About the Net Nuts
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Davis Cup team, Former Illini Head Coach Craig Tiley experienced an electric atmosphere surrounding tennis matches that was unseen at professional or collegiate matches. His vision was to bring this circus-like atmosphere to the tennis program he brought from the bottom of the Big Ten to a national contender.
To accomplish this, Tiley developed the idea of organizing a cheering section composed solely of University of Illinois students. Its purpose was to create a buzz surrounding the program and Illinois Tennis matches. Fighting Illini team member, Mike Kosta, and friend of the tennis program, Alex Voss, were selected by Tiley to spearhead the project. Other members of the team and friends of the program added to the development of the group as well. Former player, Graydon Oliver developed the organization’s name while Amer Delic, also a former player, designed the Net Nuts logo.
Originally, the blueprint for the organization included 15 to 20 members who would lead the cheers at matches. However, at the first Net Nuts kickoff party before the 2001 season, it was apparent that interest in the program was at an all-time high. Over 100 students attended the first Net Nuts function and learned that college tennis matches were not about wearing white and being polite but more about winning and making noise. This was the first step in creating college tennis’ only student cheering section.
As the Illini men’s tennis team achieved greater success, the number of Net Nuts in the stands grew. Each season the Illini Net Nuts has grown in size, helping match totals at the Atkins Tennis Center top 800 spectators. This total is virtually unheard of at any college tennis matches around the country. After winning the 2003 NCAA team, singles, and doubles championships, the Net Nuts reached an all-time high for membership eclipsing 500 members. The 2013-2014 Net Nuts look to build on this strong legacy and hope to continue to make the Atkins Tennis Center the toughest venue to play at in the country.