The Degheri Tennis Center is the home of both the men's and women's programs. The facility is one of finest tennis venues of its size on the West Coast and boasts a distinct Bronco home court advantage.
In 1998, Santa Clara took the tennis courts that served the university since the 1950s and replaced them with the Pat Malley Recreation & Fitness Center. The coaching staff and athletic department administration used the opportunity to create a first-class tennis facility to serve as a launching pad to greater success for the SCU tennis programs and increase recreational opportunities for the campus community.
Opened in January 1999, the $2.5 million facility includes nine championship lighted courts with seating for 750 spectators. The west side of the Center is lined with bleachers while the east side is highlighted by the Player's Circle, a landscaped knoll that provides hillside seating for matches, as well as space for team meetings and hospitality receptions. The main building, yet to be constructed, will house coaching offices, team locker rooms, restrooms and storage. In all, the Degheri Tennis Center reflects the energy and intimacy of a collegiate environment.
"The courts are set up in a unique way that allows everyone to get involved in a match," men's head coach George Husack said. "Whether you're in the bleachers, on the grassy knoll or courtside, the facility provides a fan-friendly environment for all ages. We pride ourselves on being a vocal group and thrive upon the energy of our teammates and fans. This is a great place to call home."
The past six seasons at the Degheri Tennis Center have proven to be fruitful for both Bronco tennis programs, as they have enjoyed very successful home campaigns. They have also provided opportunities for fan involvement. Last season, the grassy knoll became home to the "Hecklers on the Hill," a student booster group whose members receive a club t-shirt and barbecue while cheering on the Broncos.
"The Degheri Tennis Center is an all-around great facility," first-year women's head coach Damon Coupe said. "I've been to a lot of campuses and our home is top of the line, in terms of exposure on the campus and the home-court advantage provided by the atmosphere our fans and the community create. I know many teams are unwilling to play here because of that Bronco advantage; our fans just really get involved and become a part of the match."
The facility has been used for a variety of marquee collegiate tennis events. The men's program hosted the prestigious OMNI Hotels ITA Fall Regional in 2001, as well as the West Coast Conference Championships during the spring of 2000 and 2004. The women have served as host to the league's annual event in 2002 and will do the same in 2006.
The Degheri Tennis Center is also home to annual Bronco summer camps for children and adults, a calendar year-round academy for developing young junior players, the official training grounds for South Bay Smash wheelchair tennis, and clinics and community-action programs coordinated through partnerships with organizations such as the Northern California Tennis Association and Youth Tennis Advantage.
The Tennis Center was renamed in February 2004 after Bert Degheri, who attended SCU in 1958-59 and was a member of the men's squad. Degheri transferred to the University of San Diego, where he graduated in 1961. In addition to his gift to Santa Clara, Degheri has donated funds to build USD's newly-opened alumni center, and St. Francis High School in La Canada, Calif., for a performing arts center.
In all, the Degheri Tennis Center is a facility that is functional and inspirational, as Santa Clara has been able to greatly expand its student and community participation in the sport of tennis, and at the same time, showcase a competitive stage that reflects the high quality, spirit and dedication of its student-athletes and coaches.