CORPUS CHRISTI – Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will serve as the host of the Southland Conference Volleyball and Tennis Championships in the 2013-14 school year, the league announced. It will be the first time that the Islanders have hosted the volleyball championship and the third time for the tennis championship.
"We're excited that the Southland selected us to host the championships in these two sports," Director of Athletics Scott Lazenby said. "The Dugan Wellness Center and Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center are among the finest facilities in our league in any sport, and to have an opportunity to showcase them in this manner is outstanding for our institution as well as our athletic department. It will also give us a chance to showcase the city of Corpus Christi as a destination city to fans within the league's geographic footprint."
The Dugan Wellness Center, opened in 2009, recently completed its third season as the home of Islanders Volleyball. The Islanders saw a record average of over 550 fans for their 12 home matches a year ago, with a tremendous turnout from student fans and the Blue Crew. The 2013 season will also see head coach Tony Graystone's first true recruiting class playing their senior years for the Islanders.
"It's really exciting and it is going to be a real treat for the community and students," Graystone said. "Especially for our seniors, it is something we are definitely looking forward to. Dugan is just a great place to play; when the place is full and we have good student crowds, there is nothing like it. Incoming teams are going to be really happy about playing there when they come in for the event."
Opened in the summer of 2011, the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center gives the Islanders one of the finest venues in the region for college tennis. With 12 courts and an eight-pole Musco lighting system, the Southland will have an outstanding home for its spring 2014 Tennis Championship. The Islanders tennis teams have made their mark on the Southland Conference as well, with the men's team having won the tournament title four times in Steve Moore's six seasons as head coach and the women's team having recently concluded its finest season in school history. The team also saw ove r 100 fans for all of its matches during the 2012 spring season.
"The Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center is one of the finest facilities in the area, and it will be a magnificent venue for the Southland Tournament," Moore said. "I know the Corpus Christi and university tennis communities will come out in full support for that weekend, and it should provide us a tremendous atmosphere for college tennis. It will be a major benefit for the city with respect to hotels and restaurants having an influx of people visiting from out of town. Also, it was events like this that got me involved in tennis at a young age, and hopefully it will have the same effect on the youths of Corpus Christi."
The Islanders hosted the 2009 and 2010 tennis championships at the HEB Tennis Center, and have also played host to Southland Championships in baseball (2009 and 2010), golf (2011) and cross country (2007 and 2009) since joining the league in 2006-07.
The league also awarded 2013-14 championship hosts to McNeese State (cross country and soccer), Southeastern Louisiana (softball) and Central Arkansas (baseball). The basketball tournament will remain in Katy, Texas, at the Merrill Center, while the outdoor track and field meet, which is awarded on a rotational basis, will be held at UCA.