The Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center has been recognized as the largest public tennis facility in the United States. It is also quite successful, according to a study by the Mobile Area Tennis Association (MATA) which reports tournaments in 2015 account for more than $52 million in economic impact.

Lorraine Novak, MATA president, was selected by the U.S. Tennis Association’s Player Development Department to discuss those accomplishments as part of a five-person panel in New York City during the U.S. Open.

Mobile Tennis Center - Copeland Cox

Mobile Tennis Center – Copeland Cox

“It is an honor to be chosen for the blue ribbon panel as one of the top five tournament directors in the United States,” Novak said. “It is truly a team honor as we have ‘blue ribbon support’ from the city of Mobile, Mobile County, Mobile Sports Authority and the [Convention and Visitors Bureau]. We pride ourselves on being open and listening to new ideas from parents and players. Treating out-of-town players like they are special guests is our trademark.”

Novak serves as tournament director for USTA-sanctioned events at the Mobile Tennis Center. She also works as a local youth cooredinator, helping to introduce tennis to elementary school students in Mobile.

“The USTA is pleased to honor Lorraine Novak as one of the five of the absolute best junior tournament directors in the country,” Bill Mountford of the USTA said. “We are hosting them in New York City with tickets to the U.S. Open, for the opportunity to gather these best and brightest to compare notes and compile some best practices.”

The MATA study found the local events generated $2.8 million in Mobile city taxes and $606,000 in county taxes. The tournaments included national, sectional, state and local players on the junior, college and adult levels. As many as 25 events are played at the complex each year.

Football season finally here
With the NFL kicking off Thursday night, football season is in full stride. This also means the New Horizons Credit Union 1st & 10 Club is back for the 17th year with distinguished speakers from a variety of sports.

Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl will start things on Monday, Sept. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the Mobile Marriott. The weekly talks are presented by the GoDaddy Bowl.

Also in this year’s lineup are Neal Brown of Troy, Bill Clark of UAB, Jon Steinbrecher of the Mid-American Conference, Karl Benson of the Sun Belt Conference, Lee Fitting of ESPN, Tosh Lupoi of Alabama, Willie Fritz of Georgia Southern, Chris Fallica of ESPN, Dari Nowkhah of ESPN and Joey Jones of USA along with the head coaches for the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl.

Each week, high school students from Mobile and Baldwin counties will be recognized for achievements on the field, in the classroom and throughout the community.

For more information on the weekly events, visit or call 251-635-0011.

● In another football note, the University of South Alabama (USA) Jaguars have announced they will host Alabama State in 2018, completing the team’s non-conference lineup that season.

The game is set for Oct. 13, 2018, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The other out-of-league clashes include a Sept. 1 home game with Louisiana Tech. The Jags travel to Oklahoma State the following weekend, and then to Memphis on Sept. 22.

College golfers recognized
The men and women’s golf teams at the University of Mobile are both ranked in the Bushnell Golfweek NAIA Preseason Coaches Poll. The Rams are at No. 17 while the Lady Rams come in at No. 22.

The men, who open play Sept. 14-15 in Sea Island, Georgia, have six players back who saw action last year. Leading the way are Mike Herperger (74.9), Keith Brooks (77.1) and Connor Hogan (79.2). Their lone local event this fall is the Spring Hill Tournament Oct. 5-6.

For the women, Heather Nail returns after earning NAIA All-America honors. She was joined on the All-Southern States Athletic Conference with Kyra Plotner. The Lady Rams open play Sept. 28-29 in Hattiesburg and will also participate in the Spring Hill event.

Baseball not over yet
USA will conduct walk-on tryouts for baseball on Monday, Sept. 14. The drills will take place at Stanky Field beginning at 4 p.m.

Players must complete medical forms on the website. These can be found in the Sports Medicine section under “Walk-on Sport Tryout Information and Medical Form.” For more information, call Andrew Carden at 251-460-6876.

● Dr. Joel Erdmann, director of athletics for USA, will serve as chair of the Division I Baseball Committee during the 2015-16 academic year. Included in his tasks is helping to select and seed the field for the NCAA Tournament, as well as assist in site administration.

While athletic director at the University of North Alabama, Erdmann was on the NCAA Division II Football Committee. He has served on the baseball, softball, golf and tennis committees for the Sun Belt Conference while at USA.

College honors
The men’s cross country team for USA is ranked 10th in the first South Regional rankings. That’s two spots higher than the final regional poll after they won the 2014 Sun Belt Conference championship.

In the preseason USA picks, the men were projected to finish second behind Texas-Arlington. The Lady Jags were sixth in their poll.

Both squads will host the Azalea City Classic on Friday, Sept. 11, at The Grounds in Mobile. The women run at 5:30 p.m., while the men take the course at 6 p.m.

● Spring Hill College had 44 student athletes honored for the 2014-15 season by the Division II Athletic Directors Association. Those selected maintained at least a 3.5 grade point average.