By: Mike DeVader, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 24-team field for the 64th Annual NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship. The event will be held at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala., from May 12-16, for the 12th-consecutive year. The official national championship seeds and bracket will be announced Tuesday, May 5, by 5 p.m. CDT.
The field consists of 14 automatic berths, 9 at-large selections and one host berth. Automatic qualification is given to conference and unaffiliated grouping tournament champions. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released earlier today. Mobile (Ala.) received the host berth.
Defending national champion and No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett headlines the field after claiming the unaffiliated grouping (AII/AMC/Cascade/Frontier/GCAC) automatic bid. The Grizzlies are making their second-straight and second overall appearance in the national championship as they look to win another title in just their second year eligible for NAIA postseason competition.
The Eagles of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) – 2014 national runners-up – are making their NAIA-best 16th national championship appearance, having appeared in every national championship since the current team format was adopted in 2000. The Eagles enter the competition after claiming The Sun Conference tournament championship over Northwood (Fla.), 5-0, on April 18.
Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and Vanguard (Calif.) are second in appearances at the national championship with 15 apiece. Auburn Montgomery will be searching for its 10th all-time national title and its first since 2010. The Warhawks won their 11th-straight Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Tournament championship on April 19 over William Carey (Miss.), 5-0. They hold a 42-8 national championship record.
Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Tournament champion Vanguard and Mid-South Conference Tournament champion Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) are two championship mainstays looking for another run in this year’s national championship. The teams have combined for 28 national championship appearances and 29 national championship wins. Neither team has yet to claim a banner.
The SSAC leads all conferences with five teams in the national championship field. The GSAC is second with four schools. No other conference had more than two teams qualify for the national championship.
Six of the 24 qualifiers have made at least 10 appearances at the national championship, led by aforementioned Embry-Riddle (16). Auburn Montgomery (14), Vanguard (15), Graceland (Iowa) (14), Lindsey Wilson (13), and Bethany (Kan.) (12) have all made 10-or-more appearances as well. Auburn Montgomery (1987, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010), Embry-Riddle (2013), Mobile (1993, 1997) and Georgia Gwinnett (2014) are the only qualifiers with at least one national title.
Five teams will be competing in their first-ever national championship—Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), Dalton State (Ga.), McPherson (Kan.), Reinhardt (Ga.) and San Diego Christian (Calif.).
Fifteen teams return from the 2014 field.
For more information on the 2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship, click here.
2015 Men's Tennis Qualifiers
|Team||Qualification||Record||Appearance||Last Time||Champs Record ^||Titles|
|Asbury (Ky.)||Unaffiliated Grouping: KIAC/AII Tournament Champion||15-2||3rd||2013||0-2||N/A|
|Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||19-4||15th||2014||42-8||9|
|Bethany (Kan.)||At-Large No. 8||11-1||12th||2014||3-11||N/A|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Chicagoland Tournament Champion||20-7||1st||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Coastal Georgia||At-Large No. 5||11-7||2nd||2014||1-1||N/A|
|Concordia (Calif.)||At-Large No. 4||12-9||8th||2014||7-7||N/A|
|Dalton State (Ga.)||At-Large No. 9||11-7||1st||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Embry-Riddle (Fla.)||The Sun Conference Tournament Champion||18-3||16th||2014||30-14||1|
|Georgia Gwinnett||Unaffiliated Grouping: AII/Frontier/GCAC Automatic Berth||12-2||2nd||2014||4-0||1|
|Graceland (Iowa)||Unaffiliated Grouping: AMC/HAAC/MCC Tournament Champion||12-3||14th||2014||10-13||N/A|
|Hastings (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||18-10||5th||2014||0-4||N/A|
|Indiana Wesleyan||Crossroads League Tournament Champion||18-7||5th||2010||1-4||N/A|
|Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion||19-1||13th||2014||10-12||N/A|
|McPherson (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||16-5||1st||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mobile (Ala.)||Host Berth||9-9||8th||2014||0-7||2|
|Northwestern Ohio||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||18-5||3rd||2014||2-2||N/A|
|Northwood (Fla.)||At-Large No. 6||10-2||9th||2013||4-8||N/A|
|Oklahoma Baptist||Unaffiliated Grouping: RRAC/SAC/MCAC Tournament Champion||10-7||3rd||2013||0-2||N/A|
|Reinhardt (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Tournament Champion||11-3||1st||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|San Diego Christian (Calif.)||At-Large No. 2||14-7||1st||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Vanguard (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||25-1||15th||2014||19-14||N/A|
|Westmont (Calif.)||At-Large No. 7||10-14||7th||2014||7-6||N/A|
|William Carey (Miss.)||At-Large No. 3||13-6||5th||2014||3-4||N/A|
|Xavier (La.)||At-Large No. 1||12-7||7th||2014||6-6||N/A|