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Prince Streamlines Its Infrastructure

Prince Sports has realigned its organization, internal functions and activities to better serve customers, says George Napier, chairman and CEO of Prince Sports Inc. The new structure went into effect in July.

“This realignment is designed to strengthen the company, increase our ability to meet local market needs more effectively, and enable efficient global coordination of our business,” says Napier. “We’re excited about our new structure that is designed to create faster and friendlier execution across all levels and departments.”

The company will be divided into two business units, Prince Sports USA and Prince Sports International. The new Prince Sports USA team is dedicated to accelerating its goal of achieving market leadership and serving customers in the U.S., the company says. Bill Foy will assume the role of president of Prince Sports USA.

Linda Glassel will assume the new position of vice president of sports marketing and communications, adding licensing to her ongoing responsibilities that include advertising, public relations, web and tennis tour management activities. Additionally, Glassel and her team will support both business units with strategic marketing and brand messaging.

The U.S. team will collaborate with other markets around the world on key initiatives. Prince has also created a new function to coordinate and direct U.S. product management activities, which will be overseen by Howard Lay, who will take on the new role of vice president of product management

The new Prince Sports International team will be headquartered in London, with Alistair Thorburn as president. Prince Sports International will provide increased focus and support to the company’s growth plans internationally.

Prince Sports Inc. is based in New Jersey.

Industry Veteran John Embree Creates New Sports Management Company, JEDE

John Embree Former Wilson Vice President/General Manager John R. Embree has created John Embree Diversified Enterprises (JEDE), a sports management company based in the Chicago area. The new company will offer consulting services, management expertise, sales and marketing, sponsorship sales opportunities, and more for the tennis and golf industries.

Two companies are currently under the JEDE umbrella: tennis apparel maker Bälle de Mätch and a new service company, Golf Pro Shop Supply LLC. The 12-year-old Bälle de Mätch recently announced Embree as its new CEO; the golf venture is a start-up designed to help golf pro shop retailers manage their golf apparel inventory.

“After spending the last 20 years in a corporate environment, the opportunity to be more entrepreneurial was very attractive to me,” says Embree. “I’m also excited for the chance to be involved with a variety of different projects, all of which are in industries that I am extremely passionate about.”

In early July, Bälle de Mätch founder and COO Chris Deverian announced Embree’s new role with that Southern California-based company. With the apparel maker, Embree will manage sales and marketing functions, as well as oversee day-to-day operations.

“Bälle de Mätch is a wonderful little company whose product is underdeveloped and underexposed,” says Embree. “With a more intense focus on driving the top-line revenue via increased distribution, and by establishing a corporate financial discipline, I think this brand has great potential to grow, especially at the grassroots.” One of Embree’s first tasks will be to hire strong independent sales reps in areas of the country where Bälle de Mätch needs attention.

“John recognizes that Bälle de Mätch has not reached its full potential, so we are very fortunate to have found him,” says Deverian. “I needed a strategic partner, and now we have a proven tennis leader with a tremendous pedigree who can work with the accounts, and our reps, while we get back to focusing on designing the line.”

Embree has a strong history in the tennis business, going back to the mid-1980s. His grassroots background, along with extensive knowledge of the pro and specialty business and his passion for the sport, are expected to be assets to Bälle de Mätch, the apparel company said in a statement. During Embree’s tenure with Wilson, which ended last fall, the company witnessed record years in sales and gross profits in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

“The beauty of both these companies under JEDE is that they coexist quite nicely,” Embree says. “The industries are compatible, yet not conflicting. Having extensive knowledge about how to get business done at the green-grass level, or pro/specialty marketplace, these two companies hit the center of my sweetspot.”

For more information, contact 847-729-2497.

Tennis Warehouse Named Official Supplier for ITA

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has announced a new partnership with the Tennis Warehouse to become its new official shoe and clothing supplier.

“This is a great fit for both Tennis Warehouse and the ITA,” TW President Don Hightower says. “ITA coaches and players will gain access to our complete selection of apparel and footwear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok and over 20 other brands, at reduced ITA team pricing. Our new team website will also offer coaches a single source for different brands and styles. For Tennis Warehouse, the obvious benefit is to continue growing our team business, while expanding our support of college tennis.”

“We are delighted to enter into this new partnership with Tennis Warehouse,” ITA Executive Director David Benjamin says. “Tennis Warehouse offers outstanding products for our 1,500 member coaches and will provide them with fast, reliable and very knowledgeable service.”

As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA (www.itatennis.com) is based in Skillman, N.J.

The Tennis Warehouse began as the Tennis Shop of San Luis Obispo (Calif.) in 1992 and became the Tennis Warehouse in 1994 when it expanded into the mail-order business. The Tennis Warehouse is the exclusive e-commerce partner for the ATP and WTA and the official site for Nike Tennis. For more information on TW, visit www.tenniswarehouse.com.

PTR Sets Professional Development Weekend

The PTR has scheduled its annual Professional Development Weekend for Sept. 22 to 26 at the PTR Headquarters in Hilton Head, S.C. The weekend is held in conjunction with the ROHO/PTR $15,000 Wheelchair Tennis Championships.

The Professional Development Weekend is open to all tennis teachers, coaches and enthusiasts. Courses include Munchkin Games, conducted by PTR Executive Director Dan Santorum, and Team Coaching, The Basics, with PTR Director of Development Geoff Norton.

Also, PTR International Director Inaki Balzola will present the Play Action Drills workshop, and Mastering the Mental Side will be presented by Dr. Bryce Young and Linda LeClaire. Norton will also conduct Instructing Wheelchair Tennis 102, which is designed for tennis professionals who wish to earn a wheelchair-tennis teaching certificate.

For more information, or to register for any courses or workshops, contact 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244, or e-mail ptr@ptrtennis.org.

Awards to be Presented at TIA EXPO

The Tennis Industry Association has announced the categories for the first TIA TennisEXPO Awards, to be presented in January at the TIA TennisEXPO during the Super Show in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 17 to 19. More than 50 individuals, businesses and organizations will be honored for setting the standards in retailing, merchandising, and growing the game. The categories are:

For the Pro and Specialty Shop categories, 40 shops will be nominated (20 pro shops and 20 specialty shops) in September, with the winners announced at the TIA TennisEXPO in January. In the hard-good and soft-good categories, winners will be manufacturers who also show creative and progressive ways to growing their business. For the 20 Top Tennis Welcome Centers, there will be one winner from each of the 17 USTA sections and three “at large” winners.

Representatives from various manufacturers and associations will choose the nominees and winners, however, the top hard- and soft-goods manufacturer/supplier categories will be selected through an online survey to be held in October. If any retailer would like to be part of this survey, e-mail awards@tennisindustry.org and provide your e-mail address and account information.

All the nominees and winners will receive a travel allowance to attend the TIA EXPO and will be honored at the TIA Forum on Jan. 17.

TIA TennisEXPO 2005 is the start of an annual trade event (not open to the general public) that combines seminars, forums, awards, a buying show, and more.

For more information about the TIA EXPO or the awards criteria, visit TIAEXPO.com.

Honoring ‘20 Years of Service’

Have you been working in the tennis industry for 20 years? Has your company been in business since 1985? The TIA and the Super Show want to thank you for your dedication.

At the TIA TennisEXPO, and in celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the Super Show, the TIA is working with the Super Show to honor and publish a list of any individual or company who was in the tennis business in 1985 and is still contributing. Anyone is eligible: managers, sales reps, custom service reps, teaching pros, club managers, administrative assistants. Also, companies and associations are eligible.

To sign up and qualify, go to TIAEXPO.com and click on “20 Years of Service” to the Tennis Industry Awards. You’ll then get a form to fill in with your name, company’s name in 1985, when you started in the industry, where you are now, type of service you perform, and your present e-mail address and contact information. Make sure all of your friends and eligible contacts sign up, too.

Top Coaches Headline USPTA World Conference

Coaches of some of the world’s top players and a few former world-ranked players will be the featured speakers at the USPTA’s World Conference on Tennis. The conference will be held Sept. 18 to 25 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif.

Rick Macci, Nick Bollettieri, Jose Higueras, David Wheaton, Anne Smith, Jim Loehr, Jack Groppel, Eliot Teltscher and Wayne Bryan are among the featured speakers. Most of them will make their presentations on court during 90-minute or two-hour general sessions.

A refined education schedule includes more extended and unopposed general sessions to give speakers more time to discuss their topics and allow attendees to have longer question-and-answer sessions. In addition to more than 50 seminars, there are 13 four-hour specialty courses on the agenda.

Other speakers include Jill Fonte, Bill Tym, Todd Ellenbecker, Barbara Fackel, Dede Allen, Dave Kozlowski, Bryce Young, Kurt Kamperman, Jim Baugh, John Yandell and Larry Karageanes. Topics include video analysis, programming and curriculum, business communication and team building, strategy and stroke technique, the sport sciences and more.

“This year’s education schedule is a terrific opportunity to hear favorite speakers and the fresh perspectives of several new ones,” says USPTA CEO Tim Heckler. “The agenda will appeal not only to tennis professionals interested in teaching the modern game to players of all levels, but also to those who are more involved in the business side of tennis.”

Also during the conference, USPTA hosts its $30,000 International Tennis Championships, board and Executive Committee meetings, nighttime parties, industry meetings, a tennis buying show (Sept. 24 to 25), plus Developmental Coach and Professional-level certification exams.

Nonmembers are welcome at the conference. More information about the conference and online registration forms are at www.uspta.com, or call 800-877-8248.

Wakley Is Back at Prince Footwear

Footwear expert Gary Wakley has rejoined Prince Sports Inc. and will be responsible for leading the product management of Prince’s tennis, racquetball and squash footwear categories in the U.S.

Wakley will oversee market research, product development, product positioning and market support programs. The addition of Wakley, according to Bill Foy, president of Prince Sports USA, will provide Prince’s footwear business with an experienced leader who brings enthusiasm for the sport.

“Prince is thrilled to welcome back Gary to our footwear team,” says Foy. “We know that Gary’s experience, combined with his passion for tennis and the Prince brand, will make a significant contribution to our business, both immediately and in the long-term. We are exploring several new initiatives to grow the brand, and Gary’s expertise will play a pivotal role in our success.”

Wakley formerly worked at Prince from 1994 through 1999 in the footwear division, where he introduced the NFS and Quik Trac lines. Before that, Wakley worked at athletic footwear companies such as Adidas and Lotto, among others.

Boeker Joins Tecnifibre USA

Nicolas Boeker has joined Tecnifibre USA as U.S. player program manager. He will be responsible for working with top coaches, college players and juniors, concentrating within the U.S.

“We are excited to have Nicolas as part of the Tecnifibre USA team,” says Paul Zalatoris, Tecnifibre USA’s general manager. Boeker recently graduated from the University of Georgia. He played on the national championship tennis team of 2001 and the NCAA finalist team of 2002 and was named team captain in 2003. He received All-American status in singles in 2003.

Boeker, who will be based in southern Florida, will work with Marco Baron, Tecnifibre’s international promotion manager, who is also a former NCAA standout player.

USRSA Book Selected by Scientific American Book Club

The Physics and Technology of Tennis The USRSA’s The Physics and Technology of Tennis has been named a selection of the Scientific American Book Club. Founded in 1958, Scientific American Book Club is the world’s oldest and most respected science book club. Dedicated to serving both professionals and serious amateurs, it surveys the entire scientific field to make the finest works available to club members. The cross-disciplinary readership spans a variety of subjects from theoretical and applied mathematics and physics to biology, chemistry, and cognitive science.

The Physics and Technology of Tennis, by Howard Brody, Rod Cross, and Crawford Lindsey, was also named “Best Book (Technical Division)” by Inside Tennis magazine. Its 42 chapters are divided into four sections — racquets, strokes, strings, balls and courts. Topics include racquet weight, balance, swing weight, power, vibration, and shock; string materials, properties, tension, spin, and power; and ball speed, trajectory, bounce, and spin.

It is published by Racquet Tech Publishing, an imprint of the USRSA, and is available by calling 760-536-1177 or going to the USRSA store. Price is $29.95 for nonmembers and $26.95 for USRSA members.

PTR Partners With Tennis Coaches Australia

The Professional Tennis Registry announced a new cooperation agreement with Tennis Coaches Australia (TCA) designed to enhance the products and services offered by both organizations.

TCA President Judy Bull and PTR CEO Dan Santorum expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity the union provides. “TCA is proud to affiliate itself with the largest global tennis coaches organization,” says Bull. “This relationship enhances TCA’s position as one of the premier coaching bodies in the world.”

According to Santorum, “With members in 124 countries, PTR brings a global resource to TCA and its members. The end result will be better-educated coaches who will continue growing the game in Australia. We look forward to working with TCA and its members for the betterment of tennis coaches in Australia.”

Lee Tennis To Hold Indoor Clay Court Conference on Long Island

Lee Tennis, in conjunction with Sportime Clubs and VelveTop, will host its first conference on indoor clay courts Aug. 30 to 31, 2004, at Sportime at Syosset on Long Island, N.Y.

“The conference is designed to bring together the nation’s leading experts on indoor clay courts to discuss the construction and maintenance of clay in an indoor environment,” says Pat Hanssen of Lee Tennis. Topics will include maintenance tools and techniques, surface compaction, irrigation, and structures. There will be classroom presentations, panel discussions and court demonstrations.

For more information, contact Hanssen at 877-4HARTRU or phanssen@luckstone.com.

Dunlop Adds 3 to Salesforce

Dunlop Racquet Sports has added new reps in the Philadelphia, New York and Midwestern territories. Bruce Hamlin will manage the New York and western Connecticut territories; Wolfgang Jaeger will manage New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Mark Kaneko will manage northern Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. All three have backgrounds in playing tennis and in sales and marketing.

“We are happy to add such credentialed personnel to our already outstanding sales force,” says Steve Zalinski, field sales director for Dunlop. “I’m confident that with our great sales force and leading product technology pipeline, 2004 and 2005 will be banner years.”

Winter sports company K2 Buys Völkl; U.S. Tennis Business Not Affected

Winter sports giant K2 has purchased Völkl International and Völkl Sport America in July for about $39.1 million in cash and about $21.4 million in K2 stock. The agreement was part of a huge deal in which K2 also acquired two other winter sports companies, Marker and Marmot.

Völkl International is the parent company of Völkl Ski, Snowboard and Winter Apparel, and Völkl Sport America is the U.S. distributor for Völkl Ski, Snowboard, Winter Apparel and Tennis. However, excluded from the sale is Völkl Tennis GmbH, which is the parent company of Völkl Tennis. Völkl Tennis GmbH continues to be owned by Hans-Dieter Cleven and Boris Becker.

Slinghopper A spokesperson for Völkl Tennis in West Lebanon, N.H., says the sale will have no impact on the daily operations in the U.S.

SlingHopper Teaching Drill Bags at Kids’ Day

PTR teaching pros at the 2004 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Aug. 28 at the USTA National Tennis Center will be using SlingHopper Pro drill bags for on-court games and activities. Made of ripstop nylon, the bags hold 40 balls and allow teaching pros to move around the court while feeding balls. For more information, visit www.slinghopper.com or call 866-434-1600.

Cross Creates Limited Edition Pen For Tennis Hall Of Fame

A.T. Cross Company introduced a limited-edition solid sterling silver fountain pen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The 1,954 pens (the Hall of Fame was founded in 1954) are individually numbered and feature engravings of historic tennis racquets. The pens also have an 18-karat gold nib plated with brilliant rhodium. The racquet-shaped pocket clip is detailed with Swarovski crystal. Suggested retail price is $700. For further details and a listing of retail stores, visit www.cross.com.

 

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