Front Page - Wed, Sep. 19, 2007

The JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center at Tyler Junior College has been selected to receive a 2007 Outstanding Facility Award from the United States Tennis Association.

The JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center at Tyler Junior College has been selected to receive a 2007 Outstanding Facility Award from the United States Tennis Association.

The Murphy Tennis Center is one of 18 tennis centers nationwide – and one of only two collegiate tennis facilities – to receive the award this year.

The official announcement of winners will be made Monday, Sept. 3, in New York, at the USTA’s semi-annual meeting during the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

The Murphy Tennis Center will receive a plaque and a sign designating it a USTA award winner.

Located at East Devine Street and Palmer Avenue on the TJC main campus, the Murphy Tennis Center is home of the TJC Apache Tennis program, which has earned 26 national titles.

"This is a great honor and I’m very excited for TJC and the Tyler community," said John Peterson, director of the TJC tennis program. "This facility was done first-class all the way. In fact, it eclipses many of the tennis facilities I’ve seen at Division I schools."

Funded by a memorial gift by the family of JoAnn Medlock Murphy, the Murphy Tennis Center opened in March and was designed by Mike Butler of Fitzpatrick Butler Architects Inc., in Tyler.

Butler said the tennis center’s design reflects TJC’s architectural character.

"The tennis program at TJC is as much a community outreach program as it is a college program," Butler said, "and the center was designed to provide opportunities for TJC to host collegiate tournaments as well as tournaments for adults and youth."

He said the tennis center site provided a challenge for placing the courts and the building, but that the changes in elevation provided opportunities for multiple viewing levels of the courts.

From the second-story veranda as well as the elevated court seating, spectators are offered prime views of the tennis action.

The USTA award places TJC in an elite league of schools. Previous winners include: the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the University of Texas in Austin; the Stanford Tennis Center; the University of Illinois Tennis Center; Texas A&M University Varsity Tennis Center; Duke University Tennis Center; Wake Forest Tennis Center; Princeton University Tennis Center; and University of Alabama Varsity Tennis Center.

The USTA Facility Awards Program was established in 1981, to stimulate high standards in tennis facilities and to recognize those facilities and institutions "whose efforts make such a positive statement about the vitality of the game," according to the USTA notification letter.

USTA officials use the following criteria in its annual selection of outstanding facilities:
• Overall layout and adaptation to site;
• Excellence of court surface and lights;
• Ease of maintenance;
• Accommodations: players, spectators, press/officials;
• Aesthetics: graphics, use of signs, landscaping, etc.;
• Amenities: casual seating for spectators, food services, social area; and
• Programs supporting the USTA and growth of the game.

Peterson said, "The Murphy Tennis Center offers such a great opportunity for the students and community members who learn and play here. We couldn’t be more excited."

Author
Elise Mullinix