SOU tennis coach Patton honored by USTA, ITA

Southern Oregon University women's tennis coach recently won two prestigious awards, courtesy of the United States Tennis Association and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Patton, who has coached SOU since 1999, won the organizations' community service and campus recreation awards, respectively, becoming the only coach in the country to pocket both honors.

"Tennis is my passion and I often feel that I get back more than I give," Patton said. "But it is always nice to be recognized and I am excited about winning the awards."

The USTA award recognized Patton for her seven years of running a USTA sponsored summer junior team tennis tournament in Ashland for novice and intermediate level players. Teams as far away as Coos Bay travel to compete against teams from Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg. For many of these players, it's their first competitive tennis experience.

Patton also ran a free after-school tennis program at Helman Elementary School in Ashland and conducted a school-day assembly and a series of after-school tennis assemblies at Medford elementary schools to promote tennis to area youth.

The ITA award recognized Patton for introducing intramural team tennis to SOU and for offering free Friday afternoon tennis to all students, faculty and staff. She also has organized and taught adult group tennis lessons through the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition, her tennis teams have provided free tennis clinics to local school children. As a board member of STAY (Supporters of Tennis for Ashland Youth) she has been instrumental in supporting tennis opportunities for all youth, including the Ashland High boys and girls tennis teams and the SOU women's program.

Both the USTA and ITA awards honor coaches for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs and recognize coaches who have helped increase tennis participation with the campus community.

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