Santa Barbara City College has announced its support of a local tennis patrons group to assist the college in bringing back a men’s intercollegiate tennis team at SBCC for a three-year period beginning in 2015-16.

The Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons seeks to help with conducting community outreach to area high schools and raising funds for fielding a team. The fundraising benchmark is $30,000 by Feb. 28 in order for the group to qualify for matching funds from the SBCC Foundation during its annual fundraising drive. This would be followed by two more successive annual drives of $30,000 each in order to keep the men’s tennis program viable through the 2017-2018 academic year. All donations are restricted only for men’s tennis.

“The college greatly appreciates the commitment and support of these dedicated tennis patrons,” SBCC Athletic Director Ryan Byrne said. “Many have long-standing relationships in the community with the sport and with SBCC.”

He and SBCC Associate Athletic Director Ellen O’Connor both served on the initial task force that brought together college administrators and community members to discuss the status of the men’s intercollegiate tennis team.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring back the long tradition of SBCC Men’s Tennis,” said John Sanford, vice president of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons and son of longtime SBCC men’s tennis coach  Jack Sanford. “SBCC athletics provides great opportunities for students to further their sport and education which can lead to preferred admission and even scholarships into four-year colleges. Santa Barbara has a strong tennis community that we believe will support a return of intercollegiate men’s tennis.”

The ultimate goals of both SBCC and the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons are to encourage student participation in men’s intercollegiate tennis from local high school students, increased retention of first-year players to second year, and successful graduation and/or transfer to four-year colleges and universities in order for men’s tennis to regain institutionalized funding.

For more information or to make a donation, please go to www.sbtennispatrons.org.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.