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ITHF presents awards

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the 2013 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards on Saturday, March 15. The awards were given during the International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif. Hall of Fame President Stan Smith presented the awards, which are given annually to recognize great volunteers and leaders in the sport of tennis. Jon Vegosen, of Chicago, a Past Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA, received the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award. The Tennis Educational Merit Awards were presented to Anne Davis of Tallahassee, Fla., who has been active in community tennis and currently serves as USTA Manager of Play Days, and Bill Norris of Boca Raton, Fla., who has served tennis in the areas of athletic training and sports medicine since the early 1970s.

“As an industry, we are only able to grow tennis with the vision and hard work of dedicated leaders and volunteers. Very much in the spirit of Samuel Hardy, Jon Vegosen has donated countless hours toward the growth of the sport through his leadership within the USTA and his commitment to creating access to tennis for everyone. Bill Norris’ work in sports medicine and rehabilitation has proved vital to improving and extending careers for so many athletes. Of course, Anne Davis’ work as a coach and her commitment to developing community access to tennis is exactly what helps grow the sport every day. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is proud to honor the work of these three remarkable individuals, with gratitude for all that they have done for tennis,” commented Stan Smith, president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The Samuel Hardy Award is presented annually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame to a USTA volunteer in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport of tennis. The award was established in 1953 in memory of Samuel Hardy, who served on various USTA committees throughout his lifetime. The award was established to honor USTA volunteers who exemplify Hardy’s dedication and loyalty to the sport of tennis.

Jon Vegosen has been a lifelong volunteer and leader in tennis. At the national level, Vegosen served as Chairman of the Board and President of the United States Tennis Association in 2011 and 2012. He has served on and/or chaired several USTA committees, including the Compensation, Budget, Collegiate, and International Committees. He has also been a Board Liaison to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP World Tour, the WTA, and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Vegosen served two terms representing the US Open on the Grand Slam Committee. He currently serves on the USTA Board as Immediate Past President and Chairman of the USTA Major Construction Oversight Committee and the Past Presidents Committee. In 2013, Vegosen was re-elected to a second term on the ITF Board and has served on, or as chair of, several ITF Committees and as an ITF Vice President. Vegosen also continues to serve on the USTA Serves and International Tennis Hall of Fame Boards of Directors.

As USTA President, Vegosen’s vision was to promote and develop the growth of people through tennis. Showcasing tennis as the “Sport of Opportunity,” he sought to increase access to tennis for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic circumstance, through education and mentoring, diversity and inclusion, and making tennis more affordable and fun. During his presidency, the USTA carried out the largest youth tennis initiative-Ten & Under Tennis- in its history to encourage more youngsters to take up the game. Vegosen oversaw two of the most successful US Opens and the unveiling of a strategic vision conceived by his predecessor to revamp the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Vegosen’s service to tennis long pre-dates his role at the helm of the USTA. In 2006, he became a Vice President of the USTA Midwest Section and the Midwest Youth Tennis & Education Foundation. He began volunteering for the Chicago District Tennis Association (CDTA) in 1994. He was on the Board for over a decade, including a term as President in 2001 and 2002. He also served on the Chicago Tennis Patrons Board. Among other contributions, Vegosen developed and implemented a strategic plan for the CDTA; wrote the Parent Guide for Competitive Junior Tennis; created a sportsmanship video; and instituted a junior mentoring program. In honor of his mentor Max Davidson, Vegosen conceived, raised funds for, and oversaw the creation of two tennis centers for JCYS, a Chicago area social service agency. The centers feature tennis programming for under-served youth and individuals with disabilities.

As a player, Vegosen captained Northwestern University’s varsity tennis team in 1972-1973 and was selected to the All Big-Ten Conference Team in 1973. Vegosen and Shari, his wife of 37 years, reside in Chicago. Vegosen is a founding member of Chicago law firm Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. (FVLD). He is a graduate of Northwestern University and Northwestern Law School

Vegosen was introduced at the awards luncheon by Dave Haggerty, current Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President of the USTA.

The Tennis Educational Merit award is given annually to individual(s) who are United States citizens and have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level. Award winners have repeatedly demonstrated leadership and creative skills in tennis instruction, writing, organization, and promotion of the sport.

Bill Norris and Dr. Todd Ellenbecker

After serving his country as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Bill Norris became the youngest athletic trainer/therapist ever hired for any major league franchise. Norris was named head athletic trainer/therapist for the New York Knicks in August 1963 at the age of 21. He had started 1963 with the New York Mets as an athletic trainer/therapist after his graduation. Norris went on to work in both professional baseball and basketball until he left those sports teams to administer to the men’s professional tennis tour in 1973. A pioneer in athletic training and sports medicine, Norris developed many principals and protocols of conditioning, preventative care, rehabilitation, and recovery that are standards in sports medicine today. He is still involved in the continuing education program of the National Athletic Trainers Association, upgrading the education and public awareness of the athletic trainers in sports medicine. He is now in his forty-first year in professional tennis and is the founding father of the ATP Sports Medicine Committee. For the last seven years he has developed protocols specifically for tennis medicine that is science based and is the culmination and result of his many years as caregiver for the men’s professional tennis tour. Norris now resides in Boca Raton, Fla., with his wife Sherie. He currently operates a tennis-specific therapy practice.

Dr. Todd Ellenbecker, who serves as Chairman of the USTA’s Sport Science Committee, introduced Norris at the awards luncheon.

Anne Davis has worked for the USTA since 2005 and is currently the USTA National Manger, Play Days. Her primary focus is on Play Days and Local Play at the section level with the goal of providing more meaningful play opportunities and increase participation. Previously, Davis was in charge of the Welcome Back to Tennis Program, the Tennis Organizers Program and Recreational 10 & Under Workshops. She is also a member of the USTA Adjunct Faculty. Before joining USTA, Davis was a teaching pro who worked for a Parks and Recreation agency, served as a Director of Tennis at a private club, and was the owner of the Home Court Advantage Tennis Education Company. A certified PTR Professional, USTA National Faculty Coach for 10 & Under Tennis Workshops, and USTA School Clinician, she has coached adults, juniors, and young children. She has coached sectionally and nationally ranked juniors as well as two USTA NTRP Women’s National Championship Teams. In addition, she was the coach of the Florida State Women’s Tennis team from 1979 - 1986 earning three Conference Coach of the year honors. Davis has always been an active volunteer with the Florida Section serving as a local Community Tennis Association president, Chair of the USA Florida Section Community Tennis Council, and as a Florida Regional Director. Davis has published tennis related articles and contributed to the Learn to Rally and Play Guide - A Coaches Guide, Quickstart Tennis - A Guide for Parents and Recreational Coaches and she authored Formats and More for the Tennis Organizer. Davis earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling from the University of South Florida, where she also played on the varsity tennis team. She has lived in Florida all her life and currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla.

At the awards luncheon, Davis was introduced by Kirk Anderson, who is the Department Director for Coach Education at the USTA.

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring its greatest champions and contributors. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has honored 235 people from 20 countries with the highest honor in tennis-enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. For additional information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, visit tennisfame.com.

 

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