Intercollegiate Tennis Association moving headquarters to Tempe

The ITA has partnered with ASU in a new strategic alliance, but what does it mean for ASU tennis?

ASU tennis sent off three seniors last weekend in their last home match, but will soon welcome in a new member of the tennis family on campus: the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced last week they will move their headquarters from Princeton, New Jersey, to ASU's Tempe campus as part of a new strategic alliance between the ITA and the school. The ITA serves as the chief governing body for college tennis in the U.S., overseeing Divisions I, II and III. 

Among other responsibilities, the association is in charge of hosting national championships, setting the rules for college tennis, as well as posting weekly rankings for team, singles and doubles competition.

As part of the alliance, the ITA will work along side Sun Devil Athletics to promote the sport of tennis both locally and nationally. ITA Chief Executive Officer Tim Russell said choosing ASU simply came down to a meeting of the minds.

"I would like — and our sport would like — tennis to be a very forward-thinking, innovative leader in intercollegiate athletics," Russell said. "So think about the most innovative, forward thinking university in the country, and you get Arizona State."

The ITA has had its headquarters in Princeton for the last 37 years. Russell, who was brought on by the ITA back in July, is no stranger to Tempe himself. He spent 22 years as a professor at ASU teaching orchestra. Russell's predecessor at the ITA, David Benjamin, spent 26 years as the head men's tennis coach at Princeton before taking over the association.

What it means for ASU tennis

While the ASU tennis program will not have an official role in the alliance, the impact on the team cannot be overlooked.

"This can only be a positive," head coach Sheila McInerney said. "It's going to make the program more visible, and put more eyes on the sport of tennis around here."

McInerney downplayed the new alliance's impact on recruiting, but pointed to a few other possible advantages of having the ITA in Tempe.

"I don't really see much difference recruiting wise, we have a great thing going here," she said. "But I could see us hosting a few more regional tournaments, and maybe even getting a new facility a little bit down the line."

The Sun Devils currently play at the Whiteman Tennis Center, which was first built in 1976 and later renovated in 1999. The team hasn't hosted the NCAA Championships since 1981.  

When and where

The ITA will move into a temporary location in the University Center on ASU's Tempe campus as plans for a more permanent solution continue to develop. Russell said the association expects to be up-and-running by May 2.

Related links:

ASU tennis to play two top-25 teams

Seniors lead ASU tennis past Washington State in final home match


Reach the reporter at mfaye@asu.edu or follow @mattGfaye on Twitter.

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