June 18, 2012
Georgia Gwinnett College got a major benefit Monday from its earlier acquisition of the Collins Hill Tennis Center.
The Grizzlies announced the hiring of one of the most successful coaches in college tennis, Georgia State's Chase Hodges, who stepped down as the Panthers' men's coach to head up both the GGC men's and women's programs.
After talking with Hodges, I got the feeling that he loved GGC, its mission and the chance to start his own program. But you can bet the Collins Hill Tennis Center was a huge part of what drew him to a newly accepted NAIA school that begins intercollegiate athletics for the 2012-13 school year.
While the Grizzlies' soon-to-be-constructed, on-campus athletic facilities will be nice, the one venue that is already built isn't too shabby, either. The site of numerous amateur and professional tournaments over the year, the Collins Hill venue features 12 hardcourts and four clay courts. It also has a fitness center, weight rooms, locker rooms, office space and an outdoor recreational pool.
All of that will be run by Hodges and the GGC program. The venue had to mean more for the coach since his Georgia State teams didn't really have a place to call home and played its matches out of the Sharon E. Lester Tennis Center at Piedmont Park.
In addition to being a pretty nice place for GGC's regular students to play intramural matches, the facility also will become an important recruiting tool for Hodges. He plans to recruit locally, but also will recruit far and wide, a process that will be made easier with the tennis center as a top selling point.
"I've recruited a lot internationally and I plan to continue to recruit internationally, but I want to recruit the state of Georgia hard, too," Hodges said.
With eight men's and eight women's team roster spots to fill for the 2012-13 season, Hodges will need to work fast to get some recruits on campus. At least he's got a great tennis center to help him out.