History 1976 ~ 2012"tHE wIMBLEDON OF COLLEGE TENNIS"


The Nation's top collegiate tennis teams have been testing each other's prowess in winter competition since 1976, when the National Collegiate Tennis Classic was launched in the Southern California desert at Palm Springs.  The N.C.T.C. showcases "The Best Of The N.C.A.A." in the annual event.

Rex Darling was the founder of the first National Collegiate Tennis Classic, which was sponsored by the Palm Springs Junior Chamber of Commerce and was played at Cathedral Canyon Country Club.  The second year it was co-sponsored by the Desert Sun newspaper and was played at Mission Hills.  In 1979 and 1980, the tournament was co-sponsored by the Desert Sun and the Marriott Corporation.  Marriott was the Classic's sole sponsor from 1981 through 1985.  The event was held at the Desert Princess in 1987.  Shadow Mountain Resort and Racquet Club was the host of the tournament from 1988 through 1991 and the Palm Springs Riviera Resort and Bono Racquet Club was the host facility in 1992 & 1993.  The Westin Mission Hills Resort was the site of the Tournament in 1994 & 1995 and Bluewater Bay Resort the host of the 1996 and 1997 events.  Sherwood Country Club was the host of the 1998 - 2000 tournaments, and the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, was the host of the 2001 – 2003 events.  Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home of the Pacific Life Open, was the host facility for 2004 – 2008 events.  This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the three-day event, and the initiation of play at La Quinta Resort and Club, voted one of the top ten tennis resorts in the country by Tennis Magazine.  La Quinta’s tennis program is headed up by former player and Davis Cup Captain, Tom Gorman and his USPTA certified staff. The club features 23 courts of two playing surfaces including 10 lighted for night play, making it the perfect venue for the N.C.T.C. in 2012.

Prior to 1981, various charities throughout the Palm Springs area received funds generated by NCTC ticket sales.  The Palm Springs Youth Center,  United Way,  The Foundation For The Retarded Of The Desert,  The Starlight Foundation,  The Terry Mayo Sullivan ALS Foundation, the National Foundation Of Wheelchair Tennis and D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) , Variety, the children's charity and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have been the beneficiary of National Collegiate Tennis Classic tournaments held during the past 20 years.

The 1980 Classic brought a new dimension to the invitational tournament, when women were invited to compete.  Another significant development occurred during the period 1983 through 1985, when the NCTC adopted a flight format, pitting top-seeded players against equally-ranked players from opposing teams.  The 1987 tournament returned to the 32 draw format for singles, and the 16 draw format for doubles, which continues this year.  The N.C.T.C. was played on a clay court surface in 1996 & 1997, and this year’s event will continue to be played on a “hard” court surface.

The annual tournament has grown in national stature over the years and has been called "The Wimbledon of College Tennis" by the press.  It is now one of the major collegiate tennis events and one of the few to feature both men's and women's competitions.