Racquet Sports Industry Magazine Names 2021 ‘Champions of Tennis’
December 10, 2021
Toni Wiley of Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center is the magazine’s “Person of the Year” and USTA Southern Executive Director John Callen receives RSI’s inaugural “Lifetime Achievement Award,” while individuals and organizations from across the country are recognized in 24 additional categories.
NEW YORK, NY (Dec. 10, 2021) — Toni Wiley, the CEO of the award-winning Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester, Mass., has been named “Person of the Year” for 2021 by Racquet Sports Industry magazine in the publication’s January 2022 issue. In addition, John Callen, the longtime executive director of the USTA Southern Section who is set to retire at the end of January, has been named the inaugural recipient of the magazine’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his many contributions to the tennis world.
Both Wiley and Callen led off the magazine’s 21st annual “Champions of Tennis Awards,” which honor people, businesses and organizations dedicated to improving the sport and business of tennis.
Wiley joined the nonprofit Sportsmen’s as a consultant and board member in 2007 and “fell in love with the club’s mission and potential to do so much good in the community,” she says. She became executive director in 2008 and now, the year-round tennis center, with seven outdoor and seven indoor tennis courts, provides academic, wellness and social development programs alongside recreational and competitive tennis instruction for more than 400 adult members and 5,000 juniors.
Founded in 1961, Sportsmen’s earned the distinction as the first nonprofit indoor tennis club built by and for the African-American community. Earlier this month, it was named the 2021 National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter of the Year by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), and Wiley herself was awarded the 2019 Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award, one of the USTA’s highest honors.
Callen, of Johns Creek, Ga., has been the executive director of USTA Southern, the organization’s largest section, for the past 32 years. Under his leadership, Southern has been at the forefront of growing grassroots tennis, including fostering USTA League expansion; Junior Team Tennis formation and growth; and hosting an array of junior and adult tournaments throughout the section’s nine states. During his tenure, the section’s USTA membership skyrocketed to 187,000, representing about 25 percent of total national membership.
Callen also has been the executive director of the Southern Tennis Foundation (STF), and he oversaw approximately $5 million going to NJTL programs, junior tournament players and college students. This year, he was honored by the STF with two $30,000 scholarship funds in his name. “I know how much you’ve impacted the Southern Section,” former Southern President and current USTA President Michael McNulty told Callen on a Zoom call announcing the scholarships in November. “You’ve done it for 32 years, and we are all better because of it.”
“Toni Wiley and John Callen are two truly amazing people in this industry, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring to light in our Champions of Tennis issue some of the things they’ve done and continue to do to move this sport forward,” said Racquet Sports Industry Editor Peter Francesconi.
In addition to its Person of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards, Racquet Sports Industry also named winners in 24 other categories for its 2021 Champions of Tennis Awards (see the January 2022 Racquet Sports Industry digital edition at www.tennisindustrymag.com for more on these winners):
Racquet Sports Industry (formerly Tennis Industry), the largest racquet sports trade magazine in the world, has been covering the tennis business and the sport for 50 years. Available in both print and digital editions, RSI is the official publication of the Tennis Industry Association, U.S. Racquet Stringers Association and American Sports Builders Association. Visit www.tennisindustrymag.com.