Southland Conference adds UIC as Men’s Tennis Affiliate Member

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FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference has added the University of Illinois Chicago as an affiliate member for the 2022-23 men’s tennis season, the league announced Thursday.

“The Southland has actively navigated the constant shifting of the collegiate athletics landscape and is excited to partner with the progressive leadership at UIC,” Southland Senior Associate Commissioner Thomas Samuel said. Under the charge of athletic director Michael Lipitz, a former tennis student-athlete himself, the Flames value the total student-athlete experience, including NCAA Championships access and the ability to provide that outside the typical regional constraints.”

The Flames, under new head coach Jovan Parlic, come to the Southland following a 28-year stint in the Horizon League (formerly the Midwestern Collegiate Conference). UIC advanced to eight conference tournament championship matches under longtime head coach Hans Neufeld, who retired in May after his 21st year at the helm. The Flames have produced 20 first-team all-league selections and 12 academic all-conference honorees in just five years since the league began announcing an all-academic team.

“Our affiliation with the Southland Conference ensures that our men’s tennis student-athletes continue to have the opportunity to compete for automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament,” said UIC Director of Athletics Michael Lipitz. “We thank Commissioner Grant and the league members for their partnership and look forward to the 2022-23 men’s tennis season under the leadership of Coach Parlic.”
“The Southland Conference is the next step for UIC Tennis, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Parlic said. “The conference is made up of extremely competitive tennis programs that will elevate our game and provide us the opportunity to compete in the NCAA as our goal. I’m looking forward to the challenge and ready to begin the new chapter for Flames Tennis.”

The 2022-23 Southland Conference men’s tennis lineup will include Bryant, UIC, UIW, Lamar, New Orleans, Nicholls, NJIT and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The 2023 Southland Tennis Tournament will be held April 21-23 at Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the winner will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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