USPTA recognizes leaders in tennis
ORLANDO — The United States Professional Tennis Association honored those who stand out and go above and beyond in all aspects of the tennis industry at the annual USPTA World Conference on Friday. USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, recognized tennis coaches, players and volunteers during its annual national awards presentation at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.
Nick Bollettieri, Vic Braden, and Steve Wilkinson joined the ranks of only 13 others when they were inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame. The association’s highest honor recognizes excellence in the tennis profession and commitment to USPTA.
Master Professional Avis Murray received the Alex Gordon Award for the USPTA Professional of the Year, the association’s top annual member award. A member since 1971, the Gloucester, Mass., resident has served on multiple committees, held offices within the USPTA New England Division, and has earned multiple accolades as a player, including several player of the year honors.
Mark Faber of Toledo, Ohio, is the recipient of the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award for his contributions to his community through tennis, presented annually by the United States Tennis Association as part of the USPTA’s awards program. In his 20 years as a USPTA member, Faber has contributed to several charities, including the American Cancer Society Make-A-Wish Foundation. He helped a local non-profit community mental health center establish a summer tennis program and an after-school program, exposing more than 250 children to tennis. Faber is also a three-time High School Coach of the Year award winner.
In recognition of his business acumen and charitable attitude, Gerry Maingot received the USPTA’s Industry Excellence Award, which recognizes members who increase tennis activity in their communities. This award is sponsored by the Tennis Industry Association, and Maingot will receive a $1,000 grant from the TIA and a Tennis Tutor ball machine from Sports Tutor for use in his programs. A member for more than 25 years, Maingot has run numerous tournaments as the USTA league coordinator in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has increased 10 and Under Tennis participation in the area.
David Pack, Ph.D., of West Jordan, Utah, earned the USPTA Star Award for his work with children in his community by incorporating tennis into physical education in schools. As a USTA School Clinician for the Utah Tennis Association for the past 16 years, Pack has had a tremendous impact on the mental and physical education of children of all ages and abilities in the Salt Lake Valley region by offering training and curriculum to students, teachers and volunteers.
Matt Grayson is the recipient of the individual Lessons for Life Award after raising approximately $40,000 for local charities in the Atlanta area. The athletics and tennis director at Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta hosted the Ansley Tennis Pro-am benefit for the South Eastern Brain Tumor Foundation and Bert’s Big Adventure through a multi-day event that incorporated more than 250 kids and 100 parents participating in a tennis tournament.
John McWilliams was recognized for his efforts to increase tennis participation in his community by being named the recipient of the Tennis Across America Individual Award. McWilliams founded Tennis Across Montgomery 17 years ago, an event that brings children of diverse backgrounds together for lessons on tennis and life by encouraging kids to make smart choices while learning how to play tennis. This year, the event raised $31,000 for the Family Sunshine Center, which helps abused children and victims of domestic violence.
Cindy Benzon of Spring, Texas, received the association’s Diversity Award for her ability to unite diverse populations within her community through tennis. Benzon began working with the intellectually disabled in 1984, and in 2003 she became involved with the Special Olympics in the Houston area. Two years ago, she became the adaptive program manager for USTA Texas and has worked with the Special Olympics, School for the Blind, people with prosthetics and most recently the National Dwarf Games.
Philip Farmer was this year’s recipient of the Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year award. The director of tennis and athletics at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas, has worked with several noted touring professionals such as Tara Snyder, Corina Morariu, Sam Querrey, Bob and Mike Bryan, Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich. He also coached Samy Martinelli to a level 3 USTA Junior National title in the girls 16’s division when she was only 14.
After leading the Stratford Academy tennis teams in Macon, Ga., to an outstanding season, Randy Stephens was named the High School Coach of the Year. Stratford’s boys’ team finished the 2012 season undefeated with a regional and state championship, and the girls’ team earned a regional title and reached the state semifinals.
After being named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association 2013 National Coach of the Year, Paul Settles of Claremont, Calif., was named the USPTA’s College Coach of the Year. In 10 seasons at the helm of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges tennis team, Settles has led the Stags to 75 consecutive conference matches and eight consecutive conference titles along with leading the team to its first NCAA Championship match since 1994 this year.
Jack Foster was named the George Bacso Tester of the Year. The director of tennis at First Colony Community Association in Sugar Land, Texas, has been a USPTA member for 22 years and previously earned the USPTA Texas Division Tester of the Year award in 2009.
Tom Sweitzer, manager of the Orlando Tennis Center, was named the Manager of the Year — Large Facility for his commitment to certification and overseeing the total renovation of his facility. Sweitzer implemented a policy that requires all teaching professionals to be USPTA or PTR certified, and created a wide variety of activities for different levels and ages, which resulted in an increase to the teaching and pro shop income by 400 percent.
Fernando Velasco, general manager of Grey Rock Tennis Club since 2001, was named the Manager of the Year — Small Facility after turning his club’s finances around. The Austin, Texas, club now has more than 150 members and his been profitable for three years.
The USPTA National Awards program is conducted annually. Nominations are submitted by the organization’s 17 divisions and by individuals. Recipients in each category are decided by the USPTA’s awards committee.
The USPTA Player of the Year awards were announced on Tuesday, and the release is available at uspta.com.
Biographies of the award recipients are included in the attachment.
2013 USPTA Annual Awards
- Nick Bollettieri, Vic Braden, Steve Wilkinson; USPTA Tim Heckler Hall of Fame Award
- Avis Murray, Alex Gordon Award for the USPTA Professional of the Year
- Mark Faber, USTA/USPTA Community Service Award
- Gerry Maingot, USPTA Industry Excellence Award
- David Pack, USPTA Star
- Matt Grayson, Lessons for Life Individual Award
- John McWilliams, Tennis Across America Individual Award
- Cindy Benzon, USPTA Diversity Award
- Fernando Velasco, Manager of the Year Award — Small Facility
- Tom Sweitzer, Manager of the Year Award — Large Facility
- Philip Farmer, Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year
- Randy Stephens, High School Coach of the Year
- Paul Settles, College Coach of the Year
- Jack Foster, George Basco Tester of the Year
USPTA divisions receiving awards are:
- USPTA Southwest Division — Small Division of the Year
- USPTA Texas Division — Large Division of the Year
- USPTA Midwest Division — Newsletter of the Year
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