The 46th Annual HEB Tournament of Champions draw is set, with New Mexico, South Alabama, Oklahoma State, DePaul, Western Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana – Lafayette and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi taking part in the prestigious event.
The HEB tournament is one of the longest running college tennis tournaments in the United States. The Islanders purchased the rights for the tournament five years ago when Director of Tennis Steve Moore returned to Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and is run each year by the tennis program.
"This is one of the great tournaments in the history of college tennis," said Moore. "This tournament was founded by Howard Butt himself 46 years ago, and HEB has been the title sponsor for 46-straight years.
"We owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude."
"This tournament has been considered for a long time to be arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the United States," said Moore. "It has been very special to the Islanders in the five years that we've run the tournament.
"This has been an occasion where the Islanders have risen up in recent years."
In the past five years, the Islanders have upset nationally-ranked teams such as Purdue, New Mexico, Old Dominion during the event. The Islanders reached their highest NCAA ranking ever of No. 35 in Division I the week after reaching the finals of the HEB Tournament in 2009.
This year's field features teams that have all been ranked in the ITA National Rankings at some point this year, including the Islanders.
"It's an honor for our university to host this great tournament, and it will be extremely special playing some of the matches this year in the new Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center, which we are very proud of." said Moore.
Half of the matches will be played at HEB Tennis Center, and half will be played at the new Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center this year.
One long time participant who has been missing in recent years will return to the HEB this season. Oklahoma State has been a participant in several tournaments throughout the years, and will play in the event in the final year for their head coach.
"It's great to see Oklahoma State return to this tournament," said Moore. "They've always played great here and it's a great tribute to their legendary coach, James Wadley, in his final year."
In addition to the title sponsor, HEB, other sponsors for this year's tournament are the Buchanan Law Firm, Marco and Company Catering and Hester's. Holiday Inn Emerald Beach and Holiday Inn Mustang Island have helped house the visiting teams for the 2012 tournament.
Updates for Islanders matches will be available throughout the day on Twitter (@IslandersTennis) and the latest info on Islanders Tennis can also be found on Facebook (Islanders Tennis) and www.GoIslanders.com.