ephs to eight NCAA Division III titles, including the 2017 NCAA Division III title. Under Swain’s leadership, Williams was 48-2 in NCAA Tournament play. Swain was the 2013 ITA National Coach of the Year and the ITA Northeast Coach of the Year 2010 and 2013. Swain was co-captain of the first Williams team to win the NCAA Championship (in 2001). She also became the second coach in any division to win the NCAA Championship as both a player (2001) and a coach (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017). Swain is believed to be the first collegiate coach on any level to lead her team to six NCAA titles in her first six years as a head coach. Only Williams and Stanford have won six consecutive NCAA women’s tennis titles.
Vince Westbrook is the director of tennis, men’s head tennis coach and senior associate athletic director at The University of Tulsa. During his tenure, which has included coaching both the men’s and women’s tennis teams, Westbrook has built some of the top tennis programs in the nation. One of Westbrook’s greatest achievements at Tulsa was the construction of the state of the art Michael D. Case Tennis Center. By raising private donations, Westbrook distinguished himself as one of the nation’s top fundraisers for collegiate athletics and tennis. Westbrook also played an integral role in landing Tulsa the right to host the 2004 Men’s NCAA Championships and the 2008 and 2016 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Tennis Championships. Westbrook was instrumental in Tulsa hosting one of the nation’s premier collegiate tennis events at the Case Center, now called the Saint Francis Health Systems ITA All-American Men’s Tennis Championships. Westbrook has long-standing service on the NCAA National Tennis Committee, including being Region V Chairman. During the past 15 years, he served on the ITA National Board of Directors and the ITA Operating Committee. For the last eight years, he has administered ‘First Serve,’ which gives free tennis instruction to inner-city and underprivileged kids in the Tulsa community.
Ray Anderson* is the Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director at Arizona State University. Anderson was named Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director on January 9, 2014 and has quickly redefined the collegiate athletics landscape over the course of his tenure at ASU. Anderson was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Minorities in Sports in February 2016, noting that he had “helped position the Sun Devils as one of the most innovative brands in college sports.” Highly influential in the world of collegiate athletics, Anderson is a board member of the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame, a member of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee, Chair of the new Ad Hoc NCAA Competition Committee, and most recently the Green Sports Alliance. While national trends lean toward downsizing athletics departments and eliminating non-revenue generating sporting programs, Anderson has made it his mission to not only add NCAA Division I sports at Arizona State but also expand educational and scholarship opportunities for future Sun Devil student-athletes. In May 2016, Sun Devil Athletics announced the reinstatement of the men's tennis program at Arizona State – an act made possible through a $1M lead gift from Anderson himself and his wife, Buffie. The donation came just a month after Sun Devil Athletics announced a strategic alliance with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) to leverage the resources of a research-based University to grow the sport of tennis locally, nationally, and globally.
Anderson joined the Sun Devil Family after serving as the executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League (NFL) since August 2006. A Los Angeles, California native, Anderson earned a BA in political science from Stanford in 1976 and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1979. He was an all-league high school quarterback and shortstop, and a three-year football letterman and two-year baseball letterman at Stanford. Anderson co-founded the sports law practice at Heller, Ehrman, a prominent San Francisco firm, in 1980 and entered the sports agency business in 1984 when he opened the West Coast office for Sports Advisors Group. In 1987, he launched his own agency, AR Sports, specializing in the representation of NFL coaches and players and later adding Major League Baseball players. Anderson merged his agency with Octagon in 2001. From May 2002 to July 2006, Anderson served as executive vice president of administration for the Atlanta Falcons, prior to his move to the NFL headquarters in August 2006.
BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL, SPORTS, MEDIA:
Stephen Butzlaff* is a highly experienced tennis volunteer at the district, section and national levels. As President of the Chicago District Tennis Association, Chicago Tennis Patrons Board and, later, the USTA/Midwest Section and Midwest Youth Tennis and Education Foundation, he was responsible for fund raising, innovation and growth of the game. His leadership then extended to the National level, including Council Chair, USTA Board Budget Committee, Nomination Task Force, Vice Chairman of Section Presidents, Membership Innovation Study Group, Membership and Marketing Committee. He currently serves on the USTA Foundation Advisory Board. He is especially proud of his efforts at introducing the Green Dot Ball into tournament play. One of his most rewarding projects was to co-found the Shoreline Tennis Association CTA, located in Waukegan IL. Shoreline built two tennis courts in a reclaimed park and has introduced over 1600students under the age of 16 to tennis – all without incurring any salary or administration costs. Butzlaff’s son William was formally a nationally ranked junior who played tennis at Gustavus Adolphus. Butzlaff’s numerous awards include Family of the Year (CDTA), Paul Dean Volunteer of the Year (CDTA), Chicago Hall of Fame and the Mel Bergman Award (Midwest).
William Dutton has been playing tennis for over 50 years, including four years of college tennis at Princeton University, where he was captain of the team in 1975 and 1976. He has had a 37-year career in the investment industry as a securities analyst, portfolio manager, and business owner. A Registered Certified Public Accountant, Bill is currently a Partner and Senior Advisor at Skyline Asset Management, L.P. in Chicago. Skyline manages a small cap equity mutual fund called AMG Managers Skyline Special Equities Fund and manages separate equity portfolios for institutional investors. Dutton is a tremendous supporter of the ITA and other tennis causes.
Harold Edwards is President & CEO of the Limoneira Company (NASDAQ: LMNR) a 125-year-old agricultural, real estate and community development company. He previously was the president of Puritan Medical Products, a division of Airgas Inc. Prior to that, he held management positions with Fisher Scientific International, Inc., Cargill, Inc., Agribrands International and the Ralston Purina Company. Based in Santa Paula, California, Edwards has served on several corporate boards. He is a global business executive with proven abilities in strategic planning, financial management, marketing/sales management, cultural management, improving efficiency of manufacturing operations, executing business plans, team building, and motivating people. Edwards received his BA from Lewis and Clark College and his MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). A high-level tennis player, Edwards has raised considerable sums for tennis projects in California.
Molly Fletcher* is the founder and CEO of The Molly Fletcher Company. Fletcher, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University while captaining the tennis team, is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. A popular author and motivational speaker, she shares the unconventional techniques that helped her thrive as one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur. As president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Fletcher recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. She’s been featured in ESPN, Fast Company, Forbes and Sports Illustrated and has inspired audiences around the world with her keynote speeches. Fletcher also shares her proven approach to negotiating in her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops. She is the author of four books: Fearless at Work; A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; The Business of Being the Best; and, The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career.
Neel Grover is the founder and CEO of Indi.com, a video engagement and shopping platform. Neel was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Rakuten.com, Buy.com and Bluefly.com where he led great teams and sold over $5 Billion of products online competing with Amazon. Neel helped lead Buy.com to its sale in 2010 to Rakuten, after transforming Buy.com from a negative $100 Million per year loss to 13 consecutive profitable quarters. Grover was previously on the Boards of PrimeSport, Rakuten USA, Linkshare, Coastal.com and Buy.com, an Executive Operating Partner for Clearlake Capital and a member of the Executive Committee for noon. Previously Grover was a corporate securities lawyer at Brobeck and Jones Day. Grover received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law, Order of The Coif, and his B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Irvine where he was Captain of the Division I Men's Tennis Team. Grover was Captain of the 2013 US National Men’s 40s National Team and participated in the World Championships in Turkey. A talented competitive tennis player, Grover has won several national championships and is currently No. 1 in the U.S. in Men’s Doubles 40s and 45s.
Dr. Mark Kovacs is a performance physiologist, researcher, sports executive, professor, author, speaker and coach. He runs a consulting firm focused on optimizing human performance by the practical application of cutting edge science to national federations, major professional sports leagues, leading universities and start-up firms. Kovacs formerly directed the Sport Science, Strength & Conditioning and Coaching Education departments for the USTA. Kovacs was the Director of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and an executive with PepsiCo. He serves as the Executive Director of the International Tennis Performance Association (the “iTPA”). He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and a Certified Tennis Performance Specialist and Master Tennis Performance Specialist through the iTPA. In 2012, he was the youngest ever recipient of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award. In 2014, he received the US Olympic Committee Doc Counsilman Science Award for his innovative use of sport science application to Olympic athletes. Kovacs has worked with hundreds of elite athletes in dozens of sports providing high performance sport science services. Kovacs attended Auburn University, where he was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion. He earned his PhD from the University of Alabama.
Betsy Kuhle retired after 33 years as the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Western Michigan University. A record-breaking seven-time MAC Coach of the Year, Kuhle coached three MAC Players of the Year, five MAC Freshmen of the Year, and ranks among the most successful coaches among all athletic programs at WMU and the conference. Kuhle, a current ITA Board member, served as an ITA Regional Chair, on the ITA Operating Committee, and the ITA Executive/Budget Committee. Currently, she is the Director of the ITA Summer Circuit. Kuhle is a 2006 inductee into the Western Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame and 2017 Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame inductee.
Sean Mayo was one of JP Morgan’s top bond brokers. He currently holds all trading records at the now CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). Only in his 40’s, Mayo retired in 2007 to concentrate on giving back to tennis, especially to benefit under-served youth through the combination of tennis and education. Former VP of the USTA Foundation, he has spent the last four years as a member of the Audit Committee. In 2013-14, Mayo served on the USTA Parks & Recreation Committee and serves on the USTA National Pro Circuit Committee. That service, coupled with his 18-year-old daughter’s competing on the ITF Junior Circuit, provides him with a unique perspective about junior players and prospective college players. A life-long tennis player, Mayo is a USPTA Member that holds an “Elite Professional” status. He graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Business Administration.
William McGugin* is President and CEO of Iroquois Capital Group, Inc. He is also Chairman/President/CEO of REIT Investment Group, LLC, and President and CEO of Iroquois Captive Services, LLC, which are both portfolio companies of Iroquois Capital Group. McGugin was previously with Covenant Capital Group, a real estate private equity firm with $300 million of equity invested in apartment projects. He holds his Series 7, Series 24, Series 27, Series 63 and Series 79 licenses. In addition to his incredibly successful business career, McGugin is an active and selfless volunteer for tennis, having served as President of USTA-Tennessee (2016-2017) and currently serving on the USTA’s national Collegiate Varsity Committee and the USTA-Southern’s Budget Committee. Bill played four years of college tennis, graduating from Vanderbilt University (BA in 2000 and M.Ed in 2003) and remains an active adult competitor having won multiple USTA gold balls over the past 10 years.
Class of 2019 (6)
Class of 2020 (6)
Class of 2021 (7)
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men's and women's varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's 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 and follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.