NEW YORK – Duquesne University’s Drew Akins was honored with the 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award Endowed by Billie Jean King this past weekend in New York.
Akins, who graduated earlier this spring with a degree in finance from Duquesne, was one of 13 individuals who traveled to New York for the 2019 ITA Leadership Award Weekend. The 10 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners, 2019 NCAA Division I Male and Female Players of the Year and Akins were honored for their on-and-off-the-court excellence and participation in community outreach.
The weekend opened Saturday with a visit to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York where the group participated in Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation, the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world that included chart-topping music acts and today’s best tennis players coming together to celebrate tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.
The day featured a ticketed Stadium Show inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, as well as a free Kids’ Festival.
The group spent the morning welcoming large numbers of youth onto the court where they had stations set up and offered instruction and opportunities for kids to hit balls.
The day concluded with an awards banquet inside the Empire State Building where the award winners were recognized and received their awards.
Akins capped his weekend on Sunday when he and the group visited the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning in the Bronx, New York. The day included a get-know session with aspiring young tennis players before moving to the courts where they participated in a series of drills and some friendly competition before concluding with lunch and a question-and-answer session.
Opened in 2015, the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning provides free year-round instruction and play for youth ages 5-18 and all skill levels. The youth who participated in Sunday’s event are in the Center’s Intensive Training Program and interested in playing college tennis.
The ITA will return to New York on September 7 when it presents internationally renowned business executive Doug Conant with the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award.
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men’s and women’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.