A crowd of nearly 200 was on hand for the grand opening of the Baseline Tennis Center, the new home of the University of Minnesota Men's and Women's Tennis Teams.
Following a VIP reception in the club room, a short program was held to honor those that contributed to the facility. Bob McNamara served as emcee as he welcomed University of Minnesota Interim President Bob Bruininks, Athletics Director Joel Maturi, former Men's Athletics Director Tom Moe, Men's Tennis Head Coach David Geatz and Women's Tennis Head Coach Tyler Thomson.
"About 15 or 16 years ago, (former head men's tennis coach) Jerry Noyce and the Baseline Club had a meeting to find a way to endow the five tennis scholarships which we eventually found a way to get done," McNamara said. "Also at that meeting, we discussed the dream of having a new on-campus facility. I was talking to Jerry earlier tonight about how that dream is now a reality."
Thomson could barely contain his enthusiasm as he spoke on the main court of his women's tennis program's new home.
"Isn't this place cool,:" Thomson commented. "Eighteen maroon and gold courts. This is an unbelievable place. When I go to other states and talk to people who are a part of the tennis community, they marvel at the support Minnesota tennis receives from the Baseline Club. I'd also like to thank the Courtside Club. Their support has been very instrumental in the overall support of our student-athletes."
Beginning his 16th season as the men's head coach and following in the footsteps of tennis legend Jerry Noyce, David Geatz expressed his appreciation to those that helped build the Baseline Tennis Center. He also expressed thanks to Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner who allowed the Gopher Tennis programs to make the 98th Street Racquet Club in Bloomington their home away from home.
"Jerry Noyce was the architect of Minnesota Tennis. The Baseline Club was the lifeline of Minnesota Tennis and Marv and Harv were the guardian angels," Geatz said. "Tyler and I are the luckiest guys around. I'm proud to be a member of the Baseline Club and I'm proud that this facility is named in its honor."
Geatz announced that the two main stadium courts will now be known as the McNamara Stadium Court, in honor of Bob and Pinky McNamara, and the Jerry Noyce Stadium Court, in honor of the former head men's tennis coach.
Following the program, an exhibition mixed doubles match was held and individual tours of the facility were conducted.
The Baseline Tennis Center will next host the Big Ten Men's Singles Championship, Nov. 15-17.