“A Championship Tradition: The NCAA Tennis Tournament in Athens,” an exhibit marking the 29th time the NCAA Tennis Tournament has been held in Athens since 1972, opens Jan. 27 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The exhibit is being co-sponsored by the ITA Tennis Hall of Fame at the University of Georgia.
This exhibit will explore the teams and players who have shaped the rich tradition of collegiate tennis in the Classic City through photographs and objects relating to the NCAA tournament using materials from archives of the UGA Athletic Association and the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
"The NCAA tournament has long been one of the best sporting events in town, for diehard tennis fans and casual sports fans alike," said John Frierson, curator of the ITA Men's Tennis Hall of Fame and a former NCAA tennis ball boy. "The quality of play is exceptional and the drama and intensity during the team tournament are second to none, and since the championships first arrived in 1972 the Athens community has embraced and supported the event. If you like fight and grit and drama, simply great theater, the NCAAs in Athens have been right up your alley for many, many years now.
"There were a lot of us that grew up around the event, knew every player and coach by name, and wouldn't miss a single shot during the tournament if we could help it. That was especially true in the 1980s and '90s when the championships were held here pretty much annually, but it remains true today when the NCAAs return every couple of years. A lot may have changed in collegiate tennis over the years, as all sports have changed, but the spirit of the NCAA Championships in Athens remains the same."
Hargrett Library athletics curator Jason Hasty said, “This exhibit really expands the Hargrett Library’s role as a showplace for the unique and rich athletic tradition at UGA and in Athens.”