There was a period in our athletic history when Belhaven was an NAIA tennis powerhouse.
- We won the national championship in1983.
- We won 13 of 15 conference championships between 1975 and 1991.
- We had a string of remarkable players….the full list of the honors they won is HERE – and it is impressive.
Then we hit some tough years. Just couldn’t seem to get traction in tennis. Then Coach Levi Patton came along three years ago, and had the vision, gifts, and determination to rebuild a quality tennis program.
Today, for the first time in many, many years, Belhaven University received votes for the top 25 ranking! Way to go Levi and team.
We have a long way to go to earn our place solidly in the rankings, but seeing what Levi has done so far, something tells me we’re going to get there!
For those of you who don’t know coatch Patton, here is his bio:
Levi Patton enters his 3rd year as head coach for the Belhaven University Men’s and Women’s Tennis programs.
An Alabama native, Patton was a member of the tennis program at Gadsden State Community College from 2000-2002 before being recruited to play at Belhaven University from 2002-2004. Patton was also a member of the 2003-2004 Cross Country program. Coach Patton graduated from Belhaven University in 2004 where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In 2006 he received his Master’s degree in Business Management.
Patton is a staff teaching professional at River Hills Club in Jackson, Mississippi. He is a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) certified teaching professional. Patton also holds certification by the United State Tennis Association (USTA) as a referee and an umpire. Patton is on the Mississippi State Board of the United States Professional Tennis Association. In January 2010 Patton became sponsored by Prince and added to the Prince Team. Patton is also a Sports Administration adjunct instructor at Belhaven University
In 2009 Patton was awarded the Rookie Pro of the Year Award by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) for the State of Mississippi and also received the Southern Rookie Pro of the Year Award later in 2009. Patton is also a Junior Southern Cup for Team Mississippi (Formerly Junior Davis Cup).
Since Patton’s arrival at Belhaven, the tennis program has seen substantial growth, development and vision. It is currently the largest tennis program in the schools history. Coach Patton is also looking for a top 25 year end ranking in 2011 and a top 10 ranking in 2012. Through a joint effort with Coach Patton and Athletic Director Scott Little the entire tennis facility has been completely renovated. This includes a new playing surface, new wind screens, nets, score keepers, benches, trash cans, painting of light fixtures and retaining walls and concrete stairs. Banners have been added to honor those who were on the National Championship team and those who were on the many Conference Championship teams. Banners honoring those who became All-Americans were also added. This again is the largest facility overhaul since the tennis facilty was created.
“Belhaven had such a strong impact on my life,” Patton said. “Belhaven prepared me in so many different ways, being academically, mentally, spiritually and athletically. I look forward to the program become known again as a national powerhouse in tennis and pushing students towards maturing and becoming ready to go out and be successful in the marketplace.”