Tennis Industry magazine


Grassroots champion of the year: Carla O’Connor

By Peter Francesconi

Few people are more adept at building tennis from the grassroots than Carla O’Connor of Charlotte, N.C. For the past decade, O’Connor has been the executive director of the Charlotte Tennis Association, but her contributions to growing the game have gone well beyond local borders. She’s served on numerous USTA committees at every level, and currently chairs Jr. Team Tennis committees for USTA North Carolina, USTA Southern and USTA National.

Her honors and achievements also run from local to national, including receiving state “league organizer” and Junior Tennis Council awards, USTA North Carolina Family of the Year, and the USTA Janet Louer National Organizer of the Year Award. And now, she is Tennis Industry’s 2013 Grassroots Champion of the Year.

“I started as a volunteer in 1998. I became a JTT coordinator then community tennis coordinator, then in 2003, executive director of the CTA,” O’Connor says. “The volunteer work I do has been invaluable. We bring back all kinds of ideas to help the game grow.”

The Charlotte Tennis Association serves all players, and under O’Connor’s leadership it has been involved in virtually everything tennis-wise in the region. The area’s strong grassroots tennis also makes it ideal for piloting national USTA programs. And, “We’re doing all this with a significant court shortage in the community,” O’Connor says.

“What motivates me is all the benefits this sport has to offer children,” she notes. “My favorite is being on the court with the 8-and-unders. It’s just so special.” — Peter Francesconi

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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