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Oct. 17, 2014

Medical Mutual provides CSU Tennis with major grant

By Jordan Smith

What Vikings tennis coach Brian Etzkin describes as, “A coach’s dream,” will become reality thanks to a $1.4 million donation from Medical Mutual. Cleveland State University will become the first, and only, Horizon League school with indoor tennis facilities on campus.

The tennis courts, located on East 21st Street, will have a seasonal dome, similar to Krenzler Field and will include heat, air conditioning and insulation optimizing the courts for year-round play. The courts will be named the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion.

Currently, the men’s and women’s tennis teams play their home matches at the Paramount Tennis Club in Westlake. It takes the team about 20 minutes to get to practices and matches, which is something Etzkin is happy to eliminate.

“It’s an incredibly generous gift from Medical Mutual,” Etzkin said.

Etzkin attributes most of the credit to President Ronald M. Berkman and says that he is appreciative of his efforts in getting a deal done. The biggest piece of the puzzle, he said, was getting Medical Mutual CEO Rick Chiricosta on board.

“It’ll help our tennis teams, and we’ll no longer have to travel every day to practice back and forth,” Etzkin said.

The nearest tennis clubs are in suburban communities, which is why Etzkin presented the idea of operating the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion like a club.

“A possible option is to run it like a club,” Etzkin said. It’s a possible vision right now.”

Etzkin has begun using the renovated courts as a recruiting tool. Not only is Cleveland State the only school in the Horizon League with its very own indoor tennis court, but it is one of the only schools in the Midwest with such an amenity. The Ohio State University plays their home matches in a facility in northwest Columbus while the University of Akron play their matches in Stow.

“The moment it was official we definitely told people right away that we are the only Horizon League team in our conference with an indoor tennis court,” Etzkin said. We’ll see in a couple of years whether or not it helps [as a recruiting tool].”

He also pointed out that the team is relieved to have a place to practice that is so close to campus.

“They can’t wait to see it happen,” Etzkin said. “We’re starting to plan meetings, and every day we have a vision of what it looks like, just very excited to see the finished product.”
The target date for the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion to open is Sept. 1, 2015.