The Western Michigan Tennis Association (WMTA) has named DeWitt Tennis Center at Hope College the Outstanding Organization of the Year for 2016.
The award will be presented during the district’s annual awards banquet on Sunday, April 30.
The center also received the award from the WMTA in 2013, and in 2010 was named the national Public Facility of the Year by the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR).
The six-court DeWitt Tennis Center, which opened in August 1994, is available to Holland community members, providing both junior and adult programs, as well as summer academies and private lessons. Since 2003, the center has produced more than 36 high school state champions, and players who have trained at the center have qualified for the Midwest Closed Championships on 75 separate occasions. The center’s experienced staff has developed more than 187 high school state champions and three individual United States Tennis Association (USTA) national champions.
The center currently hosts many USTA programs, such as Play Days, Orange Ball tournaments and regular USTA tournaments.
The center offers free membership and free court time to all of the college’s 3,200-plus students, and also serves as the home court, along with the outdoor VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts, for the Hope men’s and women’s tennis teams.
The center is located along Fairbanks Avenue near Holland Municipal Stadium. In addition to its six courts, the 40,000-square-foot building features men’s and women’s locker rooms, and a large waiting reception area. The center is named in honor of the Gary and Joyce DeWitt family.
The DeWitt Tennis Center has been managed since 2003 by Jorge Capestany, a 35-year veteran of the tennis industry who is also nationally recognized. He is one of only 10 people world-wide that is a Master Professional with both the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the PTR and has received numerous regional and national honors through the years, including national 2015 Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year from the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) in recognition of his exemplary career achievement.
In addition to Capestany, the center’s full-time staff includes Trish Gosselar, front desk manager; Nate Price, director of tennis; and Jay Vander Laan, head professional and assistant varsity tennis coach.
The DeWitt Tennis Center and the 12-court, outdoor VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts that opened during the summer of 2012 are grouped within the Etheridge Tennis Complex. The outdoor facility, which includes elevated seating for spectators and an officials’ shelter, was chosen the Outdoor Tennis Court of the Year by the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA). The outdoor courts are named for Earle VandePoel and George Heeringa, doubles partners on the Hope tennis team in the 1930s; the complex is named in honor of the Etheridge family.
Established in 1948, the Western Michigan Tennis Association is the governing body for the USTA in southwestern Michigan, covering primarily Kent, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ottawa, Muskegon, Berrien, Van Buren, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oceana counties. Its mission is to promote, develop, grow and service the game of tennis throughout the Western Michigan Tennis Association district. The WMTA has more than 50 organizational members and more than 4,000 members from throughout western Michigan.