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USTA Florida Wins USTA Section of the Year

November 6, 2007 10:27 AM

Racquet Sports Industry Magazine Names 2007
“Champions of Tennis”

USTA Florida has been named the USTA Section of the Year by the Racquet Sports Industry
in recognition of the USTA Florida Schools Program

By Kristen Daley

The USTA Florida Section has taken to heart USTA President Jane Brown Grimes’ call to “bring tennis to where the kids are.” The section’s goal is to introduce tennis to both the physical education curriculum and after-school programming in at least one school in each of Florida’s 67 counties, and it continued making strides toward that goal in 2007.

The section’s success is due, in part, to a “School Summit” workshop held the last two years. “The idea was to have a one- or two-day workshop to invite school administrators to learn about the USTA School Tennis initiative, and to go through an in-service training,” says Andy McFarland, the Florida Section’s associate executive director for community tennis.

Florida’s continued dedication to promoting School Tennis is among the reasons it has been named RSI’s USTA Section of the Year - the first two-time winner of a Champions of Tennis award.

“The USTA Florida Section has been a clear leader in the USTA Schools Initiative and has brought tennis to thousands of schoolchildren throughout the state,” says Peter Francesconi, editorial director for Racquet Sports Industry magazine. “In the seven years that RSI has been honoring our Champions of Tennis, the Florida Section is the first repeat winner we’ve ever had, having won our Section of the Year award in 2005, too.”

“The USTA Florida section has done an outstanding job with selling the schools program to the key decision-makers for school districts throughout the state,” says Kirk Anderson, USTA director of Recreational Coaches and Programs. “The idea of the School Summit was very successful and is much more time effective than approaching individual schools with only a few teachers.”

One participant was so impressed, he made sure each of the 350 PE teachers he oversees, representing more 200 schools, was trained in the curriculum.  During 2006 and 2007, nearly 100 schools signed on.

"That was just one splinter of success coming out of our School Summit,” says McFarland.

The section’s success goes beyond the School Tennis initiative. For instance, Florida has been active in hosting Recreational Coaches Workshops—at least eight each year across the state—training potential and existing tennis coaches and leaders to work with large groups of players.

"This is a great honor for USTA Florida and a huge recognition of our USTA school program," says Celia Rehm, USTA Florida president.

RSI (www.racquetsportsindustry.com), the world’s largest magazine geared toward the tennis industry, named winners in 17 total categories for its 2007 Champions of Tennis Awards:

* USTA Section of the Year: Florida
*Person of the Year: George Napier, Prince Sports
* Private Facility of the Year: Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness, Lakewood, Colo.
* Stringer of the Year: Tim Strawn, Roanoke, Va.
* Builder/Contractor of the Year: Sportsline Inc., Villanova, Pa.
* Tennis Sales Rep of the Year: Hunter Hines, Head/Penn Racquet Sports, Marietta, Ga.
* Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of the Year: The Sports Authority, Englewood, Colo.
* Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year: Michael Lynne’s Tennis Shop, Minneapolis, Minn.
* Junior Development Champion of the Year: Craig Jones, Martinez, Ga.
* Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Dan Vonk, Kingsland, Ga.
* Municipal Facility of the Year: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year: Jason Harnett, Mission Viejo, Calif.
* Public Park of the Year: Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Park and Rec
* Community Tennis Association of the Year: Grants Pass (Ore.) CTA
* PTR Member of the Year: Luke Jensen, Syracuse, N.Y.
* USPTA Member of the Year: Mike Van Zutphen, Mesa, Ariz.
* High School Coach of the Year: Marian DeWane, Boise, Idaho

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