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Saving & Growing College Tennis with Tim Russell

college tennisThis week’s podcast:

Tim Russell, the head honcho at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), discusses how his organization is working with colleges, coaches, and communities to save and grow college tennis across the US.

The ITA has developed a self-assessment tool, the Program Health Index, for college tennis programs to use in order to determine whether their team is “safe” or at risk of being cut. The assessment includes items such as the team GPA, how much community outreach the players do, and how often the college president attends matches. Tim and his staff hope this will help prevent program cuts by helping coaches learn what’s important to university administrators. Tim stresses that the ITA is committed to telling the stories of college tennis, not just to the community, but also to college presidents and other decision-makers at the school. It is a tough sell since tennis is a non-revenue sport, but the Program Health Index and other tools are helping the ITA to make its case effectively.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a college tennis discussion without addressing the subject of international players! Tim and I delve into that topic as well. You can learn more about the ITA and its initiatives at

Just a reminder that entries are still open for the Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In tournament in Baltimore August 12-13. You can enter at

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One thought on “Saving & Growing College Tennis with Tim Russell

  1. Interesting podcast and I agree with most of Tim’s points. However, I disagree that US junior players have to play 20 tournaments a year to be serious players. He stated that the US has a shortage of tennis players because only 240 US boys and girls played over 20 tournament a year (is that 18s?). We know one player who only played 6 tournaments a year (including a national and top sectionals), has a close to a 13 UTR and was rookie of the year in his college conference. That player supplemented his USTA tournaments with playing high school tennis and placing high in his state’s individual tennis championships. In larger sections, many players may play 20+ tournaments a year, but in smaller sections or in sections with top caliber high school teams, a player can be college ready playing less than 10 tournaments a year.

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