Tennis Center gets a facelift

The renovations come after over a decade of fundraising and will improve the recruiting process and efficiency during matches.

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Tennis Center gets a facelift

Biola Tennis Center opens up their newly renovated courts.

Biola Tennis Center opens up their newly renovated courts.

O. Bree Mays // THE CHIMES

Biola Tennis Center opens up their newly renovated courts.

O. Bree Mays // THE CHIMES

O. Bree Mays // THE CHIMES

Biola Tennis Center opens up their newly renovated courts.

Ashley Grams, Staff Writer

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(This story was originally published in print on Sept. 19, 2019).

Biola hosted the grand opening ceremony of the new Tennis Center last Saturday morning. Fans, local supporters and honored guest Michael Chang, the 1989 French Open Champion arrived for a short ceremony and even played on the courts for a few hours.

Since its opening in 2005, the La Mirada tennis community and the Biola tennis team have pushed for “phase two” of the complex to be completed. After over a decade of fundraising, spearheaded by former head tennis coach Dee Henry, Biola Athletics have nearly met their nine court goal.

“It’s always been a nice facility but now it’s a premier facility,” said Neil Morgan, assistant athletic director for communications and game management, on the newly renovated Biola Tennis Center. The complex was expanded over the past spring and summer. Improvements include two new tennis courts, a team room for players and live video are available of all eight courts.

The men’s and women’s teams share the same head coach, David Goodman, and their matches often overlap, causing them to share court space. With only six courts in the past, sophomore public relations major Anna Hartman explained how “last year [our] practices would get crammed with the men’s and women’s teams practicing at the same time. Now we have more ability to practice. With matches, it is going to go so much smoother.” 

More court space means greater opportunity for personalized training.

 “We are going to get to have a lot of individual matches which we couldn’t have before,” said sophomore business major Andres Meneses. “We are going to have the opportunity to do some personal stuff, working on strokes, technical stuff which is really good for our game.” 

NO IMPACT ON STUDENT TUITION

The tennis project budget was $650,000,” said project manager Jody Spicer via email. “The entire project was largely paid for from fundraising efforts and some dollars were funded by departments including ours for the landscaping and biofiltration system, but no student tuition monies were used for any of the work at the Tennis Court Complex.”

Henry, who is currently on sabbatical, has advocated for the enhancement of the tennis facilities for over 10 years with Biola’s Athletics department, the Advancement Center and through community fundraisers. Much of the money for the project came from tennis program donations, private gifts and consistent fundraising. 

“It’s not having a huge impact on student dollars and tuition but it’s something that everyone can enjoy and that represents Biola really well,” Morgan said. Some community events and fundraisers, which Henry leads every summer, involve wheelchair tennis and youth training. 

IMPROVING RECRUITING STANDARDS

For HD video-streaming capabilities, Morgan spoke on the draw for international students. The Eagles’ tennis team boasts some of the highest numbers of global students of any sport at Biola. International students continue to be a large part of success in collegiate tennis in the United States.

“Being able to offer video streaming in the recruiting pitch is a huge upgrade,” Morgan said. 

Morgan hopes that the new improvements will “empower” the coaching staff to create a more powerful team in the near future, which is important when considering Biola’s recent change in conference. 

Beginning this fall season, Biola Athletics’ teams are officially full-fledged NCAA Division II members. As the competition heats up, the recruiting standard heightens. Given the recent improvements to the Tennis Center, the coaching staff have the opportunity to use those as selling points to increase the skill level of the team. 

Meneses agrees with Morgan, “We have been to most of the DII schools and when it comes to that, I think Biola has a really good tennis facility.” 

Although the courts are finished, more construction is still in progress, including an aquaphor behind the courts, close to Biola Avenue, according to Morgan. The new biofiltration system was mandated by the city of La Mirada and has increased the price of the renovations. Biola Athletics and the Advancement Center hopes to see this construction finished soon. 

Hartman and Meneses echoed similar sentiments, inviting people to come support the Eagles and try out the courts. “People should always come and support. It’s always fun, it always enhances our gameplay,” Hartman said.