The ITA honors the many contributions of BIPOC to our sport

February is Black History Month and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association is joining with organizations across the country to honor and celebrate the many contributions of African Americans and persons of color. 

“Amidst America’s collective journey towards a more perfect union, historically and given the challenges in our country and the world today, college athletics continue to contribute to the development of championship human beings,” ITA CEO Dr. Timothy Russell remarked. “The ITA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is excited about current conversations with our friends and coach colleagues at America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as new initiatives being developed with our allied partners at the USTA and Tennis Industry United.” 

The ITA will kick off the month-long celebration with a change in the look and feel of the branding by adding the Pan-African Flag color scheme. From our sport’s earliest days through its modern era, countless contributions to college tennis’ growth and success have been made by players, coaches, and administrators of color.

Some helped tear down barriers; some have torn up record books. Several have transcended the sport they helped to build to become true icons. All have been an inspiration, providing our sport, those who play it, and those who revel in it with a myriad of memorable moments.

“The ITA recognized many years ago the role it could and should play in trying to bring people of all backgrounds together through the wonderful sport of college tennis,” said Dave Mullins, ITA Managing Director. 

Recently, the ITA  made a significant commitment to improving educational outcomes for children residing in under-resourced minority communities through Tennis For America, a year-of-service opportunity for college tennis players. The program is entering its second year and will undoubtedly set an inspiring example for all other collegiate sports to mimic or join in the coming years. 

The ITA also worked closely with the USTA to develop a mentorship program in 2020 to assist with the development and career prospects of the next generation of college tennis coaches. This group of 12 mentees includes eight women and three Black coaches representing HBCUs who will undoubtedly continue to have a major impact on the lives of student-athletes and play a major leadership role in our sport over the next several decades.  

The ITA will provide a special focus on African American coaches, student-athletes, and administrators throughout the month. As we celebrate Black History, we recall some of the most memorable milestones that helped to change the face of this sport — literally and figuratively — and inspire us all to raise our game.

Black History Month: Changing the Face of our Sport & Inspiring Us All

Breaking the Barriers – The ATA & Black Tennis Pioneers (International Tennis Hall of Fame)
Arthur Ashe: The grace of a champion (USTA)
Dispelling Stereotypes by Example – A Q&A with Kristina Minor (ITA)
No One Can Take Away Your Tennis Game – A Q&A with Abbey Forbes (ITA)
40 Years Ago Tennis History Was Made (Guest Post)
Black History Month: If You Can See It, You Can Be It (ITA)
Andrew Fenty — Creating His Legacy (ITA)
Sports Are Better When All Have a Seat at the Table (ITA)
The Challenges and Triumphs of HBCU Tennis (ITA)

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