Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center dedication
Feb. 28, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - As the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center officially opened its doors, it was poignant that the first serve and groundstrokes to grace the indoor courts were summoned by Dave Snyder and Graham Whaling.
Both gentlemen had separately carved their legacies as giants in Texas tennis until they merged in unison on Wednesday afternoon.
Snyder played at Texas from 1954-56, later took over as head coach and retired in 2000 with 697 career victories, and he did nothing more than set the foundation for the tradition of Texas tennis. And in Whaling, another Texas tennis letterwinner, the Texas Longhorns have a champion for the future of the program.
The University of Texas initiated construction of the Weller Tennis Center, featuring the Whaling/Snyder Courts, on the grounds of The University of Texas Golf Club. The $8.8 million facility boasts six indoor tennis courts and four outdoor tennis courts.
The facility bears the names of the late Edgar O. Weller, a former Texas tennis letterwinner, and his wife, the late Melanie A. Weller. The Wellers established the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Charitable Remainder Trust to provide significant funding for the facility.
"This is an exciting day for Texas tennis," said UT head coach Michael Center. "I'd like to thank the Weller family for getting this project started, and I'd like to send a special `thank you' to Graham Whaling for his contributions to finishing this project."
As the indoor home for the University of Texas men's and women's tennis programs, the Longhorns will be able to utilize the Weller Tennis Center for team practices and to host collegiate tournaments and dual matches. Texas tennis will continue to use Penick-Allison Tennis Center on the UT campus for outdoor practices, tournaments and dual matches.
"Obviously, the Wellers and Graham Whaling were out front on this, but there have also been many people behind the scenes who have done a lot of work and put in a lot of time to make this happen," Center said. "This place really is amazing."
During the wet and windy early winter months, the Longhorns often lose valuable training days and even official matches to inclement weather. Even previous NCAA matches that UT has hosted have been detoured to indoor courts as far away as San Antonio because of unplayable conditions.
In the past, Women's Tennis head coach Patty Fendick-McCain would take her student-athletes to upstairs basketball courts at UT's Gregory Gym to practice on rainy days. The Longhorns hit against brick walls, trying to navigate groundstrokes around joggers from the encircling track.
Now with access to a state-of-the-art indoor facility on the western edge of Austin's hill country, the Longhorns can schedule quality practice come rain or shine.
"Trust me, there are quite of few runners who are happy this place opened too," Fendick-McCain said. "We are so grateful to our donors for making this happen. This facility is something our tennis programs have needed very badly, and we're absolutely thrilled to have a venue we can use in inclement weather and as a back-up site for our home matches. We are grateful that so many people, including former players, made such a commitment to our program."
Steve Bryan, a Texas All-American who won the NCAA singles championship in 1990, will serve as the facility's Director of Tennis.
"The idea of being part of a world-class facility proudly bearing the UT name, and being here at the beginning, is an opportunity anyone in the tennis world would embrace," Bryan said. "And we'll make this a facility that Longhorn fans everywhere will be proud of when they see Texas Tennis compete and win on our courts."
Along with both Texas tennis programs, the future holds great things for UT Golf Club members and prospective members that join the UT Tennis Center. The facility, located between the first and ninth fairways of the UT Golf Club, includes all of the well-appointed details members have come to enjoy at the UT Golf Club. Members will have easy access to quality court time along with member privileges such as fitness, swimming (opening Spring 2013), dining and social events.
"If The University of Texas is ever wanting or needing a facility, Texas exes and Texas friends step up and make it happen," UT Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds said. "What an asset this will be for UT, the community of Austin and the state of Texas."
Following Snyder and Whaling's ceremonial first serve and rally, Center's men's tennis team held an open practice session. They delighted guests with lobs and volleys under the roof of the sparkling facility.
"This gives our student-athletes an opportunity to shine and have a visible piece in their community," UT Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky said.
The Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center