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USTA Florida August 2009 Volunteer of the Month -- Wilson Dean

August 5, 2009 07:00 AM
You'll have to excuse Wilson Dean if, in his excitement, he lists under his volunteer "recent achievements or success stories" the birth of his first child, Dawson Hill Dean, who arrived a little over a week ago. The proud father has also made a large contribution to the Tallahassee tennis community, giving back over the last year as a volunteer tennis coach and instructor for juniors and special needs populations.

Outside of family, tennis and music are the main obsessions of the commercial real estate developer who gives of his time in keeping tennis fun for local juniors of all abilities and skill levels.

Dean, who plays out of both Forest Meadows and the Capital City Country Club, has long been involved in volunteering of some sort or another, but only last year took to volunteering his teaching skills in the tennis community. A former high-level junior player, he recorded numerous wins over opponents who went on to compete at the top Division I schools and on the pro tour.

His junior experience lends itself to coaching youngsters who he sympathizes with in their sometimes-frustrating quest to reach the next level or generally better their games.

"I would like to think I have a very goofy/casual approach and teaching style, but to the point, that keeps the kids laughter level high," Dean says. "I always try and make the kids feel like they can do each skill, and do it well, even if it takes them multiple tries. You have to do it with them. It's hot and can be frustrating at times, and this helps keep them focused. Tennis is a challenging sport."

Dean also volunteers tennis lessons for players training for the Florida Special Olympics, working with players of all skill levels.

"I have been working with the Special Olympians with (fellow coach) Kelly Tucker now for about 10 months," Dean said. "We coached them to the State Games this year which took place in Orlando."

Dean finds that keeping the "fun" in tennis can be equally as important as perfecting that one shot.

"We also try and do a lot of fun games to keep the interest level high," Dean says. "Keeping them smiling does so much more sometimes then getting the actual skill perfected. There is so much more to the game of tennis, and so much more you can get out of it, than just winners down the line."

A 4.5-level player in local USTA leagues, Dean is also completing the requirements for PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) license certification, while performing in his Southern Rock band, The Wilson Dean Band which plays across North Florida.

"My day job is running my commercial real estate development company," Dean says. "Tennis and music are my passions."

Dean (right) with Special Olympics players

Birthplace: Tallahassee, Florida
Family Members: wife Brittany, son Dawson Hill Dean, parents Marilyn and Bob Dean, brother Carlton Dean, wife April and their son Baker
Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It
Favorite Food(s): steak and fish, breakfast foods
Favorite Travel Spot: Blue Mountain Beach, or any beach
Favorite Tennis Stroke/Shot: forehand

My earliest tennis memory was..."playing at the beach every summer on our family beach week with my Uncle Bob. He died of a heart attack in '92."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."Johnny Mac (John McEnroe), I like his style, Pete Sampras or Fed (Roger Federer)."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."spending time with my wonderful wife and two dogs, usually at the beach or playing music with my band."

Best ever tennis memory..."beating a top-ranked player in juniors who then went on to turn pro."

I like to volunteer in tennis because..."I love the sport and love to see smiles on the kids faces. Tennis teaches so many different skills and is still very challenging to me everyday."





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