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Clearwater Tennis Organizers Host Black Coaches & Administrators Meeting

July 8, 2010 03:10 PM
BCA tennis coaches and participantsThe USTA Florida Section, City of Clearwater Sports & Recreation Department and the Suncoast Tennis Foundation organized and hosted the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) Youth Sports Development Clinic on June 5, 2010, in Clearwater, with tennis held at the Coachman Ridge city courts. The sports clinic was free and designed to promote healthy living, sport participation, and foster interaction between members of the BCA and youth ages 8-13. 

The event included QuickStart Tennis clinics for local children who received backpacks, tennis balls and other equipment. Participants also discussed diversity in tennis and moving forward in partnerships between the various local, state and national tennis organizations.
BCA coaches and participants
"I was so pleased to be a part of this wonderful event and help introduce tennis to so many deserving children," said Judy Foster, executive director of the Suncoast Tennis Foundation. "It was a day filled with smiles, laughter and lots of warm feelings and hugs. I was proud to represent USTA Florida and the Suncoast Tennis Foundation and know the BCA greatly appreciated our assistance in making the tennis clinic a real success. Hopefully we can all work together again in the future."

USTA Florida Diversity Committee Council Member J. Webb Horton, assistant athletic director and head coach of the Florida Gulf Coast University men's tennis program, also organized the event and was instrumental years back in getting tennis on the radar of the Black Coaches Association.

"I went six years ago to my first BCA meeting in Indianapolis, and we talked about how we should really have tennis as a part of it," Horton said. "So five years ago we did the first one in Miami, and we worked with the community tennis association there in Miami and had a phenomenal group of 50 kids that first year."
QuickStart Tennis
Horton said working with Clearwater and USTA Florida was a positive experience that could be repeated next year, as the 2011 BCA annual meeting date and location is yet to be determined.

"We worked with Judy Foster in the Clearwater area, and with [USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator] Shelly Licorish who helped us organize and get the kids there," Horton said. "We had QuickStart with a group of kids on two courts, and on another two courts we had kids who had played some before. We had a total of 45 kids this year."

An active proponent of diversity in tennis on both the coaching and player side, Horton is working behind the scenes to bring the many different tennis acronyms together in an effort to jointly move tennis opportunities in the same direction.

"With the BCA and the USTA we're just really trying to spread the word about tennis and we've had a real good working relationship," Horton said. "We're also trying to extend this relationship to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association [ITA], because to get these three groups to function together will help tennis. We're looking at some ways of maybe at the ITA Coaches Convention in December to bring in some minority coaches early on and have them do some collaborations with college coaches. For example at the Midwest section, when they have their minority coaches convention in May, one of the panelists was Kevin Clayton, who is the USTA national diversity director. So there was a great opportunity to expose minority tennis teachers and some professional teaches, because many of them didn't know what the BCA was. They were able to ask Kevin Clayton some direct questions about what's going on relative to diversity in the USTA. It was a great opportunity, and Kevin Clayton I think has been getting out and spreading the word about diversity, and getting it moving in the right direction in inclusiveness with the USTA."

The Black Coaches & Administrators is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is "to foster the growth and development of ethnic minorities at all levels of sports both nationally and internationally." The BCA was formed in 1988 as the Black Coaches Association, when the football and basketball African American coaching groups merged and extended their work to coaches in all sports.

 
 

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