SKILLMAN, NJ (May 6, 2013) – The ITA announced today that Michael Schaeffer of the University of Oregon and Orlando Superlano of Texas Christian University have been selected as the 2013 Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award winners. Both Michael and Orlando will receive a paid summer internship to work at Wilson’s global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
The Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award recognizes individuals who promote the game of tennis at the collegiate level by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities and who support and bring awareness to either their school program or to the sport in general.
Michael Schaeffer, a junior at the University of Oregon, has spent the last three seasons as a member of the men’s tennis team. Known for his leadership qualities and strong work ethic, Schaeffer has served as a member of Oregon’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) since 2011. During this time he has participated in several fundraiser projects and community service initiatives designed to support local children and families in-need.
Schaeffer has been a driving force in promoting college tennis on campus and around the community. “Before every tennis match I would make a Facebook event for the match and send it out to the pit-crew which is a student run organization that supports athletics” said Schaeffer. “From there we have a list of up to 5,000 people that it goes out to and we encourage as many people to come out as possible.” Schaeffer has also helped provide a great atmosphere at home Oregon tennis matches by helping to organize entertainment and provide food to attract fans.
“This is my third year and I have definitely noticed an increase in attendance” Schaeffer stated. “Oregon is a big sports school and tennis flies under the radar so it’s been fun to try to put the tennis team on the map and get as many people out the matches by creating a fun atmosphere. I think people have come to love the intensity of college tennis and embrace the 1-on-1 competition that you don’t see in other sports.”
Schaeffer sees the potential of the internship as a way to continue to work in athletics and specifically tennis once his collegiate tennis career is over. “This is a very exciting opportunity for me” raved Schaeffer. “I’ve been involved in tennis since I was 12 years old and my goal has always been to work in tennis either as a coach or in the tennis industry, so, this internship is big a step towards that goal.”
Orlando Superlano is an economics major, minoring in business at Texas Christian University (TCU). Named captain his senior season, Superlano has spent the last two years as a member of the TCU men’s tennis team and prior to joining the Horned Frogs, two years with the New Mexico State men’s tennis team. He has seen great success on the court during his four year career, earning multiple All-WAC accolades.
Not only has Superlano been a leader on the tennis team, he has also taken the leadership role in promoting TCU men’s tennis on campus by speaking at weekly sorority and fraternity meetings. “We started a competition between the sororities that whoever brought the most people to the matches won an award from the TCU men’s tennis program” Superlano stated. “The sororities would pick a theme for each match such as western, Mardi Gras, or international. Sometimes they brought sombreros or flags from different countries and they had a lot of fun doing it.”
Superlano also tied in the local community by communicating with the captains of adult United States Tennis Association (USTA) leagues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “One of our goals was to have a good crowd at our matches because it’s good motivation for us, we love that” said Superlano.
Superlano’s efforts also stretch into the area of social media and advertising. For each home match, he created an event on Facebook to invite fans to attend home tennis matches; He also took his message to the street by distributing promotional posters and fliers to local country clubs, stores, and the TCU student-body. “I felt that if they came once they would come again because it is fun and you can watch six matches at a time” stated Superlano. The success of Superlano’s promotional efforts is easily measured as the TCU men boast the highest total attendance and average attendance numbers of any ITA member institution as well as the highest single match attendance number of the year (1,425 fans).
“I think this internship is a great opportunity and it will give me experience in the field, a lot of experience when looking for a job” Superlano said. “I want to help promote college tennis and that will be the most important part of it for me.”
“Our congratulations to Michael and Orlando,” David A Benjamin, Executive Director of the ITA, said. “This unique Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award presents a wonderful opportunity for students to be recognized for their promotional efforts of their varsity tennis programs and tennis in general. Michael and Orlando have both been outstanding in their efforts to promote collegiate tennis, and this award will provide them with a great experience as summer interns with Wilson Sporting Goods, a leader in the tennis industry.”
“We would like to congratulate Michael and Orlando for their outstanding efforts and commitments in promoting college tennis,” Cy Dofitas, Wilson Sports Goods’ U.S. Promotions Coordinator for Racquet Sports, stated. “As recipients of the 2013 Wilson/ITA Promoter of the Year Award, they will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience and work with the #1 Brand in the Tennis Industry. We are delighted to have them in Chicago this summer.”
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men’s and women’s varsity coaches representing over 1,200 institutions, administers numerous regional and national championships and the ITA College Tennis Rankings for over 15,000 college varsity student-athletes at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA Web site is www.itatennis.com.
Wilson Racquet Sports is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment and owned by Amer Sports. Wilson designs, manufactures and distributes sporting goods throughout the world and focuses on making technologically advanced products which help players of all levels perform better. Wilson’s core sport categories include: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Soccer, Youth Sports, Uniforms/Apparel, Golf, Footwear and Racquet Sports (Tennis, Racquetball, Squash, Badminton and Platform Tennis). For more information, visit www.wilson.com.