This is the Association's highest honor afforded any person, national or international, living or deceased. Inductees have given exemplary service to the tennis-teaching profession. Inductees must have momentous international and/or national tennis industry or teaching service, be well known by name to teaching professionals in the country in which they reside and fulfill various other requirements.
Nick Bollettieri, inducted in 2013
Nick Bollettieri of Bradenton, Fla., has been one of the most influential people in tennis. A year after becoming a USPTA member, he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (now known as IMG Academy) in Florida in 1978, which was the first full-time tennis boarding school to combine intense training on court with custom-designed academic curriculum. His approach led to 10 No. 1 players in the world: Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis, Jelena Jankovic, Marcelo Rios, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams.
Vic Braden, inducted in 2013
Vic Braden has impacted tennis as a player, teaching professional and broadcaster. He is the founder/director of the Vic Braden Tennis College in Coto de Caza, Calif., co-founder of Vic Braden Tennis College at Star Island Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., and co-founder of Vic Braden Tennis College in St. George, Utah. He and Jack Kramer co-founded the Jack Kramer Tennis Club in Palos Verdes, Calif. Since joining the USPTA in 1984, he has authored numerous books including “Tennis for the Future,” “Teaching Children Tennis the Vic Braden Way,” “Quick Fixes” and “Mental Tennis.” As a professional player, he was invited to play in the World Tennis Championships three times.
Steve Wilkinson, inducted in 2013
Steve Wilkinson of Saint Peter, Minn., was the head men’s coach at Gustavus Adolphus College for 39 years from 1971-2009 and is the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories. He has coached 46 players to 87 all-American honors (including current ATP tour player Eric Butorac). He founded the Tennis and Life clinics/camps more than 25 years ago and has dedicated his time and effort to improving tennis performance of youth and adults while teaching life lessons that can be used off the court. He has been a USPTA member since 1972.
Doris Hart, inducted in 2012
Doris Hart is one of three players, all women, to have a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles - every possible title (singles, same-sex doubles, and mixed doubles) from all four Grand Slam events. The others are Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova. She won 35 Grand Slam titles during her career. Six of her titles were in women's singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 15 in mixed doubles. Hart retired from the tour in 1955 - the same year she joined USPTA - to become a tennis-teaching professional. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969. She is the first woman inducted into USPTA's Hall of Fame. She lives in Coral Gables, Fla.
Pancho Segura, inducted in 2012
Pancho Segura is a former leading tennis player of the 1940s and 1950s, both as an amateur and a professional. In 1950 and 1952, he was the World Co-No. 1 player. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but moved to the United States in the late 1930s. He is the only player to have won the U.S. Pro Tennis Championship title on three different surfaces (which he did consecutively from 1950-1952). He joined USPTA in 1946, and was widely credited with helping develop the young Jimmy Connors. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.
Randy Snow, inducted in 2010
Randy Snow became the first Paralympic athlete inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004. He was a silver medalist in the 1,500-meter wheelchair race at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He won gold medals in both singles and doubles with Brad Parks at the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona. He also won the U.S. Open Wheelchair singles titles 10 times and doubles six times.
A USPTA member for 17 years, Snow was considered a pioneer and an innovator in the wheelchair industry and helped improve the designs for athletes and improve the lives of many disabled people. He devoted his time to giving back and sharing the game of tennis.
Welby Van Horn, inducted in 2008
Welby Van Horn's career as a coach has spawned institutions such as the Welby Van Horn Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., and Welby Van Horn tennis programs in a number of locations. The teaching system he developed is still used today and it is featured in his book "The Secrets of the Tennis Master."
Van Horn was a star player and contemporary of other world-class players and USPTA members, including Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, Bill Tilden and Bruce Barnes. When he was 19 years old, he reached the finals of the 1939 U.S. Nationals. One of the high points of his playing career was his crushing defeat of the great Bill Tilden during a match between U.S. and British Empire service teams at Wimbledon in 1945. Van Horn also won the United States Pro Championship (a USPTA event) in 1945.
Bill Tym, inducted in 2007
Bill Tym, a USPTA Master Professional and past USPTA national president, has been involved in tennis as a coach, player and administrator for half a century. He coached the Vanderbilt University men's tennis team to its first NCAA tournament. As a player, Tym was a Southeastern Conference singles champion at the University of Florida. He also competed on the international tour and won 10 national and international titles. As executive director of USPTA, Tym helped create a standardized certification test. Tym was named USPTA Professional of the Year in 1982, College Coach of the Year in 1989, and Touring Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2002. He also received the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award from the USPTA in 2001 and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Educational Merit Award in 1981.
Alex Gordon, inducted in 2007
Alex Gordon made great contributions to the game of tennis as a coach, player and USPTA member. As a coach, he was first hired on as head professional at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego in 1946. He taught there for 10 years and then returned again in 1960 and remained there until 1976. As a player, he attended UCLA and was captain of the men's tennis team and the No. 1 singles player. He was also the two-time Southern California Interscholastic doubles champion. Gordon was the USPTA national 45 doubles champion in 1969, '71 and '72 (with Ben Press).
Gordon was the president of the USPTA San Diego Division in 1969-1974. He was also president of the USPTA national Board of Directors in 1976, but passed away during his presidency. He is credited with holding the Association together in the 1970s, when it struggled with internal political turmoil. For that and his other contributions, the Alex Gordon Professional of the Year award was named in his honor.
Clarence Mabry, inducted in 2006
Clarence Mabry is both a respected player and tennis-teaching professional. As a player, he was nationally ranked and a state champion, winning the Southwest Conference singles and doubles title while at the University of Texas at Austin in 1946. In 1955 he established the Trinity University's men's tennis team and went on to develop a nationally recognized program. He led them to the NCAA championship in 1972, and for 18 of his 19 years as coach, his team ranked in the top four NCAA teams, giving him an impressive win-loss record of 319-36.
Mabry's other honors include induction into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's Tennis Collegiate Hall of Fame, Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, San Antonio Hall of Fame, Trinity University Hall of Fame and the University of Texas Hall of Honor.
Tut Bartzen, inducted in 2003
Tut Bartzen was one of America's top amateur tennis players, ranked in the U.S. top 10 from 1953-62. He was unflappable on clay courts, achieved a national ranking of No. 2 in 1959 and reached as high as No. 3 in 1961. He was 15-0 as a Davis Cup player and also served twice as assistant captain. He competed with players like Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Chuck McKinley and won.
Bartzen joined USPTA in 1961 and a year later turned professional as a player and became a tennis professional at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. After the 1998-99 season and 25 years as head men's tennis coach, Bartzen retired from Texas Christian University. Starting with a group of walk-ons and one scholarship, Bartzen experienced all but one winning season. With a winning record of better than 70 percent, his team finished in the nation's top 20 all but three times between 1977 and 1998.
Tim Gullikson, inducted in 2001
Tim Gullikson, a USPTA member from 1989 until his death in 1996, was a teaching professional, playing professional and coach to other world-class playing professionals, including Pete Sampras, who he coached to six Grand Slam singles titles. As a USPTA member, Gullikson was generous with his time as a speaker at educational events and a promoter of the association.
Gullikson and his brother Tom were doubles partners in high school and college, and then club teaching professionals before joining the pro tour in 1976. Tim Gullikson was the ATP's Newcomer of the Year in 1977 and reached 11 finals and won 16 doubles titles. Ten of those came when playing with Tom, with whom he reached the doubles final at Wimbledon in 1983.
Tim Heckler, inducted in 2000
Tim Heckler was USPTA's CEO for 30 years, from 1982-2012. Prior to that, he served on the national USPTA executive committee and board of directors before being elected USPTA president in 1980. He was USPTA Professional of the Year in 1979 and a Master Professional.
As CEO, Heckler guided the Association through a period in which it increased its membership fivefold and its annual income tenfold, established USPTA as the foremost organization of teaching professionals in the world, and revolutionized USPTA's operations through computerization.
While attending Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, on a tennis scholarship, he played the international circuit, including Wimbledon in 1959 and 1961, and the U.S. Open in 1960. Heckler assumed a full-time tennis-teaching position in 1970 at Houston's Westwood Country Club, and was elected president of USPTA's Texas Division in 1974. In 1973 he was the consultant to and tennis director for the Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King "Match of the Century" held in the Houston Astrodome.
Paul Xanthos, inducted in 1999
The late Paul Xanthos amassed a 550-94 win-loss record during a 28-year career as tennis coach of Los Angeles Pierce College. During Xanthos' tenure at Pierce College, he led teams to 23 conference championships, and experienced winning streaks of 96, 50, 37 and 27 wins in a row.
Xanthos wrote numerous articles and books on tennis, and conducted tennis seminars worldwide. He was a charter member of the USPTA Education and Research Committee, and was instrumental in founding the USTA's National Tennis Teachers Conference.
His awards include the USTA Award of Merit in 1974, the USPTA California Division Coach of the Year in 1981-84, and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Community College Coach of the Year in 1988. In 1994, he was named USPTA Coach of the Year and was also inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. Xanthos was a USPTA honorary member and Master Professional.
George Bacso, inducted in 1994
The late George Bacso served as USPTA's Director of Certification and Academies. In this capacity, he traveled the world conducting Certification Exams, Tennis Teachers' Courses and Certification Training Courses. He was also a popular speaker and clinician in the United States. Bacso was instrumental in developing the current USPTA certification process and worked with USPTA's national tester network.
From 1978 to 1980, he served as USPTA's national president. He also served several years as the president of the USPTA Eastern Division. He received the USTA National Education Merit Award and the national USPTA Professional of the Year Award. Bacso also received the inaugural George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and he held a Master Professional rating.
Arthur Ashe, inducted in 1993
The late Arthur Ashe was the first inductee into the USPTA Hall of Fame. Ashe's tennis accomplishments, including Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, earned him the world's No. 1 ranking on two separate occasions -- 1968 and 1975. He was instrumental in the founding of the ATP Tour and the National Junior Tennis League.
Ashe, who died of AIDS complications in 1993, is also well remembered for his off-court activities, including his outspoken support of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, a writing career that earned him an Emmy award and his publicized battle with AIDS. He was also active in bringing inner-city children into the sport of tennis through programs such as USPTA's Tennis Across America.
USPTA Professionals are driven individuals who go above and beyond their call of duty to inspire their students to reach their highest level of performance on the tennis court and provide them with tools to be successful off the court as well. The USPTA wants to recognize members who are committed to excellence as tennis teachers and as ambassadors using tennis to impact people and communities.
Don’t let your fellow USPTA Professional go unnoticed. USPTA is looking for deserving tennis professionals who are growing the game of tennis as it accepts nominations for the 2014 awards program. Awards are presented in every facet of the tennis business in which USPTA members work.
Awards period - July 1, 2013 – June 15, 2014
Nominations due - June 17, 2014
Eligible members - Certified Professional-level members*
Applications available - below or by request at 800-877-8248 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Nonmembers may apply for Facility Manager of the Year
USPTA award categories include:
USPTA Stars are members who have dedicated many years to volunteering in grassroots tennis and through initiatives incorporating multicultural and other aspects and bring the sport and sportsmanship to the players they touch. Their giving spirits have made them stars in their own communities. We may not have heard of the people who receive this award, but their stories are inspiring, and almost all of us know at least one person who deserves a nomination. (Rules)
The USPTA Industry Excellence Award is given to teaching professionals who take both an altruistic and entrepreneurial attitude toward their jobs. They use their own resources and those offered by the industry to build programs that bring tennis to more people. At the same time, they are successful in growing a tennis business. The recipient of this award will receive a $1,000 grant from the Tennis Industry Association and a Tennis Tutor ball machine from Sports Tutor for use in his or her grassroots programs. (Rules)
The Alex Gordon Award for Professional of the Year recognizes a member who, over a career, has demonstrated exemplary achievement in seven areas, including: contributions to USPTA and USTA; as a teaching professional, player and coach; in education, research and publications; and with other organizations, achievements and contributions. (Rules)
The only USPTA award available to nonmembers is for Manager of the Year, Large and Small Facility, however, each year a USPTA Professional has received the award, sometimes along with a nonmember. Applicants/nominees must be the general manager (in function, if not in title) of a club or tennis facility. (Rules)
College Coach of the Year and High School Coach of the Year award recipients are usually selected based on their results as team coaches, however, individual coaches may be considered. The Touring Coach of the Year is selected on the basis of his or her work with a playing professional on the ATP World tour or the WTA Tour and/or touring juniors. (Rules)
The George Bacso Tester of the Year award recognizes the USPTA tester who does the most to advance certification opportunities and the certification process. (Rules)
The USPTA Lessons for LifeTM Award recognizes those USPTA members who have done the most to raise money for charities through tennis events. While the award spotlights individuals who have raised large amounts of money, it also honors those hosting the most creative, original or unique tennis event to raise money for charities. An individual hosting an event raising the most money will not necessarily receive this award. (Rules)
The USPTA Tennis Across AmericaTM Award recognizes those USPTA members who have
done the most to get people to play tennis. Established in 1990, TAA is the original, free, grassroots lesson program. It also has a multicultural segment that targets various communities and potential players who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play. While the award does look at individuals who have held the most free clinics with the greatest number of participants, it also looks at individuals hosting the most creative, original or unique free tennis event to get people to play the game. (Rules)
The USPTA Diversity Award recognizes those USPTA members who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to unite diverse populations within their community through tennis. (Rules)
Nominations for the above awards may be submitted by a USPTA division or a certified USPTA member in good standing, as long as an official application form is used. Member self-nominations are accepted. The nomination forms available above are Microsoft Word documents that may be completed in the program and then forwarded to USPTA by mail and/or email. ALL applications can now be submitted as PDFs and submitted via email. Large PDF files may be burned to a CD/DVD and mailed in. The Awards Committee encourages applicants to submit their applications and all supporting materials in one of the above electronic formats. Send email applications and questions to email@example.com.
The World Headquarters must receive all applications and division yearly reports by the June 17 deadline. Having an application postmarked June 17 is not acceptable and those applications will not be considered by the Awards Committee. Applications submitted via email must be emailed by June 17 at 11:59 p.m. Central time. The entire application and ALL supporting materials must be received on or before the deadline date to be considered. The Awards Committee will not accept applications received after the deadline. Applications may be mailed or shipped to the address below.
U.S. Professional Tennis Association
3535 Briarpark Drive, Suite One
Houston, TX 77042
Attn: Awards Committee
Recipients will be recognized during the Tennis Teacher’s Conference, Aug. 22-25, at the Grand Hyatt New York in New York. Since changes have been made to some individual categories, as well as Division of the Year criteria, please be sure to read the general rules and requirements for each award carefully. Also there are changes to the awards format and presentation at the conference, so please note that while all awards will be announced in writing at the conference, not all awards may be presented formally as they have in the past
2013 National Award Winners
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 USPTA 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.
International Championships Winners
Men's singles finals
- Men's open – Adrians Zguns (1), Orlando, Fla., def. Paulo Barros, Winter Garden, Fla., 6-1, 6-1
- Men's 35-and-over – Paulo Barros (1), Orlando, Fla., def. Marcin Rozpedski (2), Palm Desert, Calif., 6-3, 6-3
- Men's 45-and-over – Richard Schmidt (1), Orlando, Fla., def. Jeff Cohen (2), Boca Raton, Fla., 6-3, 0-6, 6-3
- Men's 50-and-over - Kie Foreman (1), Pebble Beach, Calif., def. Todd Wise, Fort Myers, Fla., 6-2, 6-4
- Men's 60-and-over – Gewan Maharaj, Tampa, Fla., round-robin winner
- Men's 65-and-over – Geoff Moore, Boynton Beach, Fla., round-robin winner
- Men's 75-and-over – James Ridgley, Washington D.C., def. Louis Shackelford, Pompano Beach, Fla., 6-4, 6-2
Women's singles finals
- Women's 45-and-over – Kathy Vick, Lubbock, Texas, round-robin winner
Men's doubles finals
- Men's Open – Kamil Kuchta, Boynton Beach, Fla., and Adrian Zguns, Orlando, Fla., def. Marcin Rozpedski, Palm Desert, Calif., and Juan Garcia, San Diego, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
- Men's 40-and-over – Louis Ballantyne, Jacksonville, Fla., and Jeff Cohen (1), Boca Raton, Fla., def. Kie Foreman, Pebble Beach, Calif., and Bill Quario (2), Marina, Calif., 6-1, 6-2
- Men's 60-and-over – Gewan Maharaj, Tampa, Fla., and Geoff Moore (2), Boynton Beach, Fla., def. Kimm Ketelsen, Tyler, Texas, and Tommy Connell, Houston, (1), 6-4, 6-2
- Mixed 45-and-over – Robin Keener, Melbourne, Fla., and Richard Schmidt, Orlando, Fla., def. Kathy Vick, Lubbock, Texas, and Miguel Navarro, Tyler, Texas, 6-3, 6-0
Sportsmanship Award Recipients
- Kathy Barnes, San Jose, Calif.
- Todd Wise, Fort Myers, Fla.
- Cliff Price, Tulsa, Okla.