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Gainesville's Banes Named USTA Florida December Volunteer of the Month

December 1, 2012 04:24 PM
baines-webGainesville's Kevin Banes shows the same enthusiasm today for assisting youngsters with 10 and Under Tennis as he did three years ago as the then-18-year-old pro shop assistant at the Jonesville Tennis Center.
 
"Bobbie Mehan [Jonesville's 10 and Under Tennis organizer] introduced match play in Gainesville, and she needed help getting the program up and running, and I happened to be free that afternoon," Banes said. "Now we have over 40 kids showing up each Sunday at various clubs around Gainesville. We have really grown the program, hosting Play Days and league play."
 
Banes has been part of the exceptional growth of the Jonesville Tennis Center since its construction in 2009, and its contribution to the booming number of 10-and-under and Jr. Team Tennis players in the area. Since the advent of the Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville youth have been annual state title winners in 10 and Under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis competition, also advancing to the national Jr. Team Tennis competitions.
 
Banes' hand in supporting 10 and Under Tennis at the center also resulted in the JTC last year receiving the national 2011 USTA Outstanding Facility Award, and the 2011 Featured Facility Award, presented to the one facility (among those chosen to receive the USTA Outstanding Facility Award) that recognizes the facility as an early adopter of the 10 and Under Tennis format.
 
"I have also helped with Jr. Team Tennis leagues and end-of-season parties," Banes said. His contributions to program success has not been limited to juniors, as he has also assisted at the JTC with USTA Florida's "2.5 F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast" initiative to bring former players back to the game, and assisting with the club hosting its first USTA Pro Circuit event in 2012.
 
"Because of the size of the facility, Jonesville has the ability to bring some very cool events to town that we wouldn't normally be so lucky to have," he said. "Hosting the women's pro tournament in the fall was really cool and fun to see some great tennis."
 
Jonesville Tennis Director Dave Porter says he has watched Banes grow into his current role.
 
"I started teaching Kevin when he started tennis and I taught his parents well before that," Porter says. "He's matured into a very caring young adult. Gainesville tennis is lucky to have Kevin, who has been an instrumental part of Jonesville's success and growing tennis in Gainesville. He's always available to help, the list is endless. I'm very proud of him and his accomplishments."
 
As a former USTA Jr. Team Tennis player and now an adult leagues player, Banes wants to share the same pathway he found to enjoying the "sport of a lifetime."
 
"I started playing tennis at age 15, and started to work at a local club when I was in high school," he said. "Ever since then, I've never put my racket down. I am happy I can play the same sport for the rest of my life!"
 
USTA Florida congratulates Kevin Banes as the 2012 December Volunteer of the Month for his contributions to growing junior tennis in the Gainesville area, and spreading the love for the sport of a lifetime.
 
ABOUT KEVIN
 
Birthplace: Gainesville, Fla.
Family Members: Mother and father who both play league tennis
Favorite Movie: Anchorman
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Travel: New York City
Favorite Shot: Backhand return
 
My earliest tennis memory was..."hitting on the wall at Westside Park as a kid."
 
If I could play tennis with two people, they would be..."Roger Federer and Pete Sampras."
 
When I am not playing tennis I am..."helping with TAUT."
 
My best-ever tennis memory is..."going to the US Open."
 
I like to volunteer in tennis because..."I enjoy the game and helping others become involved and enjoy it too."
 
 
 
 
 
 

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