USPTA recognizes industry leaders

August 26, 2014

NEW YORK — The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) honored those who stand out and go above and beyond in all aspects of the tennis industry at the Tennis Teachers Conference on Saturday evening. USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, recognized tennis coaches, industry leaders and volunteers during its annual national awards presentation at the Grand Hyatt New York.

Randy Mattingley (Kingwood, Texas) received the USPTA Alex Gordon Professional of the Year Award, the association’s top annual member award. A USPTA Master Professional with more than 36 years of tennis experience, Mattingley has contributed to the USPTA for decades, through several positions on the USPTA National Board of Directors and the USPTA Texas Division Board of Directors. He is also a two-time USPTA Texas Professional of the Year.

Husband and wife duo Tim and Mareen “Peanut” Louie Harper (San Francisco, Calif.) received the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award for their contributions to their community through tennis, presented annually by the United States Tennis Association as part of the USPTA’s awards program. Tim, a USPTA Recreational Coach, and Peanut, a former WTA World No. 19 touring pro, founded Harper for Kids in 2008 with the mission to provide children with educational opportunities and enrichment programs based on the philosophy of UCLA coach John Wooden and his Pyramid of Success. The organization combines these programs with tennis activities to foster leadership skills and promote healthy character development for children.

Paul Waldman became the first recipient of the USPTA President’s Paul Waldman Award. For his 40 years of service as the USPTA’s general counsel, this award was renamed in Paul Waldman’s memory after he died earlier this year. Waldman graduated from Columbia College, where he played on the tennis team. He received his L.L.B. from Columbia Law School and practiced law in Tarrytown, N.Y. He was made a USPTA Honorary member in 2003. Waldman’s wife, Polly, accepted the award on his behalf.

In recognition of his business acumen and advancing the sport of tennis in his community, Jeff Rothstein (Pine Brook, N.J.) received the USPTA’s Industry Excellence Award, which recognizes members who increase tennis activity in their communities. This award is sponsored by the Tennis Industry Association, and Rothstein will receive a $1,000 grant from the TIA and a Tennis Tutor ball machine from Sports Tutor for use in his programs. As the Executive Regional Director of Junior Tennis Development and Programming at Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham, New Jersey, Rothstein grew the 10 and Under Tennis program to more than 850 unique players since 2009. He also increased pro shop sales by 35 percent and raised $14,000 for Academy Cares in the last year. Rothstein has volunteered with the USTA Eastern section, USTA Eastern/NJ region, USTA National Junior Competition Committee and USPTA Eastern.

Kevin Clark (Austin, Texas) was awarded the USPTA Star Award for his work with children in the underserved population of Central Texas. Clark founded and continues to run “Set 2 Serve,” which teaches life skills through tennis. More than 120 children have received instruction and tennis equipment since 2000 while having a safe place to play the sport.

Bill Riddle (Nolensville, Tenn.) is the recipient of the individual Lessons for Life Award for his work helping to raise more than $1.6 million for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Riddle has served as the Co-Chairman and Tournament Director for the past 10 years of the Music City Tennis Invitational, a tennis tournament that benefits the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Child Development Center. In 2014 alone, the fundraiser donated $105,000 to the center.

Jason Holland (Portland, Texas) was recognized for his efforts to increase tennis participation in his community by being named the recipient of the Tennis Across America Individual Award. A national USTA Gold Ball Winner in mixed doubles, Holland hosted a free tennis clinic and an exhibition doubles tournament for all ages, held in conjunction with “Party @ the Net” to benefit the Tennis Success Foundation.

Christopher Tran (Vienna, Va.) received the association’s Diversity Award for his ability to unite diverse populations within his community through tennis. Tran founded the Vietnamese-American Junior Tennis Association in 1990 to give junior tennis players of various backgrounds a place to play tennis. Nearly 90 percent of the juniors are of differing nationalities. He also serves as Diversity Chair for the USPTA Mid-Atlantic Division and manages the Citi Open Kids Day.

Nick Saviano (Boca Raton, Fla.) was this year’s recipient of the Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year award. The USPTA Master Professional has more than 29 years of coaching top 50 ATP and WTA players and owns his own tennis academy, Saviano High Performance Tennis. This year, he coached Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the finals at Wimbledon in 2014, then became the highest-ranked Canadian in WTA history at No. 7. The honor is his second; he first earned this award in 1993.

After leading both of his teams to state titles, Clete Browder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) was named the High School Coach of the Year. As head coach for boy’s and girl’s tennis teams at Tuscaloosa Academy, Browder led both teams to undefeated seasons and state championships in the largest division in Alabama. He also coached the boy’s and girl’s Tuscaloosa Area Spring Sport MVPs this season.

This year, two college coaches were recognized as College Coach of the Year: Peter Smith (Los Angeles, Calif.) and John-Paul “Dash” Connell (Tyler, Texas). With Smith at the helm, the University of Southern California men’s tennis team earned a No. 1 ranking and its fifth NCAA Division I Team Championship in six years. He also coached the Pac-12 Conference Singles and Doubles Players of the Year.

After leading the Tyler Junior College’s men’s and women’s programs to national championships in 2013, Connell coached both programs to regional championships and runners-up finishes in 2014. He also led multiple players to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships finals.

Kyle LaCroix (Boca Raton, Fla.) was named the George Bacso Tester of the Year. LaCroix is the head tennis professional and director of marketing and membership communications at The Oaks at Boca Raton. He is a committee member for the “Under 30” Initiative for the USPTA Florida Division and a board member for the USPTA National College Curriculum Committee.

Larry Savvides (Boca Raton, Fla.) was named the Facility Manager of the Year, Small Facility. Savvides has been the General Manager of Mizner Country Club for three years. Under his leadership, Mizner won both the Distinguished Gold Club of the World Award and an America’s Healthiest Club National Award. His club promotes tennis through free clinics and round robins, and all tennis professionals are USPTA-certified.

C.J. “Joe” Bendy, Jr. (Houston, Texas) was named the Facility Manager of the Year, Large Facility. Bendy has been the COO and General Manager of River Oaks Country Club for 12 years, and last year developed a $42 million capital construction project. He also coordinated the lease and purchase of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, and invests $100,000 annually in staff training and development programs.

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

2014 USPTA Annual Awards


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