MB’s Cox leads Gamecocks tennis to academic honor

Myrtle Beach High graduate and South Carolina tennis player Chip Cox was one of four Gamecocks to earn academic honors both individually and for the team.

The South Carolina men’s tennis was recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for its work in the classroom during the 2011-12 season. The Gamecocks were one of 78 NCAA Division I programs named an ITA All-Academic Team.

Cox, a rising junior who partnered with Nick Jones to form the No. 29-ranked doubles team in the nation, and South Carolina teammates Andrew Adams, Ben Barnette and Kyle Koch were listed among the 461 Division I ITA Scholar-Athletes who represented 131 different institutions. They earned GPAs of 3.5 or higher and helped the team to a GPA of over 3.2.

“Awards like this are a tribute to how hard our team works in the classroom in addition to what they do on the court,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “I’m proud of the whole group for making the commitment to academics, especially the four earning individual honors. It’s great to see our younger players already embracing the importance of excelling in both areas of being a student-athlete.”

South Carolina was one of just five SEC teams to earn a spot on the All-Academic Team list, joining Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Tennessee. The league boasted 24 ITA Scholar-Athletes representing nine of the league’s 12 schools in the 2011-12 season. The Gamecocks’ four entries tied Mississippi State for second-most in the league, trailing Tennessee’s five selections.

The ITA All-Academic Team is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average (GPA) of 3.20 or above for the current academic year. All student-athletes whose names appear on the eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity match average into the team GPA. To earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status, a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of at least 3.50 for the current academic year and have been enrolled at his present school for at least two semesters.

On the court, the Gamecocks finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 41 in the nation behind a 15-12 overall record. In doubling their win total from last year, South Carolina earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking its first appearance in the event since 2009. The Gamecocks posted seven of their 15 wins against ranked opponents, including five on the road.

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