Men's Tennis Earns ITA Sportsmanship Award
April 11, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award for the month of March, it was announced, Friday, by the ITA's Casey Angle.
The Tigers, who are wrapping up their regular season schedule at UT-Martin, Friday, and at home against Western Kentucky, Saturday, were nominated for the award by Indiana State Head Coach Peter Magnusson after a close, hard-fought match earlier this season.
"Our match (against Memphis) was a great showcase for college tennis," Magnusson said. "It was a match played with tremendous intensity and a lot of emotions between two teams that gave everything they had to win. The Memphis team showed a lot of respect for the game of tennis, their opponents and the fans. In one match, Coach Chamberlain immediately overruled one of his players who made an errant line call. His player apologized to his coach and opponent for making a mistake and that set the tone for the rest of the night on all courts...The traveling Tigers are great ambassadors for the game of tennis and I truly look forward to going down to Memphis next year to compete against their classy team and coach."
Tiger Head Coach Phil Chamberlain said his philosophy towards sportsmanship is asking his players to "give 100 percent effort, have a good attitude and put ethics above everything else." He also stated in his interview with Angle that he also tries to send messages to his players that winning and losing are not the most important thing in tennis, but what is critical is how they conduct themselves on the court.
The Tigers dropped that match at Indiana State, 4-3, one of six losses on the season that have come to a nationally-ranked opponent.
Memphis has been nationally ranked in the top 75 in the country all season. Chamberlain helped the Tigers earn their first national ranking in 26 years back in 2001. Prior to that ranking, the last time Memphis was nationally-ranked was in 1975 when then-Memphis State and No. 1 singles player Phil Chamberlain were ranked as high as 18th in the nation. The Tigers were ranked the entire 2002 season and have been ranked every week so far in 2003.
Chamberlain was also inducted into the Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001. Chamberlain was already a member of the M-Club Hall of Fame, after being inducted there in 1988.
Memphis will wrap its regular season Saturday against Western Kentucky at the U of M Varsity Courts, and will await word on their seeding for the Conference USA tournament, Monday. The conference tournament starts next Saturday in Milwaukee, Wis. The tournament is being hosted by Marquette University.