TI Publisher, TIA Prez Jeff Williams Named USTA Eastern Man of Year
January 30, 2018
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Jan. 28, 2018) – Jeff Williams, president of the Tennis Industry Association and publisher of Tennis Industry magazine, was awarded the prestigious 2017 Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year Award by USTA Eastern at its Annual Awards Dinner on Jan. 27. Williams was recognized for his sustained involvement in growing the game through his pioneering, entrepreneurial pursuits and leadership over several decades that have made significant contributions to the sport locally, nationally and internationally.
“This sport has been an incredible driver for me,” Williams said. “I was this little kid from a little farm town, and tennis helped build up my self-esteem while teaching me many important life lessons, including how to deal with adversity and perform under pressure. There are breakpoints in life and in business when the pressure seems unbearable, and tennis gave me the fortitude to get through life’s pressure points.”
Growing up on a strawberry farm in the Florida town of Plant City, 25 miles east of Tampa, Williams fell in love with tennis before developing into a decent junior player. He began selling advertising for the trade magazine Tennis Industry shortly after graduating from the University of Florida, and by 1985 he had become owner, publisher and editor of the publication. Among the magazine’s audience of nearly 20,000 are tennis specialty shops, department store buyers, sporting goods stores, tennis clubs, resorts and colleges. The monthly publication is also distributed to members of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), and the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association (USRSA).
“Jeff Williams has a long history serving, and contributing to, the Eastern section,” said Jenny Schnitzer, executive director and chief operations officer, USTA Eastern. “He has inspired a culture of excellence and innovation that has strengthen the American tennis industry, which is enjoying unprecedented growth.”
A member of the TIA Board of Directors since 1990, Williams began serving as TIA president in 2016. The TIA’s Board of Directors voted in December 2017 to reappoint Williams as the ongoing TIA president and staff member in a new and expanded capacity — Williams is the first on-staff president since Jim Baugh, who held the position 10 years ago. The newly created role has allowed Williams to further focus on the industry’s specific challenges and opportunities by working closely with TIA staff and industry partners.
Williams has been an active member of numerous tennis organizations, including the USTA, USTA Eastern and ASBA, an organization that awarded him its Industry Merit Award in 1999. He served as USTA Eastern vice president in 2009 and 2010, and then as the section’s president in 2011 and 2012. He began his first term on the USTA Board of Directors in 2013, serving as the chair of the Strategic and Creative Planning Committee and the board liaison to the Opportunity Council. He also serves on the board of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
“We have come to a pivotal point in American tennis,” Williams said. “And the next generation of players is critical to our future. What [USTA Community Tennis Chief Executive] Craig Morris and his team are trying to accomplish with the Net Generation brand will help us develop a new junior base of American players. I am proud of the work that I and others have done to lay a strong foundation that will support the growth that we are anticipating and all striving for.”
Meanwhile, in addition to his continued role as publisher of Tennis Industry, Williams serves as publisher of Tennis magazine and Tennis.com, a role he took in 2001 when the print and online properties were owned by what would later become known as Tennis Media Company (TMC). Williams became a Managing Partner at TMC in 2014, and he was one of the driving forces behind the March 2017 acquisition of Tennis Magazine, Tennis.com and Tennis Industry by Tennis Channel.
“Becoming part of the Tennis Channel family allowed us to combine the three most powerful consumer brands in our sport: Tennis Channel, Tennis Magazine and Tennis.com,” Williams said. “We have begun to create the kind of integrated media and marketing powerhouse that will continue to enrich content for our highly coveted tennis enthusiasts globally, which will ultimately grow the sport of tennis.”