Nilsson Leaves Mississippi State Men for Pepperdine Women; More on USTA's Lake Nona Site; Townsend Given Wimbledon Wild Card
Per Nilsson, who has been men's head coach at Mississippi State for seven years, has been named women's head coach at Pepperdine. Nilsson, who was the men's assistant at Pepperdine from 2003-2007, will take over from Gualberto Escudero. Escudero led the Waves for 37 years, and he will remain at Pepperdine as associate head coach. Nilsson's departure from Mississippi State is covered in its release, and his arrival in Malibu is covered in the Pepperdine release.
In other college news, Idaho has hired Mariana Cobra as women's head coach. She replaces Myriam Sopel, who left in January for University of Texas-El Paso. Cobra was previously at Northern Iowa. LSU has hired Georgia men's volunteer assistant Tristan Venables as assistant to Julia Sell in the women's program. Steve Smith, a long time private coach in Tampa (and father of Connor Smith) has moved to Raleigh and will be serve as the volunteer assistant for the men's program at North Carolina State.
The USTA Florida publishes a blog called Game Changer and a recent post goes into great detail about the new USTA facility to be built in Lake Nona, outside Orlando. It mentions bidding for the NCAA tournament (which has been already been awarded for Division I through 2018) and a multitude of other items of interest in Player Development. When the announcement was made last month, I didn't understand how the sections were going to benefit from this as far as junior development goes, but here's how it's explained:
The 17 USTA Sections throughout the country will be able to take advantage of the Team USA Area. The eight hard courts and eight clay courts can be used by USTA Section coaches and players to work on their own, or collaboratively with USTA Player Development. In the winter, USTA Section coaches and players in northern climates who would find local indoor court costs prohibitive could fly down to Orlando for a week or two to use the facilities at no cost.
There's much, much more, so if you are interested in the project, you can read the blog post here.
All of the wild cards to Wimbledon have not yet been awarded, (here's the earlier wild card announcement by the club) but word is leaking out today of some others. Taylor Townsend tweeted the following earlier: