SKILLMAN, N.J. – Adding more accolades to his already lengthy list, FGCU men’s tennis junior Jordi Vives was named as the Southeast’s recipient of the 2014 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship Award winner, announced by Intercollegiate Tennis Association officials on Tuesday afternoon.
Ranked 45th nationally, Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) will receive a nomination for the national award, which will be selected later this month. He is one of 12 regional winners throughout the country, and is only one of four not to hail from a BCS conference.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. In August the national winners are honored during a special ceremony hosted by the USTA atArthur Ashe Kids' Day inside Ashe Stadium. The award dates back to 1982 and goes to NCAA divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men's and women's players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
“This is one of the most prestigious awards given out to a college tennis player,” head coach CJ Weber said. “And there is no more deserving candidate than Jordi. This award speaks volumes about the entire person, much more than sheer athletic ability. It speaks of character, integrity, academic success, community involvement and an overall positive impact the player has on the world around him, all messages that were very dear to the late Arthur Ashe Jr. Jordi will now be nominated for the national award and I cannot wait to see the end result. I couldn’t be more proud of Jordi for his accomplishments and I couldn’t be more honored as a coach to be able to work with a player of such class!”
After an incredible season, Vives became the first from FGCU to earn a spot in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship, a result of his astounding 34-4 overall record, which includes a 20-2 result playing one singles in each of the spring’s dual matches. Ending his fall campaign with nine-straight wins, Vives opened the spring season with victories over then-No. 36 Florida State and then-No. 60 Nebraska, increasing his streak to 11, which at the time was the longest in the nation. After establishing his reign on Jan. 23, the Barcelona native extended his streak to 14, before falling to Auburn’s Daniel Cochrane, then-ranked 112th, on Feb. 7.
Majoring in communications with a minor in marketing, the junior holds a 3.58 Grade Point Average and has been named to the Dean’s List twice.
Vives’ success has also garnered him recognition in the Atlantic Sun Conference as he was named A-Sun Player of the Year, to the All-Conference First Team, to the Academic All-Conference Team and to the All-Tournament Team.
The effort he exerts on the court and in the classroom is also seen in his work to serve to community. As a team, the Eagles volunteer with numerous outside organizations including Justin’s Place, a drug and substance rehabilitation program run through St. Matthew’s House. They can also be seen at local elementary schools doing beautification projects and participating in Read Across America.
The Green and Blue’s leading player will return to the court for the NCAA singles competition, conducted May 21-26 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Fans can follow Vives and his run through the championship on Twitter at @FGCU_MTEN and www.FGCUAthletics.com for up-to-the-minute news and information.
ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award Regional Winners
Atlantic - Carlos Lopez Villa, Old Dominion University
Carolina - Raphael Hemmeler, Duke University
Central - Hall Fess, University of Arkansas
Midwest - Greg Andrews, University of Notre Dame
Mountain - Nathan Sereke, Boise State University
Northeast - Yevgeniy Jason Shkodnik, University at Buffalo
Northwest - John Morrissey, Stanford University
Ohio Valley - Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt University
Southeast - Jordi Vives, Florida Gulf Coast University
Southern - Daniil Proskura, University of Alabama
Southwest - Ray Sarmiento, University of Southern California
Texas - Søren Hess-Olesen, University of Texas at Austin