Begun last fall, the renovation project included a brand new building, which features amenities like a coach's office, auxiliary multi-use office, team locker rooms, new restrooms, ample storage areas and the classroom. Additionally, a patio-like breezeway, and spectator seating on either side, have made it one of the most fan-friendly facilities. The classroom facility is not only a welcoming area for larger gatherings, but also an ideal addition to facilitate academic needs.
The project was spearheaded by the ongoing support of longtime McMurry University benefactor Barbara Swagerty, who has a passion for the University's tennis program. Additionally, the new classroom facility was made possible via donations from friends and family of the late Chuck Hutchinson III, a former businessman and civic leader in Abilene.
Swagerty is a McMurry graduate and tennis enthusiast, who has cemented herself as a true friend of the War Hawks' tennis program over the years. She remains one of the biggest advocates for the sport around the city of Abilene, as well.
Hutchison was the husband of McM alumnae Karla Tooley Hutchinson, a 1977 graduate whose father (Wendell) served on the McMurry Board of Trustees. A "tennis-loving family," the couple was also friends with current McMurry head coach Mark Hathorn (Hathorn coached the couples' son in high school). Chuck Hutchinson III died of cancer in 2008.
"Words can not truly express our gratitude for the on-going love and support McMurry Tennis receives from Barbara Swagerty," said Hathorn. "Several years ago, she had the foresight and made the commitment to this university to help us get to the point where we have the facility you see today. She has truly made an investment not only in McMurry Tennis, but also in each and every student-athlete who wears the Maroon and White.
"Likewise, I am so grateful to all of those who knew and loved Chuck Hutchinson for their generous gifts, as well, especially Karla. I can think of no better way to perpetuate his name - and love of the game of tennis - than to have a room which helps student-athletes equip themselves for life after tennis!"
The facility was originally named in honor of Swagerty on January 19, 2005 after her generous gift at that time expanded the facility (formerly known as the McMurry Tennis Courts) from three to six courts, including resurfacing and new lighting. Other improvements resulting from that original renovation included cosmetic features to the existing structure, as well as the installation of sidewalks, landscaping and parking.
Anyone wishing to attend the ribbon cutting and dedication should RSVP by Wednesday (Apr. 24) to Mary Blanton at (325) 793-4609 or via e-mail to: email@example.com