ITHF presents awards

March 22, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the 2011 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards on Saturday, March 17 during the International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif. Long-time USTA and tennis industry leader Lucy S. Garvin of Greer, S.C. received the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award. The Tennis Educational Merit Award was presented to celebrated tennis coach, trainer, and educator Butch Staples of Bluffton, S.C.; wheelchair tennis trainer and expert Lynn Bender of Zeeland, Mich.; and strength and conditioning expert Dr. Mark Kovacs of Atlanta, Ga.

“We are very pleased to recognize these individuals, and we are grateful for the tremendous contributions they have made to tennis over the years,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “Very much in the spirit of Samuel Hardy, Lucy has donated countless hours toward the growth of the sport, ranging from her invaluable leadership of the US Open to her dedication to 10 & Under Tennis. Butch has engaged countless young people in the game and helped them to utilize tennis to create opportunities, while Lynn’s work within the wheelchair tennis community has made the sport more accessible to everyone. Dr. Kovacs’ dedication to strength and conditioning has helped players, ranging from amateurs to elite pros, to play tennis in a healthy, safe manner, which undoubtedly improves and lengthens their tennis careers. These awards are an expression of appreciation for all the work that they have done to grow tennis and to provide opportunities for so many in the game we all love and work to improve every day.”

The Samuel Hardy Award is presented annually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame to a volunteer of the USTA in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport of tennis. The award was established in 1953 in memory of Hardy, who served on various USTA committees in his lifetime. The award was established to honor USTA volunteers who exemplify Hardy’s dedication and loyalty to the sport of tennis.

The Tennis Educational Merit award is given annually to individual(s) who are United States citizens and have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level. Award winners have repeatedly demonstrated leadership and creative skills in tennis instruction, writing, organization, and promotion of the game of tennis.

Lucy S. Garvin has served on the USTA Board of Directors for the past 11 years, and she completed a two-year term as chairman of the board and president in 2010. In 1975 she began working within the tennis industry at a facility in Greenville, S.C. and established a consulting business for the management and marketing of tennis facilities throughout the South. From a volunteer, Lucy ascended to president of the USTA Southern Section, and she was inducted into the USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. She received USTA Southern’s Jacobs Bowl Award in 1999 and the South Carolina President’s Award in 1998. In 1996, the South Carolina Tennis Association established the Lucy Garvin Volunteer of the Year Award in her honor, and she was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the governor of South Carolina, which is the highest award given for an individual’s civic contributions. During her term as USTA president, Garvin oversaw two of the most successful US Opens in history, as well the implementation of 10 & Under Tennis. She implemented a Strategic Vision Committee for the future of the BJK USTA National Tennis Center and hosted the 2010 International Tennis Federation (ITF) Annual General Meeting in Washington, D.C. While president, Lucy was elected to the ITF’s Board of Directors, on which she currently serves. She is also the chairman of the ITF Junior Competitions Committee and is a member of the ITF’s Development Advisers Group. She remains on the Board of USTA Serves as well as the Board of the National Public Parks Tennis Association. Garvin was elected to the board of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008.

In addition to his long career as the former head pro at Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago Butch Staples also has an extensive background in education, having taught elementary and secondary physical education, as well as having served as a tennis and basketball coach at McGill University in Montreal for 10 years. Staples is currently, co-owner-operator of a tennis club in Bluffton, S.C. While at Midtown Chicago, Staples led a team of 34 professionals, helped build one of the largest indoor tennis programs in the country and was instrumental in developing the model for 10 & Under Tennis programming. Staples is a PTR Master Professional, a USPTA Professional 1 and a Tennis Canada certified coach. From 1982-89, he was chairman of Tennis Canada’s Coach and Instructor Development Committee. He has been a USTA RCW and 10 & Under Tennis trainer since the inception of these programs and he is currently a member of the USTA Trainer Development Team. He was named USTA Trainer of the Year in both 2006 and 2009. In recent years Staples has been recognized for his industry involvement by being honored as the 2009 USPTA Midwest Pro of the Year, 2009 PTR Clinician of the Year, and 2010 PTR Pro of the Year. As a result of his work in youth tennis and his application of scientific principles in his teaching, Staples was awarded the 2009 USOC “Doc” Counsilman Science Award. Also, he was a co-recipient of the 2010 RSI Junior Tennis Champion Award.

Mark Kovacs, Ph.D., FACSM, CSCS has committed his career to improving tennis coaches, players, and administrators through evidence-based educational initiatives focused on improving performance and health and preventing injuries. Kovacs was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion at Auburn University. After playing professionally, he pursued his graduate work at Auburn University and earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from The University of Alabama. Kovacs is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a certified tennis coach. He is currently the assistant editor-in-chief of the Strength and Conditioning Journal and sits on the editorial board of numerous scientific journals. He has published five books including Dynamic Stretching, Tennis Anatomy, and Tennis Training: Enhancing On-Court Performance. He has also produced more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles and abstracts. Kovacs has been the recipient of the Editorial Excellence Award for his work with the Strength and Conditioning Journal and the Plagenhoef Award for sport science achievement. Along with his academic and scientific accomplishments, he continues to be on court training top junior and professional tennis players. He has spent the last four years working with USTA Player Development, helping to develop the next generation of great American players.

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring its greatest champions and contributors. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 220 people from 19 countries. For additional information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, visit or call 401-849-3990.