Raymond James chairman donates $500,000 to USF tennis
USF athletic director Doug Woolard said last week that the Bulls had received a $500,000 donation toward a new tennis facility, and on Sunday the donor was announced as Thomas A. James, the executive chairman of Raymond James Financial.
"I have been a supporter of various programs at USF for a number of years," James said in a statement. "As a tennis player for 60 years, I've always believed that the Bulls' tennis teams should be competitive with all of Florida's college programs. To achieve that objective, USF needs state-of-the-art facilities to attract top talent as well as develop them to become the best they can be."
The facility, which will be called the James Tennis Center, is estimated to cost a little under $2 million, and USF will continue working on donations to cover the construction costs. USF hasn't set a timetable for the center, but it's just the latest in an impressive run of facility upgrades in recent years -- new stadiums for baseball, soccer, softball and soccer, as well as new practice facilities for football, basketball and golf, and a $35 million renovation of the Sun Dome.
"I want to express the gratitude of the (USF) athletics department and its student-athletes to Mr. James for his generosity and investment into our program," Woolard said in a statement. "This lead gift for a top-of-the-line tennis center will certainly help put our tennis programs in an even better position to compete for championships both within the conference and nationallly."
Tennis has been one of USF's more successful programs in the past decade, with Big East titles for both the men's (2009) and women's (2007) teams. USF's women's team finished second in 2013, losing to Notre Dame in the championship match.