The Mobile Tennis Center (MTC) has long been considered one of the top athletic facilities in the nation. That honor must be well deserved, as the world’s largest tennis competition is now booked at the center near Langan Municipal Park for the next three years.
July 21-24 the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) will conduct its Southern Sectionals for players age 18 and above. Coming back the following weekend, July 28-31, will be the USTA’s Southern Sectionals for players age 40 and above.
The two events are expected to draw 2,000 players to Mobile. Over the eight days of play, the estimated total economic impact is $13.2 million per year, or nearly $40 million during the three-year contract.
“It’s an honor to play host to this prestigious tournament,” Mobile City Council President Gina Gregory said. “This would not have been possible without the amazing effort by [general manager] Scott Novak and his team at the tennis center, the city and county, Visit Mobile, Mobile Sports Authority and, of course, the United States Tennis Association.”
Since opening in 1958, MTC has hosted numerous USTA Southern and National tournaments. The facility includes 60 courts, plus 10 courts at Medal of Honor Park and five courts at Lyons Park. The MTC is recognized as the world’s largest municipal facility.
The USTA Southern Section consists of players from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The economic impact of the two tournaments will also be felt outside Mobile. Economist Dr. Phil Forbus said the tournament is estimated to generate $722,636 in city tax revenue and $153,247 in county revenue.
“Mobile is proud to host the Southern Sectional Tennis Tournament,” Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood said. “The hard work of the Mobile Sports Authority and the Tennis Center to bring the tournament to Mobile is a real ace for our county.”
USTA officials cited the team effort by the local organizations as a leading factor in awarding the three-year commitment to MTC.
“We are thrilled to be coming back to the city of Mobile and this beautiful facility,” said Chris Walling, director of adult tennis for USTA Southern. “Scott Novak and the city of Mobile do an amazing job for our players in providing an exemplary tournament experience, and Mobile has quickly become a player-favorite spot for our league championships. His team has proven to us many times in the past that they will take care of the details and create a great championship for the USTA Southern Section.”
Also on the MTC schedule this summer is the USTA Boys’ 14 and Boys’ 12 National Hard Court Championships, taking place Aug. 5-12. Sept. 8-10 will be the Alabama Junior Open for Boys and Girls ages 12 to 18. More tournaments will take place in the fall. To learn more, visit www.MobileTennisCenter.net.
Anglers descend on Dauphin Island
The 84th annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR) is here once again. Activities for the world’s largest fishing tournament get underway Thursday night, July 20, with the “Spot Liars Contest” and the captains’ meeting on the rodeo site at 531 Lemoyne Drive.
A cannon blast at 5 a.m. on Friday will mark the official start of the competition. The weigh station will open at 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the weigh station will again open at 10 a.m. but close at 5 p.m.
The ADSFR is a project of the Mobile Jaycees. Founded in 1929, the fishing rodeo now attracts more than 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators each year.
The three-day event includes 30 categories of fish, with first-, second- and third-place prizes awarded. One “master angler” is recognized and cash prizes for king mackerel, speckled trout and “big game” jackpots are awarded.
The ADSFR is also a Captain’s Choice tournament and a Southern Kingfish Association event. These sponsors bump the total award package to $1 million in cash and prizes.
“One of the main goals of the 84th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo will be continuing our conservation efforts that we have introduced over the past several years,” rodeo president Van Sims said. “Returning will be the live weigh-in for speckled trout and redfish, catch-and-release tarpon, catch-and-release shark and newly added catch-and-release billfish.
“Special thanks to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Flotilla for use of the 1,400-gallon tank used in the live weigh-in. Through this we hope to improve the fisheries in the northern Gulf of Mexico so future generations can enjoy them as we do today.”
Sims pointed out the rodeo has helped fund graduate-level scholarships for the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama. Donations have now topped $250,000. Other groups that benefit from the rodeo include the American Cancer Society, the Billfish Foundation and the Mobile Jaycees Christmas Shopping Tour (which provides local children the opportunity to shop for gifts for their families).
Live music will be provided by such groups as the Wes Loper Band, Eric Erdman, the Mulligan Brothers and Rolling in the Hay. For dates and times, visit http://adsfr.com.
• Spring Hill senior Jesse Redman of Spanish Fort was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year. Redman finished his final collegiate season with a 73.53 stroke average and won the individual championship of the SHC Badger Shootout. Joining him on the all-league first-team was senior David Kirkman, while junior Kalle Nilsson was on the second-team roster.
• The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame have named USA’s Roman Buchanan to its Hampshire Honor Society. A four-year letter winner for the Jaguars, Buchanan earned his bachelor’s degree after being named to the Sun Belt Conference’s Academic Honor Roll three times. He was second on the team last season with 86 stops.