EUGENE , Ore. - In front of a crowd of over 200 friends, family, teammates and members of the UO community, the Oregon men’s tennis team hosted a court dedication ceremony in honor of, on Saturday at the Student Tennis Center. The program officially named the center court on the north side of the facility Court, a fitting tribute to the remarkable career and life of Rovello, who passed away in a diving accident.
With a tremendous outpouring of support, those in attendance recalled their favorite memories with Rovello and honored the lasting legacy he left behind. The event raised over $1,600 for the UO Men’s Tennis Foundation and the newly formedAward.
In his three years at Oregon, Rovello played all but one of his career indoor matches on the newly namedCourt.
“He was a great tennis player, son, teammate and a remarkable person,” said Mullens. “He left his mark on this university in so many ways and it’s only appropriate that we are on this very court having this ceremony in his honor.”
Head coachspoke about all the moments Rovello made on his court, stating that it’s people like Rovello that make coaching such a rewarding profession.
“There were so many magical moments that were created by Alex right here on this very court,” said Schyllander. “He helped this program make huge strides on this court, and he did it with class and integrity. This court is so special all because an incredible person gave us so many special moments. Those moments will live on forever. He will never be forgotten.”
Rovello was the first recruit that associate head coachsigned at Oregon, as Rovello committed to be a Duck prior to the 2010-11 season after finishing his high school career at nearby Cleveland High School in Portland with a perfect 55-0 singles record. Piibor recalled watching Rovello grow into a remarkable man and noted the lasting impact he created for so many people.
“Geri and Jim (Rovello’s parents), I promised that your son would became a special man here, and he did - Alex grew up to be a truly great man and a great ambassador for this university,” said Piibor. “I’m so lucky to have coached, and he will always, always be the person that brought a smile to my face every day.”
Senior- Rovello’s teammate and one of his closest friends - has been selected by the coaching staff to compete on Court in the upcoming dual season. Cambier spoke about the honor of competing on his court, and shared a laugh with the crowd after stating he needs to be on his best behavior on Rovello’s court to match the positive attitude of his teammate.
“I competed on the other side of Alex and couldn’t see him play, but I could always hear him yell after a point, and would yell ‘Go Alex!’ back at him,” said Cambier. “I need to take it to heart playing on his court, and I absolutely will do that.”
Rovello’s father Jim shared many tales with the audience about Alex’s playing days, and noted a touching story about his final moment with his son. The day after Alex lost a singles match in the final dual of last year’s regular season, Jim was on the I-5 on his way home after attending the match when a disappointed Alex called asking to go to lunch. Jim turned around on the spot, and comforted Alex over a meal. He remembered giving Alex a big hug in the parking lot - the last time he saw him before his passing.
Jim also noted the remarkable experiences Alex had at Oregon, and thanked both Schyllander and Piibor for all that they have done. Jim said that Alex couldn’t have gone to a better school or had better coaches.
Concluding his speech, Jim said there are three things he would tell Alex if he could see him again.
I love you, I’m so proud to be your father, and lastly, they put your name on the court - how about that?