The University of Olivets New Addition
The University of Olivet recently completed a project that added six brand new tennis courts.
The courts are located behind the Cutler Athletic Complex by the softball and baseball fields.
This was all made possible by Alumni Tom Kolassa. Kolassa graduated from Olivet in 1969 and studied political science, was a member of Phi Alpha Pi as well as played tennis. The University of Olivet director of athletics Haley Diringer stated that, “…his generous gift towards the tennis courts is what made the courts' completion possible.”
The tennis team is used to traveling, they have had practice in the past anywhere ranging from Charlotte, to Marshall, and even down to Battle Creek. The team still uses Minges Creek Athletic Club for winter practices but tennis coach Brandon Ralston spoke about the impact the courts will have for him and the program. Ralston said, “...Now we are able to spend more time on the courts sharpening our skills. It means the world to the team to be right here on campus where the rest of UO nation can support us during our matches… none of this happens without the generosity of Mr. Kolassa. This gift has meant the world to me and the team, and we are all eternally grateful for the generosity he has shown.”
Senior tennis team captain Trevor Lewis also commented on what these courts do for the team. “It’s huge for us. No drive just means more time to practice and work on what we need to work on. The team's morale is much higher, being a part of the team means a bit more to each of us” Lewis said.
Diringer also commented on the impact the courts will have for the university and the community that surrounds the campus. “The new tennis courts will have a very positive impact on the campus and Olivet community. The courts provide a space for the tennis teams to practice on campus and give the rest of the campus community and surrounding area community members courts to play on as well.” Diringer said.
These tennis courts won’t just be used for tennis. Diringer said, “We added pickleball lines to the courts as well so there will be space for plenty of recreation.” Pickleball is a growing sport that is played with paddles and a perforated hollow plastic ball. It is a smaller court, making it easier for children and seniors to be active. These courts are open for anyone on campus and anyone in the area looking for exercise and a place to play tennis or pickleball.
These courts are now open and ready for use, the dedication ceremony of the courts was conducted during Homecoming weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at 1 p.m. before the football game.
Photos By Michael Leija