SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its Division I Regional Awards on Tuesday and two members of the UC Santa Barbara men's program were prominently honored.
Senior captain and Big West Conference Player Morgan Mays was honored with the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and assistant coach Blake Muller was selected the Southwest Region's Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognizes athletes who not only perform on the court and inside the classroom, but also go above and beyond in their extracurricular undertakings. Mays joins Simon Shen (2000) as the only two Gauchos to receive the award since its creation in 1984.
The Malibu native played a major role in the Gaucho's 19-6 record, third consecutive Big West Conference Championship and third straight NCAA appearance. Mays and doubles partner Simon Freud were 13-4 in dual matches this season. At one point the two were ranked No. 6 nationally and finished ranked in the postseason at 35th in the country.
"Those of us that had the pleasure of spending time with Arthur know how special he was and how he transcended sport to make our world a better place," said UCSB head coach Marty Davis. "From my perspective, there can be no greater honor than winning an award that bears his name. Morgan is a deserving winner as he exemplifies Ashe's class, dignity, sportsmanship and leadership skills."
Muller was named the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year in the Southwest Region, his first such honor. Previously, the former star at Stanford was recognized as an ITA Scholar Athlete on two occasions. Muller is in his second stint as an assistant in the program and since his return in the fall of 2014 the Gauchos have experienced great success. The honor not only reflects his contribution to the on-court success of the Gauchos, but also his success in fundraising efforts within the Young Alumni Program and community service in the Special Olympics.
Mays and Muller will be placed on the national ballot. The ITA's national award winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 23.