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October OVERHEAD SMASH: Jacksonville's Diana Gardner

October 2, 2006 12:43 PM

Diana Gardner of Jacksonville has been selected as the Florida section representative and nominee for the national 2006 USTA Jr. Team Tennis Organizer Award!

Nominated by USTA Florida Community Tennis Council chair REB Phillips, Diana has impressed the Jacksonville community with her ability to grow tennis through three seasons of Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) programs.

As JTT area league coordinator for three years now, Diana has modified the local programs to correspond with state and national levels of play; she created new divisions attracting new players, and she developed and organized events above and beyond her coordinator responsibilities.

In 2004, Diana received the USTA Florida Area League Coordinator of the Year award.  During that year Diana was at the forefront of Jacksonville JTT program improvements.  She arranged and facilitated trainings, added divisions and grew participation, helped with state events and organized a fun event for local young players.

Within the past two years, Diana has brought participation in her spring and fall seasons up to 450 participants, and the summer program now attracts more than 200 kids!

"We have great participation in several counties in the greater Jacksonville area," Diana said.  "Next we hope to expand into Clay, Nassau and St. Johns Counties."

She and USTA Florida community consultant Dede Allen established a partnership, and they plan to carry out this JTT expansion together.

Diana now serves on the USTA Florida Recreational Tennis Council; she stays abreast of JTT decisions, modifications and improvements.

Her involvement with the JTT program is not her sole USTA Florida affiliation.  Diana helps coordinate volunteers for events, she has played in tournaments and league events, and she volunteers with USTA Florida frequently.

USTA Florida coordinator of Jr. Team Tennis Jodi Manning is extremely impressed with Diana's success as JTT area league coordinator.

"Diana's marketing and organizational skills have built this program bigger than I ever imagined," Jodi said.  "She has an open mind and she is always fair.  She is a great ambassador for USTA Florida – she believes in our mission to promote and develop tennis, and she does!"






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