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MT recognizes Neal family with naming of tennis facility lobby

Sandy and Bill Neal donate $25,000

April 15, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO - Middle Tennessee State University will name the lobby of its proposed indoor tennis facility planned for Old Fort Park in honor of the Neal family of Murfreesboro, officials announced Thursday.

Athletics Director Chris Massaro said the decision recognizes a $25,000 donation from Sandy and Bill Neal toward the construction of the $3 million facility being built by MTSU and the City of Murfreesboro.

"Bill and Sandy have a lot of passion for tennis in our city and for MT Tennis," Massaro said. "They have been invaluable to this facility as a donor and a leader in our campaign."

Sandy Neal played varsity tennis at MTSU in the 1970s and was the first female athlete to sign a scholarship at Middle Tennessee. Neal also served as the first full-time Blue Raider women's tennis coach from 1976 through 1990. During her tenure as head coach, Neal was named OVC Coach of the Year four times and she guided three teams to OVC championships.

Bill Neal, an avid player in the Murfreesboro area for 40 years, serves as co-chair of the indoor tennis community fundraising effort. He coached tennis at Oakland High School as a non-faculty coach from 2003 to 2011 and was co-founder of the Murfreesboro Tennis Association, where he serves as vice president.

"The support we get from the tennis community is going to determine if this facility will be first class or just a minimum facility," said Bill Neal. "Having been involved in community tennis for so many years, we felt we could not let something this important slip by without doing our part."

The project, part of the University's $80 million Centennial Campaign announced April 13, includes plans for six to eight courts; locker rooms for men and women; a lobby named in honor of the Neal family; a viewing area for spectators, a laundry room; and an electronic scoreboard, which is to be named in honor of LaLance families of Murfreesboro.

The facility would be open to the general public and serve as the home of the Blue Raider men's and women's tennis programs, said Alan Farley, associate athletics director. Anyone interested in contributing to the project is asked to call Farley at (615) 898-2210.

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