Koby Murata ʻ23 Wins ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award
Koby Murata ʻ23 was in exclusive company at the 2023 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Leadership Awards Weekend.
The recent Pacific University graduate received the 2023 ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award in September during the U.S. Open in New York City. The honor goes to one women's and men's collegiate tennis player in the country from each NCAA division (I, II, III) the NAIA and junior college levels.
"Being mentioned in the same sentence as Arthur Ashe is absolutely crazy," said Murata, who received the Division III men's award. "Arthur Ashe is a huge name in the tennis community. Meeting all of the other award winners, I definitely felt underqualified because they were all so amazing in their own way."
The prestigious annual award dates back to 1982 and is presented to student-athletes who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements in ways that embody the legacy of tennis icon and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. A groundbreaking tennis player, Ashe was the first Black man to win singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. He passed away in 1993.
At Pacific, Murata finished with a 34-26 career singles record and 59-33 doubles record. He was a team captain over the past two seasons and was named Second Team All-Northwest Conference in 2023.
In the classroom, Murata had a 3.86 GPA, graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He was named the College of Business Outstanding Student in Finance Award winner, the College of Business Student of the Month and winner of the College of Business Outstanding Student-Manager of The Boxer Opportunity Fund Award.
Murata received the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award at a ceremony held at the Yale Club on the Saturday before the opening day of the U.S. Open. The award winners then spent Sunday at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis, talking to kids about their own experience playing college tennis, which Murata called a highlight of the trip.
"All of those kids were so talented," he said. "It was just really refreshing to see all of them super motivated and know that they're really passionate about tennis."
Murata then attended the first day of the U.S. Open with his older brother, Rayden Murata ʻ21, the head men's tennis coach at Pacific. "I'm just super thankful," Murata said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was really nice to experience it with my brother as well."
Murata, who is working full-time in the mortgage department at The Standard, isn't done putting his stamp on the Pacific men's tennis program. He will serve as an assistant coach this school year.
"I think we've got a good squad this year," Murata said. "I'm excited."