ITA Appoints David Mullins as New CEO, to Take Over From Tim Russell

June 19, 2024

Tempe, AZ (June 18, 2024) – The Board of Directors of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) voted unanimously at its June 17, 2024 meeting to appoint David Mullins as the next ITA Chief Executive Officer. This appointment comes after a national search conducted by Bowlsby Sports Advisors in which an extensive process was conducted to select just the third executive leader in the Association’s nearly 70-year history.

With a broad and deep knowledge of college tennis – as a player and coach – Mullins was hired in 2019 as the ITA Managing Director of Community Engagement and Coach Empowerment and in 2021 was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, where he has been instrumental in serving a diverse range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, coaches, student-athletes, officials, and ITA partners.

Mullins was responsible for the curation and expansion of the ITA Center for Coach Education, which has since grown into one of the most comprehensive educational resources for coaches within intercollegiate athletics. Mullins also led the Tennis For America pilot program and the adoption of wheelchair tennis as an official division of play under the ITA’s governance.

In addition to these initiatives, as COO, Mullins has been at the forefront of many important discussions regarding the ever-changing collegiate landscape. He is currently leading a study of the possible future role of sports wagering in college tennis. He has also established critical relationships with many of our sports largest organizations such as the USTA, the ITF, and the ATP, with whom he has advocated for and implemented many groundbreaking initiatives that are in place within college tennis today.

ITA Chairman of the Board, Jon Vegosen said, “I am confident that Dave will fill the big shoes required to succeed current CEO, Tim Russell, and Tim’s predecessor, David Benjamin. The combination of Dave’s knowledge of and passion for tennis, especially college tennis, his broad tennis experience, his terrific ability to relate well with others, his tireless work ethic, his humility, and his pursuit of continuous learning will well serve him, the ITA, and college tennis.”

Before his time as COO of the ITA, Mullins spent 12 years as a college tennis coach with stops at DePaul University, Northwestern University, and the University of Oklahoma, where he was the women’s tennis head coach for his final eight years in the coaching ranks. With the Sooners, Mullins was named ITA Central Region Coach of the Year in 2014 and was influential in turning the Oklahoma program into a national contender.

After completing his career as a college tennis coach he moved back to his home country of Ireland. He became the Director of Sports at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club and served on the Tennis Ireland Board of Directors and several other committees to help advance the sport of tennis in his native country. While in Ireland, Mullins completed his second Master’s degree (in Sports Psychology), with his first Masters being completed in Sports Administration during his time at the University of Oklahoma. Mullins has also worked in the finance industry having obtained a degree in Business and Finance from Fresno State.

As a student-athlete at Fresno State University, Mullins was named an All-American in 2001 and was the Fresno State Bulldog Spirit Award recipient and captain in 2000 and 2001. His playing career also included competing in both the 1997 Junior Wimbledon and French Open Championships and playing on the Irish Davis Cup Team (1999-2004) while achieving an ATP ranking in both singles and doubles.

Mullins said, “I am deeply honored and thrilled for the opportunity entrusted to me by the ITA Board of Directors to assume this vital role. College tennis has been an extraordinary catalyst for personal growth in my life, and I approach this responsibility with profound humility. My fervent aspiration is to collaborate closely with all stakeholders, particularly our esteemed coaches, to safeguard and elevate college tennis for future generations.”

Mullins will spend the next six months as the CEO Designate, continuing his work with the current ITA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Timothy Russell. Mullins officially takes over as the Association’s CEO on January 1, 2025.

Russell, said, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Dave Mullins since starting my role with our Association in 2015, and the great joy and privilege of working closely with him for the past five years as he has served tirelessly and grown deeply in his various roles with the ITA. He has been as outstanding a Chief Operating Officer as any organization could hope for. He thoroughly understands the ITA and our sport. A person of profound integrity and unwavering commitment to college tennis, in his new role Dave will work closely with our dedicated Board of Directors and astonishing staff to navigate the critically important times of change in college athletics and higher education with a steady hand and strength of conviction.”

At the request of the ITA Board, Russell will serve as an advisor to the ITA through June of 2026.