For years, when inclement weather struck during a Baylor tennis match, the teams had to pack up and drive an hour and a half north to use an indoor facility in Ennis, Texas. The lack of nearby indoor courts has also prevented Baylor from hosting NCAA championship final rounds.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters such as Jim (BBA ’58) and Nell Hawkins, those problems are now in the past. Head coach Matt Knoll’s squad held its first match in the new Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center Friday night, drawing 700+ fans for a 7-0 sweep of SMU. [See photos and video from the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center debut.]
Fans sat and stood two-, sometimes three-deep in the viewing area to take in the first on-campus indoor match in program history. The state-of-the-art facility will allow the Baylor men’s and women’s tennis programs to practice and play year-round, regardless of weather.
That can only help two of Baylor’s premier athletic programs. Since 2000, the men’s and women’s tennis teams have combined to win 31 Big 12 team titles and four NCAA titles. The Lady Bears have reached at least the Sweet 16 each of the last eight years, while the men are aiming for their 12th straight Sweet 16 appearance this spring.
Jim and Nell Hawkins are longtime Baylor supporters, having faithfully supported scholarships for student-athletes and business school students as well as excellence funds across multiple sports and even mission trips by Baylor’s Sports Ministry Teams. Their gifts provided the practice courts for Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, and their first major gift to Baylor Athletics funded the scoreboard at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Sic ’em, Jim and Nell and Baylor tennis!