Oct. 9, 2010
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-- The University of New Mexico's Linda Estes Tennis Complex, also known as the Lobo Tennis Club, was honored Saturday, Oct. 9 in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the Southwest Tennis Association's (SWTA) annual awards banquet. The SWTA gave UNM's club the distinction of "Member Organization of the Year" for 2010 for the southwest region, which includes Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas. This is the first time the club has earned such an honor.
"The southwest office told me that our `overwhelming' programming, community involvement, junior academy, QuickStart program, and much more were why we won this award," said Lobo Club director Loren Dils. "It means we are doing the right things to showcase our talent, facilities, pros, and the University of New Mexico."
The criteria for the award takes into consideration the quality, maintenance, layout, adaptation and accessories/amenities of the facility, as well as the club's programming and contribution to the game of tennis.
The facility includes seven outdoor courts, equipped with lighting for night play, and six indoor courts housed in the Randy Briggs and First State Bank tennis domes. The Randy Briggs dome is the widest indoor tennis bubble in the world, measuring in at 128 feet across, 40 feet tall, and 196 feet long. It houses three courts and enough bleachers to seat close to 1,000 fans.
The First State Bank dome is connected to the Randy Briggs dome by a tunnel. It houses three courts as well, and seats 750 spectators. Heating and air for the domes are controlled by computer, and the lighting is provided by hanging lights for unobstructed views and playing area.
The complex also features a clubhouse which includes coaches' offices, locker rooms and a player's lounge, as well as an outdoor picnic area. While the facility provides the environment, it is the activities that are really the heart of the club.
"We don't want to be one of the tennis clubs in town, we want to be THE tennis club in town," Dils said. "We want to be known as a `learning center for tennis' where anyone can come to improve their game and enjoy the process of learning, and do it all in a great setting. We also want to be highly involved in the community and give back when possible."
In 2009-2010 the Lobo Club hosted nearly 20 special events, ranging from clinics for youth, adults and coaches, to tournaments that raised money for charities like Ronald McDonald House and the New Mexico chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association. The club also maintained several programs and leagues. The complex has also been used in the past for important events such as the Mountain West Conference Championship in 2000, and first and second rounds of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
At the end of August, it was announced that the Linda Estes Tennis Complex was selected to host a new Level 3 Regional Junior Tournament in July 2011. The tournament is the Boys and Girls Under 18 event for the region and is one of four of its kind in the nation. While matches will also occur at other tennis facilities throughout the city, UNM's complex will be the host site.
"This is big for Albuquerque and the University because they only award these tournaments to facilities that provide an outstanding tournament experience for the players and fans," Dils said. "It is awesome that the SWTA recognized us over venues in Phoenix, Tucson, and El Paso."
He added that holding such a tournament is an important step toward being the host of a national championship in the future.
Gaining such recognitions by the SWTA speaks highly of UNM's tennis club and its contribution to the Lobo men's and women's tennis teams, as well as the community of Albuquerque.