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ASU Men’s Tennis Update

June 12, 2008 06:09 PM

Thank you to everyone who has enquired about the possible reinstatement of the Men’s Tennis program at ASU. Wrestling was successful and Men’s Swimming is in the process of trying to get their program reinstated.

Last years team captain, TJ Bellama is leading the team’s fundraising efforts and has passed on the latest information to me regarding what needs to be done to keep this year’s team in tact and the time frame in which the funds need to be raised.

Larry Aschebrook from the ASU Foundation is in charge of the ASU fundraising effort and already over $400,000 has been raised towards the $5 million needed to endow the program. Unfortunately the total endowment must be raised by June 30 for Men’s Tennis to be reinstated for the 2008/9 season. Added to that time frame are the decisions that have to be made by the current team members that are looking to continue their playing careers and need to inform coaches from other schools of their transfer decisions in the next ten days. Therefore, a realistic time frame to keep this current team together is less than two weeks.

The current team is completely in tact except for the loss of Juan Carlos Rebaza, who was the only senior this year. The complete doubles line up would return and the #1, #2 and #4 singles players have two more years of eligibility left! With a season record of 15-5, a top 25 ranking and the motivation to revenge the upset loss to Duke in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, it would be a crying shame to break up this group. In fact, that is what we saw when we had to pass on the news of the program being cut to the team; many tears as this group genuinely wants to be together as they absolutely love ASU.

To raise the $5 million in such a short time is a very tough task indeed but the efforts to find a group or individual that can donate this amount has definitely not been abandoned.

We have received a $5,000 pledge from a loyal supporter who has guaranteed that he will continue to donate $5,000 each year towards the $250,000 annual operating budget until the $5 million is raised. What if we had 49 people who pledged the same? What if 25 people or groups pledged to donate $10,000 each year? If TJ Bellama could walk into Lisa Love’s office in 10 days with pledges that guarantee our operating budget until the $5 million is raised, maybe ASU would have to take a second look at reinstating this team and program immediately.

As I have indicated, TJ is in charge of the teams fundraising efforts. On a personal note, I may return (if asked by ASU) only if the current team stays in one piece. I am exploring new career options and am looking forward to hopefully staying in tennis and in Scottsdale. I am helping the team as much as I can with their transfer options, fundraising and many other areas during this tough time. Lou has also indicated that he is fully supportive of the team’s efforts to stay together but that he has, “come to a fork in the road”, regarding his career path.

Please forward this email to as many ASU Tennis supporters, media, alumni and tennis fans, as you can. We need as much help as we can get from a large group of people for this money to be raised in such a short time.

Please forward your pledges to TJ at the email address below and please feel free to contact TJ or me with any questions you may have.

Thank you and Go Devils!

Laurie Warder
(New email) strayanbat@cox.net
(480) 239 5666

TJ Bellama
(571) 275 9290