May 10, 2005
Senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) copped his third major award in the last two weeks, as he was named the Midwest Region’s recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship by the ITA. After the closing days of April saw D’Amico win a Byron V. Kanaley Award – the most prestigious honor bestowed upon Notre Dame student-athletes – and be named the BIG EAST tournament MVP, he received the award for “exhibiting outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular, and tennis achievements.”
As a regional winner, D’Amico is now a finalist for the national Arthur Ashe Award, which will be presented on May 25 in College Station, Texas. The other finalists (regional winners) are Mario Arce of St. Bonaventure (Northeast Region), Mat Cloer of Florida State (Mideast), Hamid Mirzadeh of Florida (Southeast), Tommy Garrison of Oklahoma (Central), Rice’s Robert Searle (South Central), Beck Roghaar of Boise State (Mountain), and Patrick Briaud of California (West).
Since the award began in 1993, Notre Dame has had four regional winners, but D’Amico was the first in nine years. Previous Irish honorees were Chuck Coleman in 1993 (also the national winner) and Mike Sprouse in both 1995 (national winner) and ’96. Notre Dame has now had at least one winner of an ITA regional award in 16 of the last 17 years.
The last collegiate semester for D’Amico has seen him gain a great deal of recognition for his accomplishments in the athletic, academic, and sportsmanship arena. First, he was selected as Notre Dame’s one male nominee for the BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, assuring him a $2,000 stipend for graduate study. Then D’Amico was one of three recipients (the only male) of the Kanaley Award, which honors senior student-athletes who have been exemplary as both students and leaders. One day later, the second-year Irish captain was tabbed the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Tournament Performer after clinching Notre Dame’s second consecutive conference championship. Also an all-tournament selection in both singles and doubles, D’Amico became the first Notre Dame men’s tennis player ever to conclude a four-year career having never seen his team drop a team match in the BIG EAST tournament. Last week, D’Amico was one of three Notre Dame nominees – out of student-athletes from six Irish teams – for the College Sports Information of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Men’s At-Large program. Members will vote on the Academic All-District teams, which will be announced on May 26, and those winners will move on to the national ballot.
D’Amico has been a four-year starter for the Irish, playing mostly at No. 1 doubles and in the top half of the singles lineup over the last three seasons. He holds a 47-42 career record in singles and a 60-54 mark in doubles, with 30 of those victories coming in dual matches at No. 1. He is just the fifth player in the last 25 years to be a two-year captain for the Irish.
D’Amico has been ranked as high as 44th in the nation in doubles, as well as 99th in singles. The 2002-03 team MVP, he holds the Notre Dame record for career clinching victories in doubles action (21). He owns eight career victories (five singles, three doubles) over nationally-ranked opponents, highlighted by upsets of #50 in singles and #26 in doubles.
A finance major in the Mendoza College of Business, D’Amico boasts a 3.758 grade-point average and has been on the Dean’s List in six of seven collegiate semesters. Also a member of the Academic Honors Program at Notre Dame, he is a two-time recipient of the ITA Scholar-Athlete Award. He has been named the team’s top academic performer in both of the last two years, winning the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award, presented by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. Also a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star, D’Amico has been active in volunteer work, both as an after-school tutor at the Robinson Community Learning Center and at the Logan Center, a residence for people with disabilities.
D’Amico will lead the Irish in the NCAA Championship this weekend, when 32nd-ranked Notre Dame (18-7) takes on #33 Louisville on Saturday at 1 p.m. (CDT) at the University of Illinois’ Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana.