Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By MATTHEW WEITZEL
IOWA CITY, Iowa — With the University of Iowa men’s tennis team on the rise, head coach Ross Wilson has a goal of creating a home-court advantage at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex (HTRC).
The team already has a steady fan base, but Wilson is spearheading an effort to generate new support.
“We wanted to find a way to give back to some of the student organizations on campus,” said Wilson. “What we came up with is that if these groups bring 50 or more people to our match, they will receive free transportation and pizza, and we will donate $250 to their organization.”
The University of Iowa’s Delta Chi fraternity was the first organization to take advantage of this incentive this season when the Hawkeyes challenged in-state rival Drake last month. Delta Chi President Nate Breckenridge said the individuals who attended had a great time.
“The staff was accommodating and the professionalism coach Wilson ran his team with was great to see,” Breckenridge said. “We were happy to participate in the program.”
The Drake-Iowa match was tightly contested and was one that came down to the wire. It was the program’s largest crowd of the season to date.
“The Drake match had a lot of swings and it got intense,” said Wilson. “The large crowd helped us have a home-court advantage. Our guys are always pretty fiery and emotional during their matches and when you add a couple hundred people in the building, it helps us.”
Wilson has already contacted a number of student organizations, but if more student groups are interested, they can reach out via email (email@example.com) to setup a meeting to coordinate a match that works best for the organization.
Bringing a large group of people takes planning, so a meeting to discuss the details is usually set up a week in advance of the targeted date.
“With 50-plus people, it’s going to take planning on both ends,” said Wilson. “We typically go over details of where and when the bus will pick the group up, the food order, and details on the $250 donation to the organization.”
Breckenridge said he had a great time and would like to come back for another match.
“The program that coach Wilson has set up is very easy and it benefits of both parties,” Breckenridge said. “Our group intends to return for another tennis match this year, if our schedule allows.”
Iowa will host three matches this weekend, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday against Utah (1 p.m.) and Southern Illinois (6 p.m.) before hosting Wisconsin on Sunday (noon).
“Sunday is our first Big Ten home match of the season, so hopefully we can get another big crowd to help us beat the Badgers,” said Wilson. “Every match is big for us in building our resume for the NCAA Tournament and improving our national ranking.”