USPTA Honors the Leaders in Tennis

October 6, 2010

The United States Professional Tennis Association recognized those who stand out and go above and beyond in all aspects of the tennis industry, from tennis coaches to players to volunteers during its annual national awards breakfast today at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis. USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, is hosting its annual World Conference Sept. 27 – Oct. 2 at La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, Calif.

Randy Snow of Terrell, Texas, became part of an elite group as a grand inductee into the USPTA’s Hall of Fame. Snow, who was inducted posthumously, was a world-class athlete and innovator in the wheelchair industry who gave his time to sharing the game of tennis.

Ron Woods of Corpus Christi, Texas, received the association’s top annual member award, the Alex Gordon Award for the USPTA Professional of the Year. Woods has been involved in tennis for more than 45 years and has been a USPTA member for 44 years.

Paul Garron of Auburn, Calif., is the recipient of the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award. He has been teaching tennis for more than 24 years and his efforts to grow tennis in his community include implementing adopt-a-school resources to provide tennis in local elementary P.E. classes and offer a tennis field trip on two different days for another local middle school. He is the director of tennis at Rollingwood Racquet Club in Fair Oaks, Calif.

Emily Schaefer of Houston is the director of tennis for Houston Parks and Recreation, and has made significant contributions to tennis in Houston, especially with the HTA/NJTL program that started with 3,500 kids in 2002 and now has more than 6,000 registrants and 60,000 participants overall. Her work in the Houston tennis community is what earned her the USPTA Industry Excellence Award, recognizing business acumen and a charitable attitude. The award is sponsored by the Tennis Industry Association and supported by Tennis Tutor ball machines.

Ken Sumrow of Plano, Texas, received the Lessons for Life Individual Award for his fundraising efforts as the founder of the Children Helping Children Junior Singles event, benefitting the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

Ron Woods of Corpus Christi, Texas, received the Tennis Across America Individual Award, for his efforts over the last 20 years hosting a USPTA day of free tennis lessons at the HEB Tennis Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Rod Heckelman of San Rafael, Calif., received the Facility Manager of the Year Award. Heckelman is the general manager and guest pro at Mount Tam Racquet Club in Larkspur, Calif.

The USPTA National Awards program is conducted annually. Nominations are submitted by the 17 divisions and by individuals. Recipients in each awards category are decided by the USPTA’s awards committee.

Biographies of the award recipients follow.

Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers more than 65 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development. With more than 300 days of educational opportunities throughout the year, USPTA offers the most comprehensive continuing education program in the tennis industry. For more information, call 800-877-8248 or visit