USPTA Awards open for nominations

November 24, 2015

HOUSTON – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is now accepting nominations for its 2016 National Awards Program. As the leader in tennis-teacher education and certification, each year the USPTA honors members who are committed to excellence as tennis teachers and as ambassadors using tennis to impact people and communities.

This year the awards period has moved to a calendar year, and the nominating period has been moved up to accommodate the new schedule. The awards period for 2016 is from January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. All Professional-level members are eligible. USPTA is accepting nominations until the Feb. 28 deadline. These changes were made to allow the Awards Committee more time to review applications and give award recipients more time to make travel arrangements to accept their awards in person. Recipients will be recognized during the USPTA World Conference, Sept. 25-29, at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif.

In addition, the USPTA will no longer recognize Players of the Year based off of USPTA player rankings. Instead, winners of the USPTA Masters Invitational will be awarded during a ceremony after the completion of the tournament.

The awards categories are as follows:

The Alex Gordon Award for Professional of the Year recognizes a member who, over a career, has demonstrated exemplary achievement in seven areas, including: contributions to USPTA and USTA; as a teaching professional, player and coach; in education, research and publications; and with other organizations, achievements and contributions.

USPTA Stars are members who have dedicated many years to volunteering in grassroots tennis and through initiatives incorporating multicultural and other aspects and bring the sport and sportsmanship to the players they touch. Their giving spirits have made them stars in their own communities. We may not have heard of the people who receive this award, but their stories are inspiring, and almost all of us know at least one person who deserves a nomination.

The USPTA Industry Excellence Award is given to teaching professionals who take both an altruistic and entrepreneurial attitude toward their jobs. They use their own resources and those offered by the industry to build programs that bring tennis to more people. At the same time, they are successful in growing a tennis business. The recipient of this award will receive a $1,000 grant from the Tennis Industry Association and a Tennis Tutor ball machine from Sports Tutor for use in his or her grassroots programs.

Steve Wilkinson College Coach of the Year and High School Coach of the Year award recipients are usually selected based on their results as team coaches, however, individual coaches may be considered.

The Awards Committee voted to rename the College Coach of the Year award was named after Steve Wilkinson, a USPTA Hall of Fame inductee who retired in 2009 after 39 years as the head coach at Gustavus Adolphus College’s men’s tennis program, where he was the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories.

The Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year is selected on the basis of his or her work with a playing professional on the ATP World Tour or the WTA Tour and/or touring juniors.

The George Bacso Tester of the Year award recognizes the USPTA tester who does the most to advance certification opportunities and the certification process.

The USPTA Lessons for Life™ Award recognizes those USPTA members who have done the most to raise money for charities through tennis events. While the award spotlights individuals who have raised large amounts of money, it also honors those hosting the most creative, original or unique tennis event to raise money for charities. An individual hosting an event raising the most money will not necessarily receive this award.

The USPTA U30 Award recognizes a USPTA member under the age of 30 who, through their tennis-teaching and volunteer spirit, has increased opportunities for others to participate in tennis. This member exemplifies and emphasizes individual achievement and sportsmanship along with teaching the physical attributes of the sport. This member has served the USPTA in one capacity or another, and has made a commitment to grassroots tennis and an indelible impression on her community.

The USPTA Diversity Award recognizes those USPTA members who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to unite diverse populations within their community through tennis.

The only USPTA award available to nonmembers is for Manager of the Year, Large and Small Facility. Applicants/nominees must be the general manager (in function, if not in title) of a club or tennis facility.

Award nomination forms and guidelines are available at or by sending a request to [email protected]. Since changes have been made to some individual categories, as well as Division of the Year criteria, please be sure to read the general rules and requirements for each award carefully. Also there are changes to the awards format and presentation at the conference, so please note that while all awards will be announced in writing at the conference, not all awards will be presented formally as they have in the past.