Effort to bring back Men’s Tennis at SBCC succeeds

Santa Barbara City College has announced that men’s intercollegiate tennis will be reinstituted in the 2015-2016 season. The decision was made after the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons, a local organization with a goal of expanding opportunities for competitive tennis, successfully reached an initial fundraising benchmark of $45,000, which represents the first half of a proposed three-year commitment. The dollar amount reflects matching funds from the SBCC Foundation during its annual Campaign for Student Success.

Members of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons will assist with conducting outreach to area high schools and youth groups and will conduct one more fundraising drive to secure the remaining $45,000 in spring of 2016 in order to keep the intercollegiate men’s tennis team viable through the 2017-2018 academic year. All donations are restricted only for intercollegiate men’s tennis.

The earlier decision to suspend the program was based on decreasing student interest and declining
retention rates in intercollegiate men’s tennis over the past decade.

“The Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons’ success in raising these initial funds demonstrates significant community support of men’s intercollegiate tennis,” said Ryan Byrne, SBCC Athletic Director. “The college greatly appreciates the commitment of these dedicated individuals and we are hopeful that we can carry forward this momentum into a successful re-launch of the team.”

The academic success of SBCC student-athletes remains the college’s highest priority and the proposed three-year commitment calls for targeted goals toward progress in student participation in men’s intercollegiate tennis from local high school students, increased retention of first-year players to second year, and successful graduation and/or transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

John Sanford, fundraising lead for the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons said, “We are pleased to support the reinstatement of the long tradition of men’s tennis at SBCC. Together with SBCC administration, the tennis community has responded with donations of time, effort and funds.” He added, “Tennis is a popular sport in Santa Barbara and we expect this opportunity for local players to fulfill an important need to further their sport and education.”
Mr. Byrne and SBCC Associate Athletic Director Ellen O’Connor both served on the initial task force that brought together college administrators and community members to discuss the status of the men’s intercollegiate tennis team. ? Members of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons include: John Sanford, Cathy Ann Simon, Elizabeth Winterhalter, Greg Tebbe, and Debbie Ekola.