Tennis Industry magazine

 

Tennis people: Where Are They Now?

Fourteen years ago, Tennis Industry named its “40 Under 40.” You may be surprised to learn that many are still influencing the tennis business.

Back in our July/August 2000 issue, Tennis Industry magazine named its “40 Under 40” — men and women we felt would help lead the tennis industry into the then new century and have a strong influence in the sport and the business of tennis.

After we named our recent “30 Under 30” in the November/December issue this past fall, we thought it would be interesting to go back to the original 40 from 14 years before, to see what they’re doing now and whether they’re still involved in tennis. And we’re happy to report that most of our 40 still are very involved in this sport in some way, and others who may have left full-time work in tennis still have a connection to the sport. (Note: We couldn’t locate one of the original 40, who left the industry shortly after our story appeared in 2000.)

As responses poured in from our original 40, we also noticed how thankful they all were for getting involved in tennis. Many noted how wonderful it is to work in a field that they also truly love. Tennis, it seems, is more than just a job for these men and women.

Many thanks to Denny Schackter for coordinating our coverage and reaching out and tracking down our original 40 Under 40.

D.A. Abrams
Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, USTA

In 2000, Abrams was the director of USA Tennis NJTL, charged with expanding that program. He has been in the tennis industry for the last 24 years and now, as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the USTA, is responsible for ensuring that all segments of the U.S. population are actively encouraged and recruited to participate in tennis as players and spectators.

Casey Angle
Corporate Concierge, SEI

After 11 years with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Angle left his position of director of communications in 2008 to join SEI. In his current role, he plans and manages over 100 events and meetings a year for the giant financial services company near Philadelphia and helps bring other services to the 2,500 employees.

Jennifer (Kenas) Arianas
Executive Director–Tennis Industry Relations, Tennis Channel

Arianas, in the industry for 21 years, was a promotions manager for Head/Penn in 2000. A longtime USTA committee volunteer, her role with Tennis Channel involves working with production, marketing and sales as the network’s liaison to the industry, in addition to managing interviews with players and others for programming and live broadcasts.

Steve Bellamy
CEO & Chairman, The Ski Channel/The Surf Channel

In 2000, Bellamy was CEO of Atonal Tennis. But that was before the entrepreneur launched the Tennis Channel in 2003, which he left after seven years as president. He still heads Atonal, which owns and operates three tennis centers in Southern California, and he remains actively involved in tennis, but he also founded The Ski Channel (2007) and The Surf Channel (2012) television networks.

Tim Cass
COO, University of New Mexico Athletics

Cass’s current position, which he began in 2006, includes overseeing UNM athletic facilities; game operations; football, basketball and tennis teams; fundraising; personnel; and much more. Fourteen years ago, he was the head men’s tennis coach at Texas A&M, and he continues to serve on the NCAA Tennis Committee and USTA Collegiate Athletic Directors Committee.

Andrew Coe
Chief Executive, International Motor Sports

Based in England, Coe was head of product development and technical director for the International Tennis Federation back in 2000, where he was the first manager of the ITF’s Technical Centre. He left that position shortly after and became an executive in the world of motor sports.

Sam Cook
President, Tecnica USA & Blizzard Sport America

A former Dartmouth player, Cook started his professional career in the tennis industry in 1993 at Volkl Sport America, left the industry for a time, then came back as an executive at Prince, which he left in 2012. Currently he is responsible for U.S. brand management for Tecnica and Blizzard for the Tecnica Group USA.

Jim Courier
TV Tennis Analyst, Davis Cup Captain, Former World No. 1

In 2000, Courier had just retired as a touring pro, after winning four Grand Slam singles crowns, 23 ATP singles titles and reaching the No. 1 world ranking. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005 and, among other things, is an analyst on the broadcasts of the four majors for various networks and serves as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team.

Lindsay Davenport
TV Tennis Commentator, Former World No. 1

Davenport retired in 2010 with three Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles. Ranked No. 1 on eight different occasions, she was a member of the WTA Tour Players’ Council during her Tour days and married tennis player Jonathan Leach in 2003. Today, she is a TV tennis
commentator.

Larry Dillon
Manager–10 and Under Tennis, USTA Eastern

Fourteen years ago, Dillon was the founder and president of The Sports, For Life! Foundation Inc., working to use tennis to enhance lives. He is still using the sport to bring out the best in adults and children, now as a manager with the USTA Eastern Section.

Johan Eliasch
Chairman & CEO, Head N.V.

Eliasch, who has been in this industry for 18 years, held the same role in 2000, when Head had just completed acquiring Penn Racquet Sports. From 2007 to 2010, he served in the British Government as the Special Representative of the Prime Minister on Deforestation and Clean Energy.

Joe Favorito
Self-Employed, and Director of Industry Relations, Columbia University Graduate Program in Sports Management

Favorito handles marketing, communications and business development for a host of different clients in sports and entertainment, including the John McEnroe Tennis Academy and recent work with the WTT New York Sportimes and Washington Kastles. In 2000, he worked for the USTA as director of publicity and media relations.

Tony Godsick
President, TEAM8

Godsick is founder and president of Team8 Sports & Entertainment, whose clients include Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov. In the industry for 22 years (and married to former pro player Mary Joe Fernandez), Godsick was the vice president for Racquet Sports at IMG.

John Hanna
Publisher-ALTA Net News, Ad Director–Tennis Industry, Sales Manager–Tennis

Hanna’s role in tennis publishing spans decades and includes key titles in this industry. He remains publisher of Net News, as he was in 2000, but is also the ad director for Tennis Industry magazine and the endemic sales manager for Tennis magazine. He also is president and owner of the Baseline Network digital tennis business.

Rodney Harmon
Head Coach, Women’s Tennis Team at Georgia Tech

Since 2000, Harmon, who was the USTA’s director of multicultural development at the time, has been the men’s head tennis coach for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he was inducted into the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. As tennis director at Deerwood CC in Jacksonville, he was named Competitive Coach of the Year by the USTA Florida Section in 2012.

Feisal Hassan
General Manager/Tennis Director, Midlothian Tennis Club

Hassan has been in the tennis industry for 26 years, and currently oversees and manages the operation at the Midlothian Tennis Club in Virginia. He’s coached nationally ranked juniors, collegiate players, and touring pros, receiving many honors along the way.

David Higdon
Managing Director–Integrated Marketing Communications, NASCAR

Higdon’s start in the tennis industry came in 1982 with a story about his Kalamazoo College team that ran in Tennis magazine. He worked as a senior editor for Tennis, then was VP–Corporate Communications for the ATP Tour. He currently develops and implements NASCAR’s integrated marketing communications strategy.

Liza Horan
Head of Brand Strategy & Engagement, Hop-a-Razzi

Horan first started working in tennis 22 years ago as an assistant editor of USTA Magazine, then became the longtime director of the Tennis.com website and served for many years as president of the U.S. Tennis Writers Association. She leads the digital, marketing, advertising and public relations efforts for the Hop-a-Razzi ball basket brand.

Jerome Jones
District Sales Manager, Head/Penn Racquet Sports

In 2000, Jones was a USA Tennis National Administrator, growing the game in any and all capacities. That still is a focus of his, as his current job, in the Southern California territory, involves sales and promotions for Head/Penn products and distribution to all retail channels.

Jeff Karp
Executive VP–Social and Mobile

Karp left Wilson Sporting Goods at the end of 2000 after nine years, where he was Vice President of Interactive Marketing, and joined video game giant Electronic Arts, where his responsibilities included field sales, planning, retail marketing supply chain management and more. He currently works for Social and Mobile in San Francisco, a leading international social games business.

Rick Kerpsack
VP/Managing Director, Tennis Warehouse/TW–Europe

Kerpsack manages all purchasing for retail giant Tennis Warehouse, and in 2008 established Tennis Warehouse–Europe. He’s been in the tennis industry for 32 years, joining Wilson in 1991, where he took over the shoe category as business director for performance footwear.

Timothy Liptrap
Associate Professor & Chair, Sport Management, Nichols College

Involved in tennis in various forms for 25 years, Liptrap starting as a high school coach in 1989, director of marketing for USTA New England, section marketing manager for USTA National, and VP of World TeamTennis. Since 2002, he’s been building the Sport Management program at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.

Todd Martin
CEO-Designate, International Tennis Hall of Fame; President, Todd Martin Tennis LLC

Martin was recently named CEO of the ITHF, taking over full time this September. The former pro player, who has been active on the ATP Tour Player Council, currently is on the USTA Board of Directors and has a passion for giving back to the sport — from coaching youth tennis through elite juniors and professionals.

Leslie McCormack-Gathy
Deputy Chairman, Right To Play UK

McCormack-Gathy, who lives in London, left her vice president position at IMG in 2004. In addition to raising her three children, she joined the board of Right to Play UK in 2005, which uses sport and play to educate and empower children and helps girls become active in sports in countries where this traditionally has not been allowed.

Patrick McEnroe
General Manager–USTA Player Development; TV Commentator

Former tour pro McEnroe has held many roles in the industry, including as a member of the USTA Board of Directors, former Davis Cup captain, and president of USTA Serves. In 2008, he assumed his current position, overseeing all USTA player development programs. A respected TV commentator, he’s worked for ESPN and CBS, among other media outlets.

Drew Munster
CEO, Tennis Warehouse

Munster continues to run tennis internet retail giant Tennis Warehouse, where he still does a fair amount of programming on the system that runs TW’s businesses. The company’s innovative approach over the last two decades has helped shape tennis retailing.

Tracy Nickerson Schaefer
Administrative Assistant to Athletics & Wellness, North Cross School, Roanoke, Va.

Although Nickerson left her position as director of marketing for the Georgia Tennis Association in 2002, she remains involved in the sport as an avid player (plus, her husband is a USPTA-certified pro). After taking eight years off to raise a family, she wanted to get back into a sports career and started her current position in February 2013.

Kevin O’Connor
Senior Advisor, Arnaud Lagardere

O’Connor was the VP of Saddlebrook Sports in Tampa in 2000, working with tennis stars such as Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati. He became COO of Lagardere Unlimited’s sports representation and marketing business in the Americas in 2010, but left that position in 2013 to be senior advisor to the agency’s namesake.

Chris Renner
President, Helios Europe & China

In 2000, Renner was managing director at ISL Tennis, securing broadcast rights for the Tennis Masters Series and Fed Cup. He has since moved to Helios Partners, which is an international sports marketing consultancy.

Jeff Schwartz
President & Founder, Excel Sports Management

Excel Sports Management, which Schwartz started in 2002, represents some of the top athletes in pro sports, including NBA, MLB and PGA standouts. Schwartz started in sports management in 1992 at IMG, managing the careers of Pete Sampras, Martina Hingis and Marcelo Rios. He later joined Artists Management Group (AMG), building up the athlete division.

Larry Scott
Commissioner, Pac-12 Conference

Scott currently oversees all intercollegiate athletics (including tennis) and related businesses for the Pac-12 Conference, which he joined in 2009. The former tour player and Harvard grad served six years as chairman and CEO of the WTA, and prior to that was COO of the ATP Tour.

Pat Shields
Owner & CEO, Fromuth Tennis

Shields bought wholesale distributor Fromuth Tennis in 1992 and he continues to move the business forward, while working with tennis retailers to help them get the products they need and boost their own businesses.

Pam Shriver
Tennis Broadcaster; Board Member, USTA Serves; Former Pro Player

Including her time playing professional events (she won 22 Grand Slam doubles titles), Shriver has been in the tennis industry for 36 years. And she’s worn a multitude of hats in that time, from helping to grow the game at the grassroots to serving on the USTA Board of Directors and as a VP of the Hall of Fame.

David Sparrow
Senior Editor, Parents Magazine

Sparrow left Tennis magazine, where he was deputy editor, in 2001, but he continued to write freelance pieces for USTA Magazine until 2008. In his role at Parents, he heads up the magazine’s education and personal finance coverage. He still plays tennis regularly, and last year watched his 15-year-old son as a second-generation ball person at the US Open.

Kathleen Stroia
Senior VP–Sport Sciences & Medicine and Transitions, WTA

Stroia, in the industry for 25 years, currently is responsible for, among other things, setting standards for tournament physicians, identifying and participating in research projects for tennis, injury prevention, women’s health issues, and new high performance/sports medicine products. She also developed the Transitions program, which focuses on professional development for current and retired players.

Fred Viancos
Director of Professional Development, USPTA

A former professional player, Viancos has spent the last 25 years as an administrator in tennis, including as an ATP Tour manager. A longtime employee of the USPTA, he currently, oversees the membership, certification/testing, education and multimedia departments.

Scott Warner
Warner Investments; Coach

In 2000, Warner was the racquet sports buyer for retail chain Sports Authority, which he left in 2008. A former pro circuit player, he started his own company, Warner Investments, and buys real estate for rental income. But he still is involved in tennis, coaching several juniors in Denver and coaching high school tennis last year.

Ann Worcester
Tournament Director, New Haven Open at Yale

Worcester started her career in this sport 30 years ago, working for IMG. She is a former CEO of the WTA Tour, and became tournament director in New Haven 17 years ago, where she continues to emphasize tennis at all levels — from the pros right down to the grassroots. She also serves as chief marketing officer for Market New Haven, reporting to the mayor’s office.

Ben Yun
Senior Footwear Designer, Nike

Yun, who has remained with Nike since our original “40 Under 40” list in 2000, has had a hand in shoe designs not only worn by millions of consumers, but also by Nike’s top tennis stars, too.

 

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