TEMPE, Ariz. (October 30) – Long-time Smith College head women’s tennis coach Christine Davis has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the ITA Meritorious Service Award, presented by ConantLeadership. Davis will be presented with the award on Saturday, December 7, during the 2019 ITA Coaches Convention Awards Luncheon at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Florida.
The ITA Meritorious Service Award is given annually in recognition of an ITA coach who has gone “above and beyond” in their commitment and contributions to the ITA and college tennis in general. As part of receiving the Meritorious Service Award, Davis, courtesy of the ITA and ConantLeadership, will attend the 2019 ITA Leadership Weekend in New York City, where she will be recognized with other ITA Award winners the weekend before the start of the 2020 U.S. Open.
“On behalf of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, we are honored to recognize a true ambassador and leader of our sport in Christine Davis with the 2019 ITA Meritorious Service Award,” said ITA Chief Executive Officer Timothy Russell. “Our Association has been greatly enhanced by Coach Davis’ presence over the years as a member of the ITA Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Operating Committee, and NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Committee.
“Her 39-year tenure as head coach at Smith College is a testament to Christine’s passion for collegiate tennis and dedication to leading young women,” Russell added. “The ITA thanks Christine for her leadership and service. We would also like to thank ConantLeadership for its ongoing support of college tennis and presenting Christine with such a prestigious honor, the ITA Meritorious Service Award.”
Davis assumed the head coaching position at Smith College in 1978 and led the Pioneers to New8 Conference regular-season titles in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1998 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships in 1988, 1993 and 1994. The 1989 and 1993-1995 teams reached the conference tournament finals.
She was voted Conference Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996 – 98 and 2002, ITA East Region Coach of the Year in 1999 and PTR East Regional Coach of the Year in 2002.
In addition to her roles on the ITA Board of Directors and ITA Executive Committee, Davis served as chair of the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Subcommittee and was a member of the NCAA Division III Tennis Committee from 1992 to 1998. She was recognized at the 1988 U.S. Open for her contributions to community tennis receiving the National ITA Community Service Award. In 2009, Davis received the national USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award.
“Wow, I am overwhelmed by this incredible honor from ConantLeadership and the ITA. It has been a true privilege to work with and be mentored by inspiring, talented ITA colleagues who understand the importance of a collaborative spirit and who opened the door for me and supported me throughout my career,” Davis said. “The guidance of those individuals was essential in my being able to serve and to help grow this game.
“I was fortunate to have been introduced to Humanics during my years at Springfield College calling for ‘the education of the whole person in spirit, mind and body-in leadership to others’. Coaching tennis at Smith College and tennis clubs in Ohio throughout my career provided the perfect venue to support that philosophy,” Davis added. “I have been blessed to be in a profession I love, with so many opportunities to coach and to help educate the whole player, including the sharing of life lessons on and off the tennis court. In the words of Ann Lebedeff, on her receiving this award in 2017, ‘We are fortunate to be of service to so many. It is our obligation to pass the torch to future leaders’.”
Davis’ contributions to the sport of tennis extend beyond the college game as she has her PTR professional level as well as USTA high performance certification, holding numerous teaching and tennis director positions, including Tennis Director at The Country Club at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
From 1987 to 1990 Davis served as the ITA national ranking chair. She was inducted into her high school and Northeast Region Agenda Women’s Halls of Fame and received the GTCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
A 1976 graduate of Springfield College, Davis received her master’s degree from Smith. She was ranked in USTA junior tennis competition and played top positions on Springfield’s undefeated tennis teams as well as junior-year collegiate competition in England.
2014 – Dave Fish, Harvard
2015 – Ann Lebedeff, Pomona-Pitzer
2016 – Shelia McInerney, Arizona State
2017 – Peter Wright, California
2018 – Bill Richards, Ball State
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 us on Twitter and Instagram.