After many years of support for Georgia Tech’s tennis program, Kenneth G. Byers Jr., EE 1966, MS EE 1968, and his wife, Tricia F. Byers, have gone a step further and endowed both head coach positions for the men’s and women’s tennis teams. The positions, held by Kenny Thorne and Rodney Harmon, will be titled the Byers Men’s Tennis Head Coach and Byers Women’s Tennis Head Coach, respectively.
In 2010, the couple’s generosity resulted in the Ken Byers Tennis Complex, a facility that includes 16 competition and practice courts, as well as indoor and outdoor grandstands with a seating capacity for more than 750 spectators. “The Byers’ longtime support for Georgia Tech men’s and women’s tennis has been transformative for both programs,” said Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury.
Ken and Trish Byers are members of the Alexander-Tharpe Fund’s Golden Jacket Society, having given in excess of $1 million to support athletics at Tech. Ken Byers, who began playing tennis after graduate school and still plays regularly, said he and his wife are “proud to continue our support of these programs, particularly during this period of uncertainty. We respect and admire the way Georgia Tech’s tennis coaches and players represent the school — both athletically and academically.”
Byers said he was inspired, in part, by Richard L. “Dick” Bergmark, IMGT 1975, who endowed the head coach position for swimming and diving in 2019. “I asked Athletics what else I could for the tennis program, and I was sent a bunch of options,” Byers said. “And I went for the big one.”
An endowed coaching position is similar to an endowed chair for academics. Each year, income from the permanent endowment will be available to the two head tennis coaches for use at their discretion to develop their programs. “This latest commitment will provide additional annual strategic revenue for both programs to recruit and develop student-athletes who will compete for ACC and national championships,” Stansbury said.
After funding players’ scholarships, major facilities, and now endowed coaching positions, the Byers say they “anticipate being called upon in a few years to help build a display structure for all the trophies and awards our teams will win.