AUSTIN, Texas—Former University of Texas at Austin men’s tennis player Graham Whaling has contributed $2 million to UT Athletics to be applied toward the construction of a proposed indoor tennis facility.
"We thank Graham Whaling for stepping up and providing this major gift for what should be a very popular sports facility in Austin," said UT Men’s Director of Athletics DeLoss Dodds. "The proposed tennis center is still in the planning and fundraising stage. Once the necessary funds are secured, the project will be presented to UT President Bill Powers and the Board of Regents for their approvals."
Whaling’s relationship with the university dates back to 1972 when as a freshman he played for former coach Dave Snyder in his first season as the Longhorns’ coach.
Whaling, who heads an investment banking advising firm in Houston, played at Texas from 1972-76 and compiled a 44-25 singles record. He served as the team captain during his senior season.
"I developed a close relationship with Coach Snyder," Whaling said. "I continue to feel an allegiance to the program and an appreciation for what Coach Snyder did for the program and what Coach (Michael) Center continues to do for the program today."
Although Austin’s typically pleasant weather provides ample outdoor practice opportunities throughout the fall and spring tennis seasons, those opportunities are occasionally halted due to inclement weather. Mindful of the need for an indoor tennis facility, Center joined in to help existing fundraising efforts upon his arrival at Texas in 2000.
"I was approached by other former players and Coach Center regarding the need for an indoor tennis facility," Whaling said. "A portion of the required funds had been raised, but UT needed additional funding. I began speaking with Coach Center regarding this facility about a year ago. I’m happy to be able to make a contribution."
It is a contribution that ultimately will benefit the Central Texas tennis community in addition to the Texas men’s and women’s tennis programs.
"Graham Whaling has made a contribution that will impact Texas tennis and the entire Austin tennis community for years to come," Center said. "I can’t say how appreciative we are to have someone like Graham to be involved in this project. I am very thankful to Graham and happy that he found our indoor tennis project something that he was so passionate about to offer his support.
"Our tennis programs are greatly indebted to Graham Whaling," added UT head women’s tennis coach Patty Fendick-McCain. "An indoor tennis facility would help our programs immensely, and Mr. Whaling’s contribution goes a long way toward making this a reality."