Legends die hard.
At Southwestern College they die unnecessarily.
Five years after the college’s successful and cost-effective tennis teams were “temporarily” axed, they are still axed.
“We had a situation where we had to cut our budget,” Athletic Director Terry Davis said in 2010. “My decision was based on the number of students and the program that was the easiest to bring back.”
It is now 2015 and tennis remains on the sidelines at Southwestern College. SWC spent $45 million on the football stadium, but $0 resurrecting its least-expensive sport.
Irony is layered upon irony here. Former women’s tennis coach Susan Reasons has raised more than $280,000 for the college with her after-school tennis lessons over the last five years, according to documents provided by the college. Reasons, an Energizer Bunny, has run the program for a decade with startling results. Reason’s women’s tennis team was one of the most successful and consistently-excellent athletic programs at this college.
Why SWC administrators continue to deny SWC a tennis team when our economic situation is clearly better is a mystery. The school has all the resources it needs. Uniforms and equipment are on hand, and an SWC Hall of Famer is standing by.
There is no excuse for this broken promise. Reasons can have a women’s team back on the court quicker than Terry Davis can say “the program that was the easiest to bring back.”
Head volleyball coach Angela Rock said she would be willing to take on a men’s program. Rock, an Olympic medalist, is clearly a women who knows how to get things done.
Our football team alone spends more money on male athletes than all women’s sports combined. DeVore Stadium is a $45 million wonder. Why can’t our college find a few dollars for tennis balls and some gas for vans?
Until a women’s football team takes the field, there needs to be a major readjustment and a new commitment to fairness.
Women’s tennis is the most popular sport that SWC does not offer. Our tennis teams used to be a draw and source of pride.
Reasons has produced phenomenal athletes, scholarship winners and great community leaders. A small investment will lead to a big return to the community.
It is time for Dean Davis and this college to keep its word. Next spring tennis should return.
Legends die hard.