Ugur Atalay is the recipient of the 2011-12 Atlantic 10 Sportsmanship Award, chosen by the senior women administrators of each league institution, for his actions during competition in the men’s tennis A-10 title game.
In a move that caused the Xavier head coach to praise a “classy” GW squad, Atalay reduced the intensity of his play in the final and deciding match of the championship, allowing opponent Mesa Mei, who was suffering from severe cramps, greater ease in competition. Atalay lobbed serves and returns slowly to give Mei a chance to compete, and when the GW senior was victorious, he refrained from celebration, instead shaking Mei’s hand and exchanging a hug.
“Ugur has always been a team player who likes to keep a low profile,” men’s tennis head coach Greg Munoz said in a release. “He leads with his actions, as opposed to his voice, and lets his racquet do the talking for him.”
Ataly is the second GW player to earn the sportsmanship award, following Raman Luthra, a member of the men’s golf team, who took home the prize following the 2006-07 season.
Atalay was a four-year All-Conference selection and helped bring the men’s tennis team to back-t0-back A-10 championships at the No.1 and 2 singles slots.