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USTA Florida 61st Annual Awards Presentation Highlights Tennis Standouts

December 6, 2010 01:13 PM
The 2010 USTA Florida Annual Awards were presented during the 61st annual USTA Florida Annual Meeting and Volunteer Weekend, held on Dec. 3-5, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. The following individuals and organizations were honored during the Saturday awards luncheon presentation, and the Sunday "Breakfast with the Stars":

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Don Cleveland of Delray Beach
"My Cup Runneth Over"
 
WATCH THE VIDEO BIO INTRODUCTION

don-cleveland----hall-of-fame-webOver the course of his life, Don Cleveland has been gifted with many things, including a loving and supportive family that is as zealous about tennis as he is.

Don, who has been making a mark in the tennis community for almost 25 years, has been a longtime supporter of tennis on the national and sectional level. His efforts have been recognized with numerous honors, including the 2007 USTA National Tennis Family of the Year Award, the 1993 and 2007 USTA Florida Tennis Family of the Year Award, the 2004 Father/Son Trabert/Talbert National Sportsmanship Award, and the 2002 USTA Florida Merit Award.

Don first became involved as a sectional volunteer when his son, Casey, took up tennis at the age of eight. In the ensuing years, he has lent his time and talents to an array of USTA Florida councils and committees, starting with his role as a junior tournament monitor and assistant district director. He also has served as District 6 director and as chairman of committees such as Adult Rankings and Adult Sanctions and Scheduling. In addition to serving as a member of the section's Grievance Committee, he spent two years volunteering as national chair of the Men's 55 Ranking Committee and serving on the USTA Florida Executive Board in the positions of treasurer, president elect, and president.

"The love of tennis and strong family values seem to go hand in hand with all of the relationships I have developed with fellow volunteers and staff," Don explained. "I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award and find it extremely rewarding to be able to share my passion for tennis with family and friends."
 
MALE MERIT AWARD

Gary Heatwole of Ormond Beach
"Making Up for Lost Time"
 
WATCH THE VIDEO BIO INTRODUCTION

gary-heatwole-male-merit-award-webIn tennis terms, Gary Heatwole is a late bloomer who has spent the past three-plus decades making up for lost time. After taking up the game at the relatively advanced age of 25, Gary quickly developed a deep and abiding love for tennis, which led to him pursuing both a teaching and umpiring career.

His passion for the game led him to accept a job with the City of Ormond Beach, where he remained for over 32 years, becoming coordinator of tennis at the Ormond Beach Tennis Center in April 1980. In 1984, he began volunteering his time to USTA Florida, working as a verifier for regional, sectional, and national tournaments and eventually becoming head section verifier. As the years passed, Gary was appointed to the USTA NTRP Committee and the USTA Florida League Committee and assisted as a section tournament director and an NTRP observer at various national tournaments.

Getting involved in tennis has been a source of true fulfillment for Gary Heatwole, which is why receiving the 2010 USTA Florida Male Merit Award serves as the proverbial icing on the cake.

FEMALE MERIT AWARD

Linda Kleitch of Naples
"Cockeyed Optimist"
 
WATCH THE VIDEO BIO INTRODUCTION

linda-kleitch----female-merit-award-webGetting results is something that's been a hallmark of Linda Kleitch's USTA Florida volunteer career for more than 25 years. Whether it's been starting a wheelchair tennis program in Fort Myers in 1984 and growing it from 1 to 21 participants in a single year, or expanding the growth of various USTA leagues in Naples, Linda confronts each challenge with unflagging optimism.

Even the challenge of dealing with the protracted global economic downturn hasn't dimmed her enthusiasm, which was evidenced in 2009 when she increased league participation by over 20 percent. Over the years, she has served as a local league coordinator, been a member of the USTA Florida Leagues Council, acted as tournament director of the USTA Florida Super Senior Sectionals, and implemented the 10-and-under QuickStart play format as a pilot program in the county parks with the intent of incorporating QuickStart into all Collier County parks.

"I can only say that I do not do anything I do to achieve awards; I do what I do because I can and am totally committed to the USTA Florida organization," Linda explained. "I live in my little world with an emphasis on being the best person I can be and helping others."

TENNIS FAMILY OF THE YEAR

The Karin and Scott DeCoste Family of Stuart
"Playing Together...Staying Together"
 
WATCH THE VIDEO BIO INTRODUCTION

DeCoste-family-of-the-year-webAfter relocating from Canada to Florida 15 years ago, Karin and Scott DeCoste worked on getting their visas before settling down in Stuart and attaining jobs at the North River Shores Tennis Club, where they have remained for the past 13 years. Karin, who runs the facility, plays on several of the USTA and ladies' teams, while Scott spends numerous hours working as a teaching pro and maintaining the facility.

They are also the proud parents of 8-year-old Myles, 10-year-old Emma, and 12-year-old Colter, all of whom possess a huge love for the game and spend countless hours hanging out at their second home -- the North River Shores Tennis Club. All three children currently compete at the state level and are beginning to showcase their talents on the national and international tennis scene.

What truly instigated their children's interest in the game was Jr. Team Tennis, which mom Karin introduced them to after forming several teams at North River Shores. Because of their affinity for the game, Karin and Scott became coaches and captains and are now local league coordinators. They also raise money for the Hibiscus Children's Center by coordinating a yearly mixed doubles and pro-am charity event that helps raise over $30,000 annually. The DeCoste family is living proof that the "family that plays together stays together."

MEMBER ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR

Jonesville Tennis Center in Gainesville
(Accepting the award, David Porter)
"Overnight Sensation"
 

dave-porter-webMuch like an actor or singer who vaults from obscurity to superstardom in a relatively short period of time, the Jonesville Tennis Center (JTC) exceeded all expectations since opening in April 2009 as a result of a multi-year community effort that resulted in over $500,000 in donations and in-kind contributions.

An American Sports Builder Association award winner for Outstanding Facility in the Outdoor Tennis category, the JTC was built to alleviate the overuse of other facilities as well as to grow the game of tennis in the Alachua County area. During its brief existence, the facility has already hosted numerous USTA league teams and multiple USTA junior tournaments as well as helped promote and facilitate USTA Jr. Team Tennis and the USTA QuickStart program.

In terms of league play, the Jonesville Tennis Center has been a significant supporter, which is evidenced by the fact that in 2010 alone the facility hosted 17 adult league teams, 10 senior league teams, 5 super senior league teams, 12 adult mixed doubles teams, 5 senior mixed doubles teams, 16 combo adult teams, and 2 combo senior teams.

COMMITTEE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Carol Clay of Fort Lauderdale
"Gratitude Is the Best Attitude"
 
WATCH THE VIDEO BIO INTRODUCTION

carol-clay-committee-volunteer-of-the-year-webOver the years, Carol Clay has been involved with the adult and senior tennis scene at the local, sectional, and national level, both as a player and a volunteer. As an on-court competitor, Carol earned the USTA Florida No. 1 ranking in four separate years and received the section's Female Player of the Year Award in 1994 and 2004.

But her accomplishments on the committee level are equally as noteworthy. In addition to serving as a member of the USTA Florida Sanctions and Scheduling Committee and Ranking Committee, she has volunteered her time to the Adult Competitive Committee and organized the women's national intersectional teams, which involves tasks such as selecting captains and players and distributing stipends. Carol, who is a past board member of the National Senior Women's Tennis Association, also is a member of the USTA Adult/Senior Competition Committee, chairs the Women's Circuit Subcommittee, was a national ranker for several years, and currently serves as the seeding assistant for the national Women's 70 division.

On the local level, she has helped coordinate the Men's 45 Clay Courts, the Men's and Women's 30 Clay Courts, and the Checket Cup, in addition to volunteering as a member of the Fort Lauderdale Tennis Club Tennis Committee.

 
USTA Florida Special Categories

MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARD

Robyn George of Fort Myers
"Around the Courts"

robyn-george-webTennis scribe Robyn George has made a career of scampering "around the courts" in Fort Myers to keep tennis aficionados apprised of what's happening on the local racquet scene. Robyn, who has been writing a weekly tennis column for the Fort Myers News-Press since 2001, covers a diverse range of topics that includes everything from local and national tournaments and player profiles to her not-so-triumphant return to the tennis courts after a seven-year absence.

During her prolific writing career, she has also written columns on an array of USTA-related topics such as her local community tennis association receiving a grant and national honor earlier in the year, as well as her odds of winning the Florida sectional qualifying tournament to earn a spot at potentially competing in the US Open in Flushing Meadows.

In 2010, Robyn also interviewed renowned sportscaster Mary Carillo to get her take on the French Open; provided coverage of local teams competing in the 6.0 Super Senior Nationals; and offered her own insight regarding the Australian Open and the Champions for Charity event at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. 

OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR

Thomas Flaherty of Ormond Beach
"Keeping the Peace"

tom-flaherty----official-of-the-year-webAccording to Thomas Flaherty, his role as a tennis official revolves around one simple precept: "The greatest challenge for a tennis official is to keep the juniors from acting like adults, and to keep the adults from acting like juniors," he said.

It's obviously a goal he's been able to meet based on his selection as the 2010 USTA Florida Official of the Year Award. Over the years, Thomas' contributions to the officiating side of tennis have been copious. In addition to serving as a USTA sectional trainer/evaluator, he has spent time working as a line official at the US Open and as a certified national line official at many ATP/WTA professional tournaments.
 
In 2010 alone, he officiated at numerous ITA dual matches, ITA Division I and II tournaments, USTA sectional and national tournaments, and high school events.

In between his busy tournament agenda, Thomas, who has served as treasurer of the Fun Coast Professional Tennis Officials Association for the past eight years, also finds the time to mentor newer officials and share his experiences.
 
USTA Florida Competitive Division Awards

USTA LEAGUE TENNIS COORDINATOR(S) OF THE YEAR

Jeanne Matthews and Sylvie Roy of Tampa
"Terrific Twosome!"
 
jeanne-matthews-sylvie-roy-USTA-league-tennis-coordinators-of-the-year-web
Jeanne Matthews and Sylvie Roy
In February 2009, when Jeanne Matthews and Sylvie Roy were recruited by USTA Florida to become the local league coordinators for the Adult Mixed Doubles and Combo leagues in Hillsborough County, the number of players participating in both leagues totaled 205. As they embarked on their task at hand, which was to promote and grow both leagues, neither Jeanne nor Sylvie could have known what an overwhelming success their efforts would lead to.

By the end of the 2009 season, this dynamic duo helped organize 10 mixed doubles teams and 17 combo teams, totaling 350 players. In 2010, they dreamed even bigger by establishing a new winter season for the mixed doubles league in addition to the summer season and adding a local championship between the winners of both seasons.

The results, as they say, speak for themselves. When the 2010 figures were tabulated, 50 teams featuring 678 players had participated in the two leagues, representing a whopping 330 percent increase over the 2008 participation numbers.
 
AL MILLS MEMORIAL ADULT TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR

Oldsmar Women's Cat. II/Les Grande Dames Spring Cup
"Player Satisfaction Guaranteed"

To ensure a tournament's success and take it from ordinary to extraordinary, it takes the combined efforts of many dedicated individuals ranging from the tournament director to staff and member volunteers. The Oldsmar Women's Cat. II/Les Grande Dames Spring Cup event, held at the East Lake Woodlands Country Club, benefited from a 12-person volunteer committee comprising members that truly took ownership of the event by soliciting additional volunteers and raising $1,450 in cash donations, much of which was used toward providing the $2,070 tournament purse.

In addition to prize money, the players received goody bags overflowing with items such as long-sleeve tournament shirts, protein bars, bandages, pens, toothpaste, emery boards, Biofreeze, and sunscreen spray pens. To keep the players nourished, the tournament provided fresh-baked breakfast items each morning along with coffee, fruit, and juice along with a lavish lunch on the Saturday of the tournament, as well as a festive pasta dinner at the main club on Friday evening.

Each player also received a raffle ticket for such prizes as tennis bags, backpacks, beauty baskets, tennis jewelry, tennis accessories, and gift certificates. When the event concluded, it was indeed a certainty that player satisfaction was guaranteed.

WHEELCHAIR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jeffrey Rush of Clearwater
"The Greatest Risk Is Not Taking One"

jeffrey-rush----wheelchair-player-of-the-year-webDealing with adversity is something all people must contend with at various points in their lives. Sometimes, however, the adversity is much more severe for some than it is for others.

In the case of Jeffrey Rush, who is dealing with the daily toll that multiple sclerosis takes on his body, his love of wheelchair tennis has given him a new outlook on life that is paying dividends both on and off the court. Throughout 2010, Jeffrey racked up a number of trophies, including first-place finishes in the Clearwater Wheelchair Open (singles C division) and Miami Tennis Classic (singles C division) as well as a second-place result in the US Open Wheelchair Championships (B singles division) and a third-place finish in the aforementioned national championships (A doubles division).

With the help of his coach, Robert Carlbo, Jeffrey hopes to become a professional wheelchair tennis player in 2011 while also inspiring other disabled individuals to play wheelchair tennis and "get back in the game." Before becoming involved in wheelchair tennis, Jeffrey's daily regimen involved an unhealthy mix of staying in bed and watching television. Today, his daily agenda includes athletic-related endeavors such as eating right, strength training, stamina building, and on-court strategy sessions, which are activities he thought he would have to forego after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a decade ago.

Through his actions both on and off the court, Jeffrey Rush has poignantly proven that "The greatest risk is not taking one."
 
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kerry Young of Maitland
"I Am Back!"

kerry-young-female-player-of-the-year-webOver the past several decades, Kerry Young has been one of Florida's most durable champions, winning numerous major national singles and doubles titles in age divisions ranging from the 35s to the 60s. But after Kerry had her first knee replacement at the age of 50, her winning ways began to wane.

A second knee replacement, this time on her other knee five years later, caused yet another glitch in her chase to collect additional USTA gold balls. Fortunately, you can't keep a motivated champion like Kerry Young down for long. In 2009, she played a key role in leading her team to the 55 Intersectional National Championships title. In 2010, now fully recovered from her two knee surgeries, a re-energized Kerry helped her team win the USTA 5.0 National Championships while also snaring several sectional and national titles, and soaring to No. 1 in the USTA Florida Women's 60 rankings.

During her amazing 2010 playing campaign, Kerry won both the Les Grandes Dames Spring Cup and the Les Grandes Dames at BallenIsles events, which were held in Florida, without dropping a set. To declare her unqualified return to the top, she also swept both the singles and doubles titles at the USTA National Women's 60 singles and doubles titles. That is why Kerry can proclaim, without hesitation, "I am back!"

MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Reinaldo Valor of Clearwater
"Just Call Me Salami!"

reinaldo-valor----male-player-of-the-year-webIt's interesting that Reinaldo Valor, who's currently the top-ranked player in the USTA Florida Men's 65 singles division, is known by the nickname "Salami." Unlike many people, who have a moniker thrust upon them by others, Reinaldo's is basically self-chosen.

"It began when I was disappointed executing a shot and would call out 'salami' instead of using other language," he explained about his ubiquitous nickname.
 
Thankfully, he's equally renowned for his on-court results, which this year alone have netted him titles at the Raymond James Super Senior Grand Prix at the St. Petersburg Country Club, the West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix at East Lake Woodlands Country Club, and the West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center.

"Tennis has been my passion for over 35 years since I started playing in Argentina," Reinaldo explained. "I have been rewarded physically and mentally just being able to play such an inspiring sport."

BOBBY CURTIS JUNIOR TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR

David Strage Memorial Super Series
(Accepting the award, Jennifer Jackson)
"Brain Tumors Aren't Picky"

jennifer-jackson----bobby-curtis-junior-tournament-of-the-year-webNow in its fifth year, The David Strage Memorial Super Series has raised $15,000 for brain tumor research. Named after David Strage, who died at 42 of an inoperable brain tumor, the tournament has educated participants about brain tumors through awareness off the court and sportsmanship on the court, holding fast to a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior.

Over the years, 600 players, representing 18 countries, have competed in a tournament that brings out a generous and kind spirit in players that is not always visible at tennis' highest competitive level.
 
Because the tournament has a special focus, the gifts it provides its players are equally unique. These include an event shirt that lists famous people who have died of brain tumors, engraved participant medals, and dog tags.

During the tournament, about 35 individuals volunteer from the local community as well as from local high schools. In addition, younger children get involved by coordinating an annual bake sale and donating the proceeds to the event.
 
Thanks to this collaborative spirit, the David Strage Memorial Super Series is this year's well-deserved Bobby Curtis Junior Tournament of the Year honoree.

JUNIOR COMPETITIVE COACH OF THE YEAR

Nick Crowell of Tallahassee
"Hard Work Beats Talent, Until Talent Decides to Work Hard"

nick-crowell----junior-competitive-coach-of-the-year-webWhen Nick Crowell took over the coaching duties of the USTA Florida Boys' 18 Team in 2008, his squad reached the final, losing 4-3 to the Southern California team in heartbreaking fashion, with the final match coming down to a gripping tiebreaker. Fortunately, the universe has a way of paying back those who work hard and persevere.

When the Florida boys contingent returned to the USTA Boys 18s National Team Championship in 2010, fate seemed to play a significant role when the Florida team once again faced Southern California, which had won the national title eight of the past nine years, in the semifinals. This time, revenge was indeed sweet as the Florida squad turned the tables by defeating Southern California 4-3, with a final match tiebreaker again determining the outcome.
 
Buoyed with confidence, and bolstered by Nick's clever coaching, the Florida team went on to win the title, defeating the Midwest section with yet another 4-3 win.

Nick, who has been coaching at Florida State University since 2004 and kept his tennis team consistently ranked in the Top 15 nationally, also helped establish Seminole High Performance Tennis in 2007, which is a program to coach junior players in Tallahassee. Over the past year, the program had three of its players win national tournaments and resulted in five players earning Top 5 USTA Florida rankings.

USTA Florida Community Division Awards

JIMMY GANTT MEMORIAL AWARD

Jason Furlong of Parkland
"Tennis Is My Life"

jason-furlong----jimmy-gantt-memorial-award-webLiving as a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Jason Furlong faced a litany of internal and external obstacles. For example, when he first grasped a pencil in elementary school, the prognosis he was given by the Florida public school system was that he would never write.

Similarly, when he first held a tennis racquet, it seemed the art of hitting a tennis ball would be well beyond his grasp. However, instead of taking the easy way out and running from his challenges, Jason embraced them.
 
Fighting his entire life to be like everyone else, he would often ask, "Why am I different?" Fortunately, those questions abated significantly once Jason discovered tennis in middle school and developed a true passion for it.

Through the art of tennis and his training sessions at the Synergy Tennis Academy in Tamarac, Jason has been able to gain access to a world he never thought he would fit into -- and become complete. Because his hard work has led to him amassing a large collection of tournament trophies and awards, Jason continues to work toward his life's goal of playing professional tennis -- and emulating the accomplishments of his favorite player -- world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

COMMUNITY TENNIS ASSOCIATION (CTA) VOLUNTEER(S) OF THE YEAR

Susie DeMille and Liz C. Kawecki of Amelia Island
"We Are Family"

susie-demille-and-liz-kawecki-CTA-volunteer-of-the-year-web
Sisters Liz Kawecki and Susie DeMille
In the summer of 2010, Susie DeMille, who serves as the Kraft Tennis Partners 10-and-under QuickStart Tennis director, and her sister, Liz Kawecki, were awarded the largest grant in the state of Florida by the USTA for their "Share the Love" Campaign, which introduces children from the ages of 5 to 10 to the "FUN"-damentals of tennis. Because they possess such a passion for junior tennis, Susie and Liz have shared their experience, knowledge, and love of the game with youngsters who may have never had the opportunity to play tennis.

Their crowning achievement was the establishment of a nine-week QuickStart Kids Tennis Camp that is hosted and supported by members of Kraft Tennis Partners, who volunteered their time and assistance to make the program a success. Over 95 children, including 10 who received scholarships from the Boys & Girls Club at the Kraft Athletic Club, participated in the program.

In an attempt to keep the participants involved following the program's conclusion, the duo also established a QuickStart Jr. Team Tennis League in Amelia Island in the fall of 2010. Thanks to these laudable accomplishments, this spectacular "sister act" is a worthy recipient of the CTA Volunteer of the Year Award.

OUTSTANDING DIVERSITY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc., of Orlando
(Accepting the award, Fabriola Gaines)
"Keep Your Diet Straight"

fabriola-gaines----outstanding-diversity-achievement-webChildhood obesity has become a pervasive problem in the United States, which is why the efforts of Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc. are so commendable. The company, which is a community-based, not-for-profit agency, was formed in 1995 to educate high-risk, culturally diverse populations about nutrition strategies to prevent diet-related diseases.

In response to the alarming increase in childhood obesity across the nation, Hebni developed the K.Y.D.S. Take Charge (Keeping Your Diet Straight) Program in 2006 to bring nutrition education and tennis instruction to low-income minority youth in an effort to prevent/reduce childhood obesity, which is on the rise in Orange County. In 2010 they received a USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant to increase the reach of the program in Orlando.

K.Y.D.S. is an after-school and summer program that is offered free of charge and includes cooking demonstrations, weekly tennis lessons and exercise classes, pedometer tracking, food diaries, and regular body-mass-index readings to monitor the children's progress. During the 2009 calendar year, 241 youths participated in the K.Y.D.S. Program, with 82 of them showing increased knowledge and improved behavior toward eating healthier, while 94 percent of participants showed improved tennis skills as tracked by their USTA-certified tennis instructors.

USTA SCHOOL TENNIS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Jane T. Fountain of Deland
"Tennis, Everyone!"

jane-t-foundation-usta-school-tennis-volunteer-of-the-year-webBefore Jane Fountain took over her local USTA Florida schools league, the tennis season lasted a scant eight weeks. Today, thanks to Jane's perseverance and ingenuity, the team is in action approximately 28 weeks each school year.

The team currently participates in three USTA leagues (fall, spring, and the new Volusia County Middle School league). Out of 130 middle school students, at least 25 join tennis each year and dedicate themselves to practicing and playing three days a week. Just how committed is Jane to her cause? Because many parents work, she goes above and beyond the call of duty by personally transporting players to and from matches and/or practices. During the spring season, she oversees four teams with four different match times.

Frequently, Jane arrives for matches around 4:30 p.m. and doesn't get home until after 9:00 in the evening by the time she drives some of the players home. Her efforts have paid huge dividends, resulting in the St. Barnabas Episcopal School earning titles at the 2010 Spring Jr. Team Tennis 14-and-under Intermediate League Championships, the 2009 Fall Jr. Team Tennis 12-and-under Novice League Championships, and the 2008 Spring Jr. Team Tennis 14-and-under Novice League Championships.
 
NATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS LEAGUE (NJTL) CHAPTER LEADER OF THE YEAR

Katie Kreichelt of Jacksonville
"Hakuna Matata...No Worries"

katie-kreichelt-USTA-tennis-njtl-chapter-leader-of-the-year-webKatie Kreichelt, who serves as director of program services for the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation (MWKF), has been involved with the organization in a leadership capacity for more than four years. During that time, Katie has managed all programs for MWKF's after-school and summer camp programs, and served as life skills coordinator.

During her tenure, she played a role in opening the MaliVai Washington Youth Center, which includes eight full courts (six with 60-foot 10-and-under QuickStart play format tennis lines) and three with 36-foot QuickStart tennis courts. Katie has expanded the NJTL program to include a daily after-school and summer camp program and added a home-school program, high school clinics, community clinics for children, and additional outreach programs.

She also is fully responsible for the off-court academic and life-skill programs that MWKF offers. Prior to working for the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, Katie was a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, where she taught English, art, and music classes to local children, ran girls' empowerment classes, and organized annual field days for the village.
 
With all the accomplishments she has achieved on behalf of children worldwide, it's clear that Katie Kreichelt is a worthy recipient of any award that comes her way.

TENNIS ON CAMPUS COORDINATOR OF THE YEAR

Tim Gaccione of Naples
"The Secret to Getting Cooperation Is to Think About Other People's Goals"

tim-giaccione----usta-ttenis-on-campus-coordinator-of-the-year-webIn his role as president of the Florida Gulf Coast University Club (FGCU) Tennis Team, Tim Gaccione has helped lead the organization to greater levels of accomplishment each year. Since its establishment in 2007, the club has grown from a very small entity with players who were just looking for a friendly hit every once in awhile into an extremely accomplished club that competes on a national level.

Priding itself on a competitive spirit based on the tenets of sportsmanship and team unity, the club holds a season kickoff event every September that features free food, drinks, prizes, games, and music, with this year's tournament attracting about 100 participants.

In 2009, the club played a full schedule in the Florida 'Tennis on Campus' series for the first time, qualifying to compete in the national championships. The club also co-hosted the Battle of the Southeastern Regional Championships and will be hosting its very own tournament in early 2011. Based on the aforementioned achievements, it's easy to discern why Tim Gaccione is this year's Tennis on Campus Coordinator of the Year.

USTA JR. TEAM TENNIS LOCAL LEAGUE COORDINATOR OF THE YEAR

Linda Green of Gainesville
"High Hopes"

linda-green----usta-JTT-LLC-of-the-year-webAccording to those who know Linda Green, who serves as area league coordinator of the Gainesville USTA Jr. Team Tennis League, she has done an outstanding job of growing the program thanks to her singular dedication, heart, endurance, skills, and diplomacy. In addition to caring about each child, she works closely with the parents and coaches to ensure that each team has an enjoyably competitive experience at the local level.

Since taking over the league in the summer of 2006, which was on a hiatus for several years, she has increased participation figures each year. In the fall of 2009, there were 175 players comprising 21 teams; in the spring of 2010, that number swelled to 230 players comprising 24 teams. Additionally, teams from the Gainesville league have attended numerous sectional tournaments over the past several years and experienced great success.

As if her volunteer agenda wasn't busy enough, Linda also serves as president of the Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association, which provided funding for a pilot program introducing the 10-and-under QuickStart play format at three local elementary schools during the fall of 2009. Evidence of the program's success was evidenced earlier this summer when two QuickStart teams formed. Regardless of the situation, Linda Green maintains decorum and a level-headedness that ensures a solid solution to each crisis, resulting in a boost for junior tennis in Gainesville and the 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinator of the Year award.

 
 

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