Intercollegiate Tennis Association serves ASU, tennis players and the community

The ITA relocated to ASU in 2016

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association partnered with ASU in 2016 to advance the sport of tennis, and eventually planted its headquarters in Tempe. 

The ITA is the governing body of all collegiate tennis, from community college level to NCAA Division I and represents over 1,700 teams and 1,200 men’s and women’s coaches nationwide, according to its website.  

ITA’s CEO Timothy Russell, a former ASU professor of music, loved teaching, but when the opportunity to not only impact students of ASU but also all higher education, he couldn’t turn it down. 

“College tennis is about higher education,” Russell said. “It was an opportunity to have a very large impact in a sport I actually love.” 

One of his first goals as CEO of the ITA was to move its headquarters from Princeton University to a more forward-thinking school, he said.  

Although they had a few other final locations that they could relocate to, the association determined ASU would be the most advantageous. 

“We came to ASU for a vision match,” Russell said. “(President) Michael Crow is a force in higher education. He’s transforming not only ASU but all of higher education.”

Russell described Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson and the athletic department at ASU in a very similar way. He said Anderson, Crow and ASU are big thinkers and leaders in innovation and advancement, and the ITA needed to be located somewhere that would help it grow and innovate as it moved forward.

The only factor that caused hesitation in choosing Tempe as the new home of the ITA was the lack of an ASU men’s tennis team. However, that changed when the men's tennis team was reinstated in 2016.  

With some practical factors such as easy access to an airport, affordable living, warm weather and the sheer fact that ASU was named the No. 1 school in innovation by the U.S. News and World Report, Tempe was announced as the new home to the ITA on March 31, 2016. 

“I think what it (the move) does is ... a good sign that Tempe (and) ASU is a good partner with the ITA,” women’s tennis head coach Sheila McInerney said. “It says a lot about their belief in what we do as a tennis program and enhancing the tennis community. One of the goals the ITA hopes to accomplish in Tempe is to prove that college tennis teams can be a community asset."

"We want to show how a college campus can be the new ecosystem for growing American tennis," Russell said.

With its move to ASU, the ITA has made Tempe a hub for tennis, and one day it hopes that a new tennis center and ITA offices will be built on campus.

The ITA is determined to make tennis a leader in intercollegiate athletics and advance the sport for players, coaches and the community.   

ASU men's tennis head coach Matt Hill is grateful that the ITA headquarters are in Tempe because of the leadership it brings.

"It's been good ... having them here to bounce ideas off of and (figuring) out how to collaborate and work together to make college tennis a better product," Hill said. 

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