We are the most successful college placement program in the nation

One of our main goals at the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy is to continue the success of our college placement program. We aim to find a college that is the best personal fit for each individual student, athletically and academically. Our track record speaks for itself as our students have attended the very best universities across the country and have earned over $50 million in college scholarships. Our staff has been instrumental in helping our students attend colleges in all levels of collegiate athletics.

Some of the services that we offer are resume building, recruitment videos, and communication between our staff and the collegiate coaches. We also sit down with each of our students to develop a solid plan that lays out schools of interest, contact information, and the necessary steps to obtaining your goals. There is a school out there for everyone – we just help make it happen!

Below are just a few of the colleges our students have committed to in the last 10 years:




Below are a few of our success stories

Senior Spotlight – Aidan Lee

Senior Spotlight – Aidan Lee Name: Aidan Lee Age: 18 Birthday: August 12 Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA and Houston, TX High School: Catholic High School (LA) Woodlands High School (TX) Laurel Springs (SC) College Commitment: Colgate College Mascot: Raiders Collegiate Conference: Patriot League   If there’s ever a prime example of how to make lemonade out of lemons, then look no further than the Smith Stearns journey of Aidan Lee. Little did Aidan Lee know that a Spring break trip … read more

Senior Spotlight – Ella Faessler

Senior Spotlight – Ella Faessler “Ella is a great competitor and full of talent.. she is going to thrive in the college atmosphere and I truly believe she is going to do great in college tennis.” – B.J. Stearns, Academy Director   Name: Ella Faessler Age: 17 Birthday: February 18 Hometown: Hilton Head Island, SC High School: Hilton Head Preparatory School College Commitment: College of Charleston College  Mascot: Cougars Collegiate Conference: Colonial Athletic Association Sprinting from side-to-side on court, she … read more

Senior Spotlight – Savie Seebald

Senior Spotlight – Savie Seebald Name: Savarin Seebald Age: 19 Birthday: July 2, 2002 Hometown: Great Falls, Virginia/ Hilton Head Island, South Carolina High School: Hilton Head Preparatory College Commitment: Villanova University College Mascot: Wildcat Collegiate Conference: Big East   If you were to look around the Academy, you’d see many, many different students – male and female, big and small, outgoing and laid back. In fact, Smith Stearns Tennis Academy attracts all kinds of student athletes of a variety … read more

2021 Year in Review

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Senior Spotlight – Akari Matsuno

Senior Spotlight – Akari Matsuno Name: Akari Matsuno Age:18 Birthday: December 11, 2003 Hometown: Hoffman Estates High School: William Fremd High School, Hilton Head Preparatory College Commitment: Notre Dame College Mascot: Fighting Irish Collegiate Conference: ACC Focus, drive, and commitment: these three attributes aptly describe one of the most successful women athletes to come through Smith Stearns Tennis Academy. In fact, confident and lovely like Belle, her favorite Disney character, graduating senior Akari Matsuno is a charming force to be … read more

Senior Spotlight – Sanjana Tallamraju

Senior Spotlight – Sanjana Tallamraju Name: Sanjana Tallamraju (Sanj) Age: 17 Birthday: December 10 Hometown: Munster, Indiana High School: Hilton Head Preparatory College Commitment: University of Toledo College Mascot: Rockets Collegiate Conference: MAC Conference Tall, athletic, and statuesque, Sanjana Tallamraju, is a formidable opponent on any tennis court. As the top ranked recruit ever to be named to the University of Toledo women’s tennis squad, Sanjana has much to be proud of from her junior career. Whether playing singles or … read more

Senior Spotlight – Madison Cordisco

Senior Spotlight – Madison Cordisco Student: Madison Cordisco Birthday: December 31 Age: 17 Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA High School: Hilton Head Prep College Commitment: Elon University College Mascot: Phoenix Collegiate Conference: CAA   Senior Madison Cordisco joined Smith Stearns Tennis Academy in 2019.  According to houseparent Eileen Gilchrist, “Madison has blossomed from a shy teenager into a beautiful, outgoing young lady, filled with kindness and love.” Madison enrolled at the Academy hoping it would be one of the best decisions she’d ever … read more

Smith Stearns announces the College Commitments for their Class of 2020

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Smith Stearns Honors 15 Seniors at College Commitment Ceremony

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2017, Wow what a year!

As the ball dropped and 2017 came to a close its worth reminiscing on the 2017 Smith Stearns students produced. The year saw them take home four Gold Balls, eight Silver Balls, and two Bronze Balls at 2017 Super Nationals.

Loeb Reaches #1 Ranking Nationally, Carter Goes for Triple Crown, Lewis and O’Keefe Selected At-Large

Joining other alumni who have qualified for the post-season in college tennis with their respective teams, four  former students of the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina were selected to the Division I singles and doubles championships Wednesday evening. Three of the four participants received seedings in their championship garnering them All-American honors. The NCAA Division I singles and doubles championships will take place May 24-29 at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, … read more

Smith Stearns Students Make 2016 Their Best Year Yet

Students of Smith-Stearns Tennis Academy brought home the title 12 times at USTA National Tournaments, 8 times in ITF tournaments and 77 times at the Sectional level.   2016 proved to be a year where the students and coaches of Smith Stearns Tennis Academy saw their hard work on the court and in the gym come to fruition. Players were able to take home the singles or doubles title in an astounding 97 tournaments–12 at the National level including four … read more

Smith Stearns Honors 11 Seniors at Senior Graduation Ceremony

Smith Stearns would like to announce the college commitments of eleven of our students who were honored at our Senior Graduation Ceremony in May. This is a fantastic senior class comprised of students from diverse backgrounds. They are all unique and have a special story of how they got to achieve their goals of playing college tennis. We are very proud of all of them and wish them nothing but the very best in their future collegiate career!     … read more

Senior Spotlight: Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr Hometown: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina College Commitment: Wofford College   Kyle has been a member of the academy for the past two and half year years. He moved from Myrtle Beach to to be a part of a family environment with high quality coaches and players that was conducive to his development. During his time here, Kyle has become one of the most driven, hardworking, and competitive students we have had. He is always looking for ways to … read more

Senior Spotlight: Mary Hampton McNeal

Mary Hampton McNeal Hometown: Beaufort, South Carolina College Commitment: Washington & Lee University   Mary Hampton began her tennis career with her dad and older sister Morgan on the tennis court in their backyard. What started off as a family pastime quickly became a passion for both girls as they quickly realized they would like to pursue tennis on a competitive level. The girls started at the academy over four years ago when Mary Hampton was in the eighth grade. … read more

Senior Spotlight: Ellie Zimmermann

Ellie Zimmermann Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin College Commitment: Villanova University   Ellie has been a member of the academy for the past two years after moving from Wisconsin to find a place where she could find a great balance between her tennis, academics, and social life. Over the years Ellie has developed into a great tennis player while showing strong character both on and off the tennis court. Her fun and outgoing personality is what sets her apart and makes … read more

Senior Spotlight: Alexander Jones

Alexander Moyer Jones Hometown: Durham, North Carolina College Commitment: University of North Carolina at Charlotte   Alexander or “AJ” as we call him at the academy, started playing tennis when he was 8 years old. It quickly became his passion and he started training and traveling to tournaments in the Raleigh area. Living so close to Duke University inspired him to play at a high level and gave him the goal to hopefully one day play collegiate tennis. At the … read more

Senior Spotlight: Audrey Bennett

Audrey Bennett Hometown: Carmel, Indiana College Commitment: Millsaps College   Originally from Carmel, Indiana, Audrey started at the academy four years ago when she realized she wanted to pursue tennis on a competitive level. Having taken up the game at a later age than most, Audrey’s hard work and determination have given her the opportunity to achieve success very quickly.   Audrey recognizes that all of the coaches have been instrumental in her success, especially Billy who has really helped … read more

Senior Spotlight: Ariel Shulman

Ariel Shulman Hometown: Parkersburg, West Virginia College Commitment: Marist College   Ariel started off her tennis career in her hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia at twelve years old. After realizing she was passionate about the game she started to look for an academy where she could further pursue her goals. After a meeting with BJ a few summers ago, Ariel felt that Smith Stearns would be a great fit for her. She fell in love with the Island, the family … read more

Senior Spotlight: Justin Stubblefield

Justin Stubblefield Hometown: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina College Commitment: Millsaps College   Justin started at the academy two years ago so he could better prepare himself for college by playing with other strong players and great coaches. He has spent many hours training hard and developing his game and he credits Paul for being instrumental in his success. Justin’s wit and sense of humor set him apart and always put a smile on your face. He is an extremely … read more

Senior Spotlight: Sydnee Wheeler

Sydnee Wheeler Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania College Commitment: Niagara University   Originally from Pittsburgh, Sydnee and her family moved to the Hilton Head area when she was around 10 years old. She started in some clinics with Jolene that motivated her to take up tennis. In the 8th grade, Sydnee started at the academy on a full-time basis and has since developed into one of the top players in South Carolina. It has been amazing to watch Sydnee grow into a … read more

College Alumni Roundup

        Last year was a historic year for five former Smith Stearns students who competed in the National Championship Match in Athens, Georgia. Kaitlin Ray and Catherine Harrison were on the UCLA Bruins Championship team that defeated Hayley Carter, Caroline Price, and Whitney Kay of the UNC Tar Heel’s in a hard fought 4-3 win to earn the NCAA title.                   It was a special moment for Smith Stearns … read more

Senior Spotlight: Mariana Gould

Mariana Gould Hometown: Boise, Idaho College Commitment: University of Georgia   A top national player for most of her junior career, Mariana knew she had to make a decision and leave Boise in order to further pursue her game at a high level. She visited the academy and immediately loved the coaches and the people and knew it would be a great spot for her to call her second home. Mariana and her family made the trip across the country … read more

Senior Spotlight: Katelyn Jackson

Katelyn Jackson Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas College Commitment: Texas Tech University   Following in the footsteps of another Little Rock native, Katelyn Jackson came to the academy three years ago at the advice of former student Kaitlin Ray, to attend one the summer camps. It was love at first site as she instantly new it was the right fit for her to pursue her tennis, and decided to become a full-time student and make Smith Stearns her “second home”. Since … read more

Senior Spotlight: Kelly Mengel

Kelly Mengel Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania College Commitment: Penn State University   Kelly Mengel knows very well what the word perseverance means. Formerly a five star player on Tennis Recruiting, Kelly has battled through injuries over the years, and when many may have stopped, Kelly continued to keep trying, showing her true dedication and love for the game. After her setbacks, she got even more serious, deciding that she would move to the academy to improve her tennis game in a … read more

Senior Spotlight: Harrison O'Keefe

Harrison O’Keefe Hometown: Salem, Virginia College Commitment: University of South Carolina   Visiting the academy on breaks throughout his junior career, Harrison decided to make Smith Stearns his training base when he moved down on a full-time basis over two years ago. Since then his tennis has excelled and he has become one of the top players in the nation. His dedication and hardwork has helped him succeed, as well as getting to play against other top players at the … read more

Senior Spotlight: Jack O'Koniewski

Jack O’Koniewski Hometown: Needham, Massachusetts College Commitment: Denison University   Originally from the Boston area, Jack and his family moved the academy over seven years ago so that he and his sister could get a high level of tennis training in a family style environment. A place that they would feel comfortable calling their new home. Over the years, everyone at the academy has watched Jack transform into the amazing young man he has become, someone so genuine and sincere. … read more

Senior Spotlight: Samantha Russell

Samantha Russell Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia College Commitment: Wofford College   Samantha has been attending Smith Stearns on and off in the summers since she was ten years old. In sixth grade, her family decided to come for a year and that is when everyone really got to know what a wonderful kid she really was. Samantha took lessons with Billy and they both really enjoyed them. After moving back to Atlanta, Samantha trained at the academy in the summer before … read more

Senior Spotlight: Jiri Honajzer

Jiri Honajzer Hometown: Zlin, Czech Republic College Commitment: New York University (NYU)   After a getting a recommendation to attend the academy from a former student, Jiri moved to Smith Stearns two years ago from the Czech Republic to better improve his tennis game and set himself up for an opportunity to attend a great U.S. college. During his time at the academy, Jiri has shown a great desire to succeed in both his tennis and academics. He is an … read more

Senior Spotlight: Carsten Fisher

  Carsten Fisher Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa College Commitment: University of Dayton   An academy member for the past 3 years, Carsten chose to come to Smith Stearns to be in a competitive training environment that would help him improve his game. He has since developed into a great tennis player while showing a lot of character both on and off the court. His engaging and upbeat personality is what sets him apart and makes him enjoyable for the … read more

Senior Spotlight: Hampton Drake

Hampton Drake Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina College Commitment: Clemson University   Hampton has been a member of the academy for the past three years. He moved from Columbia to be in an environment with high level players and top coaches which would be more conducive to helping him become a better player. These factors combined with the hard work that Hampton has put in, proved to be a catalyst for him becoming one of the top players in the nation … read more

Honajzer Commits to NYU

Jiri Honajzer has committed to play tennis for New York University (NYU) starting in the fall of 2014. Jiri moved to the academy two years ago from the Czech Republic and has shown a great desire to succeed in both his tennis and academics. He is an extremely hard worker and a very respectful and coachable student who is eager to learn. An aggressive all court player with a strong forehand, Jiri is sure to help NYU have success throughout … read more

Eight Standout Seniors Make Early College Commitments

Smith Stearns would like to announce the early college commitments for eight students from our senior class. They are a fantastic group of kids who have worked so hard to achieve their goals of playing collegiate tennis and we are very proud of all of them. They come from diverse backgrounds and all have a special story of how they got to where they are today. Congratulations to all!       Hampton Drake  – Clemson University Hampton has committed … read more

Senior Spotlight: Perry Williams

Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia College Commitment: Otterbein University   Perry’s background in tennis is a lot different than most players going to compete at the college level. He started playing competitively at age 17 and knew that time was of the essence if he wanted to raise his level high enough to play college tennis. For most people, this would not have been possible, but Perry found a winning combination. He met Billy Stearns on a trip to Hilton Head … read more

Senior Spotlight: Margaret Anne Smith

Hometown: Singapore College Commitment: Carnegie Mellon University   After spending a few weeks the past several summers at the academy, Margaret Anne decided to come full-time her senior year to help improve her game and prepare herself for college tennis. Coming all the way from Singapore was a big transition but the welcoming nature of the coaches and players made Margaret Anne feel at home right away. She credits the coaches with their knowledge and insightful instruction in helping her … read more

Senior Spotlight: Juan Sheppard

Hometown: Greenwich, Connecticut College Commitment: Furman University   Juan came to the academy to visit during his freshman year of high school and immediately knew that this was a place he could call home. He loved the location being on a great island, and immediately connected with the coaches and the players. Juan’s outgoing personality helped him quickly transition into living in a new environment. He became a fast favorite among coaches and developed strong connections with many players as … read more

Senior Spotlight: Andrew Schafer

Hometown: Frederick, Maryland College Commitment: University of South Carolina   Andrew moved to the academy three years ago from Maryland to obtain a high level of tennis and coaching. For the past 3 years he has been an important part of the academy, always setting great examples to the other students through his tenacious work ethic, dedication, and sportsmanship both on and off the court. He is looked up by many for his success and continues to be an excellent … read more

Senior Spotlight: Barbara Rodriguez

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela College Commitment: Boston University     Almost three years ago, a big decision was made in Barbara’s life. She moved all the way to Hilton Head from Caracas, Venezuela with her mother and sister so she could pursue her tennis and her sister, Clementina, could pursue her golf. The decision to come to Smith Stearns was made easier because everyone made Barbara feel at home right away. It also gave her the opportunity to live in a … read more

Senior Spotlight: Jimmy Lange

Hometown: Peachtree City, Georgia College Commitment: George Mason University   During the summer before his sophomore year of high school, Jimmy set out looking for a full time tennis academy that would be a good fit for him and the goals he had set forth for himself. He immediately fell in love with Smith Stearns and knew that he could find a new home here. He moved into academy housing a month after his initial visit and starting off on … read more

Senior Spotlight: Christian Harris

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee College Commitment: Clemson University     After spending weeks at a time training at Smith Stearns as a guest and getting to know the coaches, Christian knew that the academy felt like home. He moved with his family three years ago to further pursue his tennis goals. From day one, Christian demonstrated many great qualities needed to succeed in this tough sport and the coaches knew his future would be a bright one. Every day he comes … read more

Senior Spotlight: Charlie Drake

Hometown: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina College Commitment: Stevens Institute of Technology   Charlie came to the academy two years ago looking for great coaching, good players to play against, and the opportunity to be in a positive situation that would be conducive to his development as a player. He got what he was looking for, however, the changing moment in Charlie’s tennis career came when BJ showed belief in him and what he could achieve, before he even believed … read more

Senior Spotlight: Kelly Dodd

Hometown: Greenwich, Connecticut College Commitment: Villanova University   Kelly came to the academy and moved into housing four years ago to pursue her tennis in a much warmer environment than what she was used to. Coming from Greenwich it was nice for her to see the sunshine and play outside in the winter months. From day one, Kelly’s personality matched that of the weather as she was always so warm and outgoing to everyone. She was our ray of sunshine … read more

Senior Spotlight: Hayley Carter

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina College Commitment: University of North Carolina   Hayley came to Smith Stearns as a talented ten year old player looking to see what the tennis world had in store for her.  After visiting for a month in the summer at a recommendation from one of her closest friends, she fell in love with the academy and her family decided to make Hilton Head their new home. After seven years, Hayley will be leaving us but will … read more

Senior Spotlight: Colby Burke

Hometown: Winchester, Massachusetts College Commitment: Bucknell University   The first time Colby played tennis at Smith Stearns was during the summer when he was just 8 years old. We have been fortunate to watch Colby grow up over the years into a fine young man that is sure to succeed in all areas to his life. Colby credits the coaches for pushing him to work hard every day, as that is a quality he will take with him for the … read more

Former Students Shine at ITA National Team Indoors

The final of the 2013 ITA National Indoor Championships held in Charlottesville, Virginia on February 11th was surely one to remember. The University of North Carolina and UCLA fought it out until the end, with the championship ultimately decided by just two points in the third set tiebreaker of a match between UNC’s Whitney Kay and UCLA’s Pamela Montez.   UNC’s Kay, a freshman and a former student at Smith Stearns clinched the victory with a forehand winner to take … read more

Fall 2012 College Signing Day

We are proud to announce the college commitments of eight of our seniors who participated in the early signing period.   Andrew Schafer – University of South Carolina Juan Sheppard – Furman University Jimmy Lange – George Mason University Kelly Dodd – Villanova University Hayley Carter – University of North Carolina Christian Harris – Clemson University Barbara Rodriguez – Boston University Matthew Bishop – Xavier University   We know that all of their hard work over the years has paid off … read more

Austin Powell

Austin Powell, Class of 2011 Scholarship to NC State November 19, 2010 — Austin has been a member of the academy for the last three years. He moved from Muscle Shoals, Alabama to be a part of a family environment with high quality coaches and players that was conducive to his development. Austin found a second family for himself and the coaches at the academy found the same in Austin. He has experienced great success on the tennis court, but … read more

Molly O’Koniewski

Molly O’Koniewski, Class of 2011 Full Scholarship to UVA November 14, 2010 — One of the longest attending students at the academy, Molly relocated from the Boston area to attend Smith Stearns almost four years ago. Molly and her family chose to come to the academy because they immediately felt at home and were impressed with how all the coaches got to know her and her game so quickly. Molly feels very fortunate to be able to train with such … read more

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