Baylor's men's and women's tennis teams have clearly established themselves among the nation's elite programs. Soon, their already impressive facilities will position the programs to both win and host future NCAA championships.
In July, Baylor announced that Waco residents Jim, BBA '58, and Nell Hawkins had provided a significant naming gift for the Jim and Nell Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, a 34,000-square-foot facility to be located on LaSalle Avenue across from the Ferrell Center that will give the Bears a local option for when inclement weather strikes.
The same day, Baylor revealed another generous gift from Mark, BBA '79, and Paula Hurd that will provide Baylor tennis with a new scoreboard, shaded seating over the main grandstands, the addition of VIP seating, additional landscaping, and a video streaming system that will allow Baylor matches to be streamed online. In honor of the family's continued support of the programs, the Baylor Tennis Center was renamed the Hurd Tennis Center.
"This is an exciting development for Baylor men's and women's tennis," said Ian McCaw, Baylor's director of athletics. "Through the generosity of Jim and Nell Hawkins, our talented student-athletes and coaches will enjoy a unique space to meet, practice and prepare as they continue their impressive performance as two of the nation's top tennis programs. The programs are also incredibly fortunate to once again benefit from the generous support of Mark and Paula Hurd. These facility enhancements will make the Hurd Tennis Center the nation's premiere collegiate facility."
The Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center will feature six parallel courts with spectator seating, allowing the Bears to practice and play year-round regardless of weather. It also includes space for storage of recreational equipment for the adjacent intramural fields, benefitting a broad population of active Baylor students.
Meanwhile, the new scoreboard at the Hurd Tennis Center will allow fans to follow matches on all of the center's 12 courts. Shaded seating over the Hulse Grandstand on the championship courts will provide protection from the summer sun. The improvements follow previous gifts from the Hurds that in 2009 provided for a total renovation of the teams' locker rooms, training rooms, meeting rooms, coaches offices, lobby and pro shop.
"Baylor tennis is blessed to have supporters like Mark and Paula Hurd," said Baylor Director of Tennis and head men's coach Matt Knoll. "Their commitment to our program takes what was already an outstanding outdoor tennis facility to another level. Our coaches and student athletes will practice and compete on the finest tennis facility in the nation once these upgrades are complete. The fact that Mark played for Baylor makes his gift all the more meaningful."
"We could not be happier about the indoor tennis facility and improvements to our overall tennis complex," added head women's coach Joey Scrivano. "As a team, we greatly appreciate the generosity that helps meet the needs of Baylor tennis. We have an elite tennis program, and these additions only will increase our ability to remain at the top of our game."