John Keen, Staff Writer
Construction on Armstrong’s $1.5 million tennis complex , now in progress since 2015, is scheduled to be completed early in May 2016. Funding for the complex comes primarily from auxiliary and state funds—not student fees.
“Athletic fees have not increased in two years, and we are not seeking to increase them at this time,” said athletic director Lisa Sweany.
Since 2009, the Armstrong tennis teams have hosted home games at Savannah’s Bacon Park due to the poor conditions of the current complex: a fact Sweany finds unacceptable.
“They have been off campus for several years because the courts just are not playable, and that is not acceptable for our championship-level teams.”
Playing off campus, as men’s tennis coach Sean McCaffrey says, presents its own set of challenges:
“We don’t get the fans that you might get on campus. You can’t just walk to Bacon Park from the dorms,” Sweany said.
Not only has the old complex’s poor condition led to this decision, but other Peach belt competitors have also recently upgraded their facilities.
“Francis Marion’s outdoor complex is new. USC Aiken has a beautiful new baseball facility, just to name a few,” Sweany said. “We just do not want to fall behind.”
Not only will the facility positively affect the current tennis teams, but Sweany also hopes the new facility will help with recruiting in tennis and even other sports.
“As you start to make improvements in facilities, [it] helps all sports out. I know a lot of the coaches are definitely using that as a recruiting tool.”
While the complex will no doubt aid in Armstrong’s recruiting efforts, McCaffrey hopes it will have a larger impact on player retention.
“It is my hope that current players will see the work and time that has gone into this complex, and that will energize them about the program.”
With the complex’s completion, Armstrong will be set to join the rest of the Peach Belt conference in playing their home games on campus.