Cal Poly recently finished improvements to its tennis facility that athletic director Don Oberhelman said have turned Mustang Courts into one of the best venues in the state and one that should greatly impact recruiting.
Unveiled last week, the additions to the tennis courts were part of a wave of offseason upgrades that included a new weight room, renovations to the volleyball locker room, tweaks to the swimming pool and new permanent bleachers at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The makeover of the tennis courts might be the most dramatic.
Partnering with non-profit booster organization Tennis Connect slo and lead donors John and Tracy Ronca and David and Diana Salmon, Cal Poly saw the $250,000 project bring upgrades to the playing surface and wind screens, a plethora of new logo placements and an oversized electronic scoreboard that should make following match scores much easier from a spectator perspective.
“The reason this project went forward is even before I arrived, we already had a pretty loyal group of followers that wanted to get involved,” said Oberhelman, who was hired in the spring of 2011. “They were just looking for support for the idea they had to make our tennis facility better.
“Now, you can’t look anywhere without seeing the Cal Poly logo, which for me is a big issue of pride, but also, it helps put our brand out there in terms of the identity of our university and our programs.”
Cal Poly men’s tennis coach Nick Carless echoed Oberhelman’s sentiments about the quality of the project and where the facility now ranks among its peers.
“The new additions to the facility will drastically help recruiting and player development,” Carless said in a news release. “Our facility is now the best in the Big West Conference and will benefit student-athletes for years to come.”
Next up on Oberhelman’s to-do list are probably the purchase and installation of video boards in Mott Gym, which was recently rechristened as Mott Athletics Center.
There could also be a second phase of improvements at Mustang Courts, Oberhelman said. There is a desire to add permanent seating on the end of the courts flanked by a grass berm. Currently, there are a few rows of stadium seating in the shadow of the parking structure alongside the venue.
As for larger projects, like an anticipated renovation of the east side of Spanos Stadium to match the newer west end, they remain further on the horizon.
“This was an opportunity to make a quick impact on the success of two programs,” Oberhelman said. “To make a similar impact on football, it’s going to take tens of millions of dollars and a couple of years. To make this impact on tennis, it took a couple hundred thousand dollars and a summer.”