Pollard, Meredith win USTA/ITA National Awards
November 17, 2011
Skillman, N.J. — The Intercollegiate Tennis Association and United States Tennis Association have named veteran women’s tennis head coaches Claire Pollard and Matt Meredith as recipients of two of the most prestigious awards in college tennis.
Pollard of Northwestern University is the winner of the 2011 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award, while Slippery Rock University’s Meredith has earned the honor of being the 2011 USTA/ITA National Campus QuickStart Provider of the Year.
Both coaches will receive a travel stipend to attend the 2011 ITA Coaches Convention at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla., where they will be presented with their awards during the ITA Membership and Awards Banquet on Thursday, December 15th.
Entering her 14th season as head coach of the Wildcats, Pollard has built a successful college tennis program with victories on the court and in the community. The Northwestern women won their 13th consecutive Big Ten Tournament title under Pollard in May, setting the Wildcats up for a 13th straight finish in the Campbell/ITA Top 25 Rankings.
While extending those streaks, Northwestern has remained very active in the Evanston, Ill., area. In each of the last two seasons, the team has engaged local junior players by hosting USTA/ITA Campus Showdowns and Campus Kids’ Days, featuring free pizza, giveaways, a serving contest and an autograph session with players.
The 2010-11 Wildcats’ community service projects also included volunteering at a soup kitchen, reading to elementary-school students and participating in a dance-a-thon. In addition, Northwestern organized a 10 and Under Tennis festival last spring that — like college tennis — bonded players on a team and featured singles and doubles play.
That event fit right in with Pollard’s year-round mentality of giving back to the next generation of tennis players. Her team leads junior clinics for six hours each week, helping beginners develop fundamentals before they progress into a local tennis club.
“Tennis has given me and my team amazing experiences over the years,” said Pollard. “It’s such a great vehicle to experience amazing things. Anything we can do to give that back to someone else is important.”
Like Pollard, Meredith returns as head coach of his team for the 14th consecutive season. He has led Division II Slippery Rock University to five straight NCAA Regional finals appearances, highlighted by a run to the Elite Eight in 2009-10.
Last season, Meredith brought his school to the forefront of the 10 and Under Tennis initiative by overseeing the addition of blended QuickStart lines to the school’s 12 varsity courts.
Two weeks after the court makeover in April, Slippery Rock hosted a QuickStart training workshop that attracted more than 85 tennis instructors. Children in camps, clinics and after-school programs have been honing their skills on the school’s QuickStart courts ever since.
Meredith has also educated local elementary school teachers about 10 and Under Tennis, while facilitating the addition of QuickStart to Slippery Rock’s renowned physical education teacher preparation curriculum.
“This is really a win-win situation for everyone,” said Meredith, a Slippery Rock alum himself. “We are showcasing SRU’s physical education program and assisting their majors with skill sets they can use when they go into the field of education. And when they develop younger tennis players, that benefits the game we all love.”
Pollard and Meredith were selected from a group of USTA Sectional winners that included coaches of teams from NCAA Divisions I, II and III. Award applications are open each year to ITA member varsity coaches at all levels of collegiate tennis.
2011 USTA/ITA Sectional Campus & Community Outreach Award Winners
2011 USTA/ITA Sectional Campus QuickStart Providers of the Year
About the USTA/ITA National Awards
The USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award is presented each year to a college coach who provides 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, Campus QuickStart, Campus Showdowns and Tennis On Campus.
The USTA/ITA National QuickStart Provider of the Year Award recognizes a college coach who has promoted the 10 and Under Tennis format to elementary school children by hosting QuickStart programs on campus. With smaller racquets, softer balls and shorter courts, 10 and Under Tennis ensures that America’s newest tennis players enjoy the sport from their very first forehand.
Past USTA/ITA National Award Recipients
Brad Pearce, BYU (Campus & Community Outreach)
Derrick Racine, West Florida (QuickStart Provider of the Year)
Kim Gidley, Air Force (Community Service)
Christine Davis, Smith College (Campus Recreation)
Lisa Hart, Washington State (Community Service)
Bill Macom, Florida Tech (Campus Recreation)
Craig Ward, Ouachita Baptist (Community Service)
Steve Wilkinson, Gustavus Adolphus (Campus Recreation)
Chris Young, Wichita State (Community Service)
Dave Shook, Lehigh (Campus Recreation)
Mike Gennette, California Lutheran (Community Service)
Dee Henry, Biola (Campus Recreation)
J. Webb Horton, Florida Gulf Coast (Community Service)
Kai Fong, Lewis-Clark State (Campus Recreation)
Greg Patton, Boise State (Community Service)
Laura Travis, Delaware (Campus Recreation)
To learn more about the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, please visit ITAtennis.com. For further information about the United States Tennis Association, check out USTA.com.