July 31, 2013
By KELLI GRASHEL
The Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center, the second major project in Oklahoma State University's Athletic Village, is making great headway in its development. The entire facility is on track to be finished by the start of the 2014 season.
The 50,000 square foot tennis center is located just north of Boone Pickens Stadium. The indoor facility will house six tennis courts with coaches' offices, locker rooms, and a sports medicine area complete with a hydrotherapy center. The indoor facilities will be able to seat at least 350 spectators.
Another exciting feature will be the webcams inside the facility, which will live-stream matches onto the team's website. The webcams will also allow players to go back and watch their matches online.
The exterior will have 12 lighted outdoor tennis courts in two sets of six courts. The courts are set up to allow fan viewing of each match being played in both the indoor and outdoor courts.
Before the new complex, OSU was the only Big 12 School without its own facilities, which forced the athletes to travel outside of Stillwater for practices or hosting matches. The Duke Debois Tennis Complex has eight outdoor courts ,which were built in the early 1980s.
"Our student athletes won't have the burden of scheduling classes around traveling to another practice facility," said Chris Young, head coach of the OSU women's tennis team.
The new courts at OSU will also be great for recruiting. OSU had the nation's No.4 recruiting class, but was the only school in the top five to not have a multi-million dollar tennis complex. The Greenwood Tennis Center gives OSU facilities comparable with schools like Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and TCU who have all updated or built new facilities recently.
"In the initial stage of recruiting when you have to recruit on campus, we didn't really have anything to show," Young said. "I think it shows a commitment that our athletic department and our program in general are just committed to winning in tennis."
Jay Udwadia, head coach of the OSU men's team, is excited about the tennis athletes will have a place to call their own.
"They will be proud to have that facility," Udwadia said. "It's where they can hang out, do their school work and maybe do a little cooking now and then. We will have a locker room which we didn't have before. I think it will help keep the team together."
Men's tennis player Trevor Horstmann is most excited about having the facilities in the same area as the other athletic teams.
"I really like the idea of the Athletic Village concept that OSU has been working on." Horstmann said. "Having the athletic facilities in the same area will make it easier for students to support the athletic programs."
Young says the Greenwood Center will give OSU the chance to host many tournaments. OSU will host the 2014 ITA Central Regional Championships as their first big event in the new complex. He says he will put in bids to host the Big 12 Championships and ultimately the NCAA Championship.
"Through every stage of building the facility we have been able to talk to those selection committees, we ask them what things they are looking for to make sure we are including things that are going to be the most important when hosting championship events," Young said.
Michael and Anne Greenwood provided the lead gift for the multi-faceted tennis project. The Greenwoods are OSU alumni who have supported the University in many ways. They began to follow OSU tennis when Anne's father, Joe Morris, started attending matches in the late `70s and eventually led the family to become OSU tennis fans.
The Greenwoods went to the OSU tennis coaches and OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder and offered their support for the new facilities.
"Our OSU Tennis coaches and players have had to practice and play in extreme heat, bitter cold and gale force winds," Michael Greenwood said. "And whenever rain is involved, the teams have to leave Stillwater and find an indoor alternative or cancel the scheduled event. This has provided an unfair playing field for our dedicated student-athletes for over 40 years and we decided the time to correct this situation was long overdue."
The Greenwoods said the tennis center is not about them, but about taking OSU tennis to the next level of greatness.
"When you look at the history of the program with its many conference championships over the years, the level of success is remarkable given the lack of facility infrastructure to support the program," Anne Greenwood said. "We are already beginning to see the positive impact by the level of excitement being shown by players, coaches and fans that are part of OSU Tennis and its bright future." The Greenwoods explain their financial support of the new facilities is to show appreciation to the coaches and players have provided the foundation for OSU Tennis. However, in designing the complex, they have tried to make it as fan-friendly as possible to promote attendance.
"OSU Tennis has been a hidden gem in an obscure location. The new tennis facilities are world class in a central location that will make attending a tennis match an enjoyable experience," the Greenwoods said. "We would encourage all students and alumni to come out and watch these amazing athletes represent OSU proudly and, along with us, live orange!"