The San Diego Veterans Tennis Classic (SDVTC) is like no other athletic event in the world! Its establishment as a national athletic and veterans and community outreach program is unprecedented and premised upon recognizing the critical role the United States Navy plays in developing fit, capable, and ethical leaders in Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and in all Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) programs throughout the United States; including the University of San Diego.
The SDVTC is also unique in the relationship it has developed with the United States Naval Academy and its tennis program; providing the Academy a platform to showcase the talents and character of its Midshipmen and completing the Academy’s tennis presence across the country from Annapolis to Milwaukee to San Diego. In partnership with the Milwaukee Tennis Classic (MTC), the SDVTC is proud to support the United States Naval Academy in its mission to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically.
To say the SDVTC would not exist without the Naval Academy is no exaggeration. It was the Academy’s participation in the annual Milwaukee Tennis Classic which inspired the leadership of that event to want to create a tennis event that highlighted the uniqueness of the Naval Academy and the sacrifices of all those who made the decision to serve in the United States Navy.
USNA Coach Chris Garner and his men’s tennis team competed in the 2016 Milwaukee Tennis Classic, a national intercollegiate men’s and women’s tennis tournament. During that tournament, the MTC and the Milwaukee Area Navy League hosted a reception for the USNA team the night before competition. Navy Team Captain, Midshipman Thomas J. Pecor, delivered an impressive presentation on the mission of the Naval Academy and the experience of being a student athlete at the Academy. Pecor’s impressive demeanor and performance during the tournament earned him the 2016 MTC Sportsmanship Award.
In 2017, recognizing the important role the Naval Academy plays in replenishing the supply of dependable and ethical leaders committed to national defense, the MTC commenced providing wild cards to two men and two women from the Naval Academy. The purpose of those wild card positions is to allow for a continued presence of the Naval Academy in the event and serve as recognition of the critical role the U.S. military plays in our national defense.
Charles “Chas” Mulcahy, Co-Founder of the MTC, was so inspired by the performance and character of Midshipman Pecor and the rest of the players on the USNA tennis team, he decided to devote himself to creating another avenue to showcase the impressive character of these athletes and the level of sacrifice made by our nation’s service members.
As the USNA tennis program continued to move west, San Diego, as the largest Navy presence on the west coast, was a logical and exciting location to try and develop this new tennis showcase, and the University of San Diego (USD), with its impressive leadership of the San Diego Area NROTC program, was a logical choice to join the coalition. USD was also planning a new $8 million tennis center on its campus, which could serve as the cornerstone location of a new annual tennis event. The commanding officer of the San Diego NROTC program, Captain Edwin Kaiser, was extremely supportive of the idea, and USD Men’s Tennis Coach, Ryan Keckley, became an immediate, valuable and dedicated leader to bring SDVTC to fruition. Keckley developed the vision of the tennis event format and the plan to include the four participating universities.
With the foundation of the SDVTC starting to take shape, Chas Mulcahy started to take more action. Chas then filed the appropriate paperwork to have the SDVTC incorporated as a non-profit California corporation on June 11, 2019, and on August 6, 2019 the SDVTC was granted tax exempt status by the IRS.
Chas and Thomas developed a relationship with the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association San Diego Chapter President, Craig Smith (USNA ’82), who provided encouragement, support and introductions to other USNA graduates in the San Diego area. USNA tennis coaches; Chris Garner, John Moreland, Keith Puryear, and Ale Pedergnana; contacted USNA tennis alumni making them aware of the SDVTC and encouraging them to get involved. By April 2020 the SDVTC Board of Directors included Mulcahy, Steve Kappes (Retired Navy Captain), and Jesse Lankford (Retired Navy Commander/USNA ’96). Other critical volunteers included MIDN Justin Daus (USD NROTC), Dick Evert (USNA '68) Julie Dias (USNA ’10), and Haley Adams-Mansberger (USNA ’14), Dias and Mansberger are all USNA tennis alumni.
This is the background and foundation of the SDVTC. The performance of the Naval Academy tennis team at the MTC was the inspiration behind the creation of the SDVTC, and the support of US Navy retirees and USNA alumni in the San Diego area was the driving engine to make the vision a reality. The SDVTC plans to continue to develop the special relationships it has with the United States Naval Academy, USNA alumni, and veterans in the San Diego area. It is these relationships which make the SDVTC a truly unique event and set it apart from other athletic competitions across the country.
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UCSD MTENS NAT RANKING 7 IN FEB 2020
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