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2007 USTA/ITA Awards

Steve Wilkinson,
Gustavus Adolphus College
Craig Ward,
Ouachita Baptist University

Gustavus Adolphus College men's tennis coach Steve Wilkinson is the national winner of the USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award, and Ouachita Baptist University Director of Tennis Craig Ward has been named the national winner of the USTA/ITA Community Service Award.  Both coaches were honored December 15 at the ITA Coaches Convention.

The USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award honors an ITA coach who has done an outstanding job implementing the USTA Tennis On Campus program or a similar recreational tennis program on campus in an effort to grow tennis participation within the campus community.  The USTA/ITA Community Service Award honors an ITA coach for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs.  This year's national winners were selected from a group of USTA sectional winners determined in the fall.  These awards, which began in 2003, were open to more than 2,000 ITA head and assistant coaches at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA, and junior/community college levels.

"Steve and Craig are great examples of coaches who give back to their communities and campuses, and our hope is that their efforts continue to inspire other varsity coaches to emulate the great work they are doing," says ITA Executive Director David A. Benjamin.  "We strongly believe that campus recreation programs and community service are vital for today's college coach to become involved in, and these awards help highlight the coaches who have made those crucial efforts."

Wilkinson is in his 38th year as the men's varsity tennis coach at highly successful Division III Gustavus Adolphus and has taken great steps to promote the game of tennis on campus there.  He runs three tennis leagues that play in the fall and spring, including an Intermediate League with six teams, an Advanced Singles League, and an Advanced Doubles League.  In the month of January, Wilkinson provides free indoor recreational tennis for all Gustavus students three days a week.  He has also established two competitive intramural teams on campus that compete at the USTA Campus Championship - Northern and have hosted extramural competitions against the University of Minnesota.

Ward is in his 17th seas as director of tennis for the men's and women's programs at Ouachita Baptist and has made promoting tennis within the Arkadelphia community a priority.  Some of the many accomplishments and programs that he can be credited with include: four outdoor courts completed in 1990 that are free and open to the public; the establishment of five USTA leagues, including leagues for women and seniors; a junior program that meets once a week September through April; numerous doubles clinics throughout the year, a junior kids' free clinic and play day used to educate players about USTA Junior Team Tennis; and many more.  Meantime, Ward has worked to organize homecoming events for faculty and alumni and has involved his tennis teams in Tiger Serve Day, in which students, faculty, and staff go out into the community and volunteer.

"The USTA is proud to be associated with these very special coaches," says Glenn Arrington, USTA National Manager, Collegiate Tennis.  "We recognize the many challenges varsity tennis coaches face and tip our hat to those that go above and beyond the call of duty like this year's winners have.  The extra efforts coaches put into their campus and community activities pay dividends for everyone involved in and around the sport of tennis."

USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award - Section Winners
Florida: Derrick Racine, University of West Florida
Middle States: Kathy Sell, Princeton University
Northern: Steve Wilkinson, Gustavus Adolphus College
Pacific Northwest: Gail Patton, Southern Oregon University
Southern: Connie Keasling, Murray State University
Texas: Cari Groce, Texas Tech University

USTA/ITA Community Service Award - Section Winners
Eastern: Da-lai Wu, City College of New York
Florida: Sasha Schmid, Stetson University
Intermountain: Kristen Hall, University of Wyoming
Middle States: Martin Coyne, Bloomsburg University
Midwest: Dann Nelson, Southern Illinois University
Missouri Valley: Chase Hodges, Drake University
New England: Filipe Miguel, Bridgewater State College
Northern California: Dave Griffin, Sacramento City College
Pacific Northwest: Gail Patton, Southern Oregon University
Southern: Craig Ward, Ouachita Baptist University
Southwest: Don Ball, New Mexico State University
Texas: Jason Haynes, Lee College