Stockton, Calif. - Thirty years ago, Eve Zimmerman threw herself on newly resurfaced tennis courts at University of the Pacific -- and kissed them. Today that passion brought her back to her alma mater to help celebrate the groundbreaking for what is planned as one of the finest tennis facilities on the West Coast, the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center.
Made possible by a $1.5 million gift from Zimmerman, the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center will include 12 courts, a 5,500-square-foot clubhouse, covered player benches, and a new electronic scoreboard. It will occupy a portion of the footprint of the former Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium.
"This facility will enable Pacific tennis players to shine as Tigers should," said Zimmerman, who played for Pacific from 1980 to 1984 and went on to become a world-ranked professional player. Returning to Pacific for Homecoming, she will be making her first visit to the campus since she graduated.
The $3 million tennis complex is expected to be completed by the winter of 2015.
A portion of Zimmerman's naming gift also funded a matching campaign aimed at inspiring additional donors to support the project.
Now retired from competitive tennis and living in England with her husband and young son, Zimmerman said she hopes her gift will help Pacific's tennis teams compete at the highest levels, and also support junior and adult players in the San Joaquin County tennis community.
Zimmerman has always appreciated quality facilities, recalls former Pacific coach Gordon Graham.
"I remember Eve throwing herself on the newly resurfaced courts and kissing them, she was so excited that they had been transformed," said Graham, now head women's tennis coach at the University of Albany.
Ted Leland, Vice President for External Relations and Athletics, said the new facility will be a fitting legacy for a great student-athlete.
"The Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center will give Pacific Tennis a critical recruiting edge with our peer NCAA and West Coast Conference institutions," Leland said. "It will enable the Tigers to take their game to a whole new level."
After graduating from Pacific, Zimmerman trained in California and played on the Satellite Tour before joining the main tour, where she competed until 1989. Highlights of her career included playing in the qualification rounds of the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. She also played for a professional German team and had a world ranking of about 200.