May 19, 2005
The University of Iowa men's tennis team is just months away from getting new courts that will rank among the best in the Big Ten Conference. To say long-time UI Coach Steve Houghton can't wait would be an understatement of Mt. Everest proportions.
"It will really help us in terms of recruiting, training, and practicing. It will be a good boost to our program," said Houghton, a member of the UI coaching staff for the past 23 years.
Houghton's team will move into the new tennis facilities when construction of the West Campus Tennis and Recreation Center is fully complete about 15 months from now. However, if Mother Nature is a fan of the Hawkeyes, the Iowa men's and women's tennis teams will be using the 12 new outdoor courts that are planned for that facility in August when the 2005 fall semester begins on the UI campus.
The Hawkeyes have been practicing at Iowa City Park after the Klotz Tennis courts were taken down earlier this year when the renovation of the UI's historic Kinnick Stadium was undertaken.
"It will really help us in terms of recruiting, training, and practicing. It will be a good boost to our program."
UI Men's Tennis Coach Steve Houghton on the importance of the new West Campus Tennis and Recreation Center
Houghton said Iowa's new tennis facilities will have an immediate and very positive impact on the tennis program. That should not come as a surprise. In addition to the 12 outdoor courts, the facility will include eight indoor courts, bleacher seating for spectators, team locker rooms, team meeting rooms and office space for both the men's and women's head tennis coaches..
"We're really looking forward to playing in virtually one of the best facilities in the Big Ten," he said.
Houghton believes the new courts will better prepare the Hawkeyes for away meets. "The old surface was so fast that it made training very difficult. It really wasn't a standard tennis surface," he said.
Houghton said the new facilities will also help to attract a higher quality student-athlete to the UI. "Potential recruits will be able to see it with their own eyes, rather than having us tell them about it," said Houghton.
He also added that the combination of the new facility paired with the Gerdin Academic Building provides him the fodder for a very persuasive presentation to talented student-athletes and their parents.
The new West Campus Tennis and Recreation Center is currently under construction. It is located about 500 yards northwest of the Roy G. Karro Building / UI Athletics Hall of Fame which is immediately west of award-winning Finkbine Golf Course at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Mormon Trek Boulevard.
For more information about the West Campus Tennis and Recreation Building, click HERE.
Written by Kevin Foley, a student in the External Affairs Unit of the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.