ITA gold level restored the milwaukee tennis classic premier national college tennis event
The Milwaukee Tennis Classic (MTC) faced significant challenges during the 47 years as it navigated its way as a national intercollegiate men’s and women’s tennis tournament. When MTC launched in 1975, there was no end-of-year holiday indoor college tennis event. Chas Mulcahy, George Gaspar and John Roethle, avid tennis enthusiasts, developed a plan for such a tournament.
Using indoor tennis facilities throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area and presenting the finals in the 3,500 seat Milwaukee Auditorium created the perfect venue. MTC took off, regularly recruiting top ten players in the country; and, continued as a premier college tennis event for 29 years when the Auditorium was repurposed as the Milwaukee Theater. The perfect venue was no longer available!
There was no other comparable venue for the finals so the MTC struggled; and, in the eyes of some was on life support. From 2005 to 2016, MTC survived as a team-oriented event in an outdoor fall venue with four men’s and women’s teams. MTC used that time to regroup and develop a plan to restore its premier national intercollegiate tennis status. Wild cards were key ingredients in restoration.
During 2016 and 2017, Mulcahy met with ITA President & CEO Dr. Timothy Russell on four different occasions in Tempe, AZ to discuss a potential ITA gold level sponsorship for MTC. ITA, as the governing body of college tennis at all levels, was the key. MTC had the needed restoration experience and resources but it was no longer on the national college tennis map; and, needed a respected national endorsement. College tennis at this time was contracting so a new, independent intercollegiate tennis event was a rare potential opportunity. Russell and ITA awarded MTC gold level status.
The rest is history. MTC has returned as a premier national intercollegiate men’s and women’s tennis event with top players from around the country returning to Milwaukee. Many of the coaches with top tennis programs had played in MTC and they remembered the positive, friendly and competent people in Milwaukee. Russell and ITA assumed the risk and MTC was restored. MTC officials thank Tim and ITA for their willingness to endorse, in advance, the MTC restoration.