JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2004) - East Tennessee State women's tennis head coach Steve Brooks announced that Tara Byrne, a senior at Science Hill High School, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Bucs for the 2005-06 season. Science Hill held a ceremony at earlier today to mark the event.
The Johnson City, Tenn. native plays in the No. 1 position for Science Hill and has won several district and regional titles earning her a berth in the TSSAA high school tennis tournament for the last three years. She earned the No. 1 ranking in the state of Tennessee. Byrne also achieved a No. 14 ranking by the Southern Tennis Association and has been ranked as high as 140 in the U.S.
"Tara was sought after by numerous top universities, and I feel extremely fortunate and excited that she has decided to play here at ETSU. She is the only player that I felt would add to our program and is the only player that I have recruited for the 2005-06 season," commented Brooks. "Tara will make an immediate impact on the team and will help us move up in the rankings and reach the next level."
Byrne comes from a very athletic family and joins her brother Shane Byrne who will be a junior on the ETSU baseball team this year. Her grandfather, Tommy Byrne, played for the New York Yankees; her father, Charles Byrne, played golf at ETSU and then professionally; and her mother, Betsy Byrne, was inducted into the Cumberland College Hall of Fame following her basketball career.
"Tara is the best female tennis player to come out of East Tennessee since Margie Brown, who is now our assistant coach," stated Brooks. "I can't say enough good things about Tara and what she will bring to the program."
The ETSU women's tennis program has wrapped up fall tournament action and is preparing to start their regular season. The team will enter the 2005 season coming off of a record-breaking year in which the team finished fourth in the Southern Conference with a 6-4 record and a 17-13 overall record. Their wins included a first ever win over SoCon opponent College of Charleston in a close 4-3 match at home, and a thrilling 4-1 victory over No. 65 Virginia Tech on the road.