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July VOM - Norm Ott

July 1, 2008 10:08 AM

Birthplace: Allentown, PA
Family Members Include:  Wife, Ruth Ann, sons Kurt, Kevin and daughter Kathy Ann
Favorite Movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Favorite Food: Turkish food
Favorite Travel Spot: Turkey - lived in Istanbul for three years and have traveled there four times since leaving in 1980
Favorite Tennis Stroke/Shot: Overhead - love to blast that ball!


“If you ever need anybody to do anything, I will consider doing it,” Norm Ott said back in 2004 to Jacqui Brunton, USTA Florida Director of League Tennis.  “Ten minutes later, I was the new league coordinator.”  Thanks to Norm’s organizational savvy, he has grown the adult and senior men’s and women’s Combo League from 26 teams and 290 players by the end of his first year in 2004 to an unbelievable 949 players in 2007.  His incredible sense of creativity accompanied with his welcoming personality and passion for tennis have earned him the USTA Florida Section July Volunteer of the Month.

“I really had no expectations whatsoever and didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Ott on the growth of the Combo League in Region 3.  “I would love to see the league grow more and more or definitely stay where it is.”

Norm gets players involved in USTA League Tennis simply because he has always enjoyed playing in leagues.  Although starting the sport a little late at 50 years old, Norm has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time with his wife, Ruth Ann (USTA Florida Region League Coordinator), since moving to St. Petersburg in 1988 and volunteering for the organization in 2004.  He has been a team captain for nearly 10 years, played league tennis for 12 years, served as Combo Doubles League Coordinator for four years, worked as a USTA League Tennis tournament director and created two new additions to the league program. 

He created a “FUN” league in St. Petersburg for working women which grew to 100 players in its first year and spearheaded a Super 70’s tournament in March which consisted of 10 teams with a total of 77 players statewide from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Smyrna Beach, Sarasota, Naples and Bradenton.  Norm has already received calls for next year’s Super 70’s Invitational.

Last year, Norm and Ruth Ann were recognized as USTA League Tennis Coordinators of the Year by USTA Florida at its 2007 Annual Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation Weekend.

“I am retired so I don’t have to do this, but it’s enjoyable and has been fun,” Ott said.  “I like to volunteer in tennis because you meet nice people and they appreciate what you accomplish in helping the leagues be fun.”

Nicknamed “Storming Norman” because it is almost destined to rain at League Section Championships when he is tournament director, Norm finds a sense on accomplishment in doing it all.

“The USTA Florida league department is lucky to have Norm.  He is very innovative, passionate and creative about keeping people involved, getting people playing and growing tennis in the community,” said Brunton.  “On a personal note, he is extremely funny, great to work with and a cool kind of a guy; however, backing cars out of a garage is not his forte as he has a tendency to lose side view mirrors!”

Lucky for Norm, that is something USTA Florida will never ask of him.

More about Norm:

My earliest tennis memory was…Getting beat 6-0; 6-0 my first time on the court.
 
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be…Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic
 
Best ever tennis memory…Beating the same guy who initially beat me 6-0; 6-0. 

 

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