George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Dave Porter - Provo, Utah

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Dave Porter from Provo, Utah (Intermountain Division).
Porter started the BYU-Hawaii men’s tennis program in 1984 and later took over the women’s team in 1992. With 1,438 career victories, Dave is the winningest coach in collegiate tennis history. Dave was awarded the ITA National Coach of the Year six times and named as district, regional or conference coach of the year more than 30 times. Dave coached the Chinese women’s doubles team to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, as well as the doubles champions at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006.
Porter has been one of the paramount leaders in the USPTA educational program and played an integral role in designing the way tennis is taught in the modern day. Also, he was instrumental in introducing the USPTA to China by conducting USPTA testing clinics in the country.
“Dave’s collegiate coaching career over 33 years is not only prolific but unparalleled. Couple that with the testing that he has done both internationally and in the USA for the USPTA, bringing people into our association, and he embodies what the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award is all about,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Dave Porter (Provo, UT)

Alex Gordon Professional of the Year

Simon Paek - Fullerton, California

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Alex Gordon Professional of the Year Award to Simon Paek from Fullerton, Calif., (Southern California Division).
The USPTA Elite Professional has been a mainstay in the tennis community in Southern California for more than 30 years and counting. Paek exudes passion and energy as a USPTA coach developer for both tennis and pickleball certifications, mentors countless young professionals and implements grassroots efforts to grow the USPTA image in the tennis and pickleball communities.
Paek has spoken at many conferences, as well as traveled abroad to Asia to present on topics including pickleball, tennis stringing, high performance and working with seniors. The Pro of the Year also has a huge spot in his heart for diversity and inclusion, especially when it comes to bringing USPTA to his homeland of South Korea. He has been instrumental, along with his mentor Don Henson, in certifying dozens of Korean tennis professionals into the USPTA. As busy as Simon is with his responsibilities, he still finds time to give back to his local community through hosting charity events.
Some of Simon’s recent recognitions include being awarded the USPTA George Bacso Coach Developer of the Year in 2022. He was named one of the 2023 Champions of Pickleball (USPTA Pickleball Member of the Year) in the national publication Racquet Sports Industry. Plus, this year, Simon was named the USPTA Southern California Division Don Henson Professional of the Year.
“Simon has been involved with the leadership in SoCal on and off for two decades. But the Alex Gordon Pro of the Year Award is a recognition for what Simon has accomplished over the past 12 months. With his coach developer work on both the tennis and pickleball side plus his work as the regional VP for the SoCal division, he is deserving of this award,” said USPTA CEO John Embree.

National Awards

Simon Paek (Fullerton, CA)

President’s Paul Waldman Award

Ellen Weatherford  - National Staff

The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 President’s Paul Waldman Award to Ellen Weatherford from our USPTA National Staff. Ellen serves as USPTA National's Controller and has been a pillar at headquarters for 29 years. During that time, she has made numerous outstanding and significant contributions to the USPTA. In appreciation of her dedicated service to the USPTA, the association’s President Rich Slivocka presented Ellen with the President’s Paul Waldman Award.

The Paul Waldman Award was created in 2014 after the passing of long time USPTA general counsel, Paul Waldman, and is given at the discretion of the USPTA President. Paul served the association for more than 40 years and this award in his name is intended to recognize a USPTA volunteer or staff member for magnanimous service that is often done behind the scenes without fanfare or notoriety. In 2014, the first award was given to Paul Waldman’s wife as a thank you for all that Paul did on behalf of our membership. In Ellen’s case, she was bestowed the award for her positive attitude, tireless work, wisdom and support of the history of the organization. She’s the light that makes the USPTA shine bright. Thank you, Ellen, for your dedication and service to the USPTA. .

National Awards

Ellen Weatherford (National Staff)

Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year Award

Bruce Lipka - Rockville, Md

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year to USPTA Master Professional Bruce Lipka of Rockville, Md. (Mid-Atlantic Division).
Lipka is a former ATP Player and an ATP, WTA and collegiate coach. Lipka works with several WTA Tour doubles players and has coached Erin Routliffe to a career-high WTA doubles ranking of No. 29. Erin was the 2022 Citi Open champion, made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the third round of the French Open. Lipka also coached Ingrid Neel to the second round at Wimbledon with a first-round upset over the 12th seeded team of multi-grand-slam winners Stosur and Chan.
“Bruce has been a true leader in the USPTA, not only in the Mid-Atlantic division but across the country. Under the tutelage of the great Bill Tym, Bruce learned how to coach high-performance players and has made a difference in the lives of the players he has coached,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Bruce Lipka (Rockville, MD)

Steve Wilkinson College Coach of the Year Award

Chad Berryhill - San Antonio, Florida

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to name Chad Berryhill of San Antonio, Fla. (Florida Division), the 2023 USPTA Steve Wilkinson College Coach of the Year.
Berryhill is the Saint Leo University men’s and women’s tennis head coach. He earned the 2023 Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year (Men), the 2022 ITA National Coach of the Year (Women) and also took home his 400th career victory as a head coach. His men’s team won the ITA National Indoor Championship and his women’s team finished as runner-up. The men's team was ranked No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks and the women's team was ranked as high as No. 2 and no lower than No. 4.
Berryhill is active in the community, running UTR events, free clinics and faculty, staff and student play days.
“We’re proud of Chad’s continuous efforts to grow tennis through the work he does with his students and in his community,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Chad Berryhill (San Antonio, FL)

Laurie Martin High School Coach of the Year Award

Tony Cherone - Memphis, Tennessee 

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to name Tony Cherone from Memphis, TN, (Southern Division) the 2023 Laurie Martin High School Coach of the Year.
Cherone coached the Collierville High School boys’ tennis team to their first state championship in school history in 2022, finishing with a record of 24 wins and just two losses. The team repeated as state champions in 2023. The girls’ team won 22 games and lost only 4, making it to their state’s final four. Collierville players also won the state singles and doubles individual titles in 2022. Cherone’s Collierville Middle School teams have taken home six state championship divisions across the last two years.
“Tony’s success as tennis director for the town of Collierville and his impact on his students’ lives serves as an example

National Awards

Tony Cherone (Memphis, TN)

Large Facility Manager of the Year Award

Don Emery - Naples, Florida

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to name Don Emery from Naples, Fla. (Florida Division), the 2023 USPTA Large Facility Manager of the Year.
Hospitality industry leader Don Emery became general manager of Grey Oaks Country Club in 2021. He implemented a strategic financial and capital plan, branded GO FORWARD 2026, which included an impressive racquets center expansion that added capacity for both tennis and pickleball. This expansion, which officially opened in December 2022, was in response to emerging trends in racquet sports, increased member demand and the need to remain competitive within the regional and national country club space. Since the grand opening of the new racquet sports center complex, pickleball and tennis visits have increased by over 150% and 35%, respectively. Lesson revenue has increased by 25% and enrollment in clinics and team activities has skyrocketed by 40%. Since his tenure began, Don has hired three USPTA certified professionals and ensures they’re able to attend USPTA educational seminars and conferences on a regular basis.
“I first met Don when he was the GM of the Riveria CC in Los Angeles when the club hosted the USPTA SoCal divisional conference many years ago. Always a supporter of USPTA education and certification, he not only won the Large Facility Manager of the Year for the USPTA Florida Division this year, but he can now claim the same award nationally. We appreciate what Don has done to promote racquet sports and the USPTA at Grey Oaks CC,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Don Emery (Naples, FL)

Small Facility Manager of the Year Award

Bill Fletcher - Salem, Oregon

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to name Bill Fletcher of Salem, Ore. (Pacific Northwest Division), the 2023 USPTA Small Facility Manager of the Year.
As the Salem Tennis and Swim Club’s director of tennis and owner, Fletcher has increased the club’s community involvement, developed diverse program offerings and significantly grew membership in 2022. Fletcher’s club hosted several charitable events, focusing on causes such as breast cancer, Alzheimer's and leukemia. The club hosted two high school district championships, served as the workout center for Willamette University's tennis programs and crafted strong promotion for pickleball and Universal Tennis Rating events. Salem Tennis and Swim Club’s dedication to charity, partnerships with educational institutions, promotion of emerging sports and commitment to innovation and growth made a substantial impact on both the club and the larger community.
“Bill’s club has had such a positive impact on tennis in both his local community and across the PNW division. Not only that, but Bill has also served in every leadership capacity within the division multiple times. He truly cares about the sport, and he is committed to delivering a terrific experience to his customers,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Bill Fletcher (Salem, OR)

Industry Excellence Award

Kelly Marshall - Austin, Texas

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Industry Excellence Award to Kelly Marshall of Austin, Texas (Texas Division), and name her a USPTA Master Professional.
Becoming a USPTA Master Professional is the highest rating achievable by a tennis professional. Qualified applicants must hold an Elite Professional rating for 10 years, complete the required number of education hours and fulfill a broad spectrum of industry service. The Master Professional Committee makes the final decision on the review of applicants.
Marshall’s leadership and creative programming as the director of racket sports have made a Texas-sized difference at Onion Creek Club. Through charitable events like Serving Up a Cure, The Pink Pickleball Tournament more, Marshall reinvigorated the racquets program in her community and surrounding area. Marshall helped raise $8,000 during a new fundraiser, Let’s Pickle for LLS, in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She also offered low-cost junior tennis events and a program called "Active U" that introduces tennis and pickleball to beginners.

National Awards

Kelly Marshall (Austin, TX)

George Bacso Coach Developer of the Year Award

Dominique Lemperle - Naples, Florida

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to name Dominique Lemperle of Naples, Fla. (Florida Division), the 2023 USPTA George Bacso Coach Developer of the Year.
Lemperle is the pickleball head coach developer for the USPTA Florida Division. In 2022, she held 15 pickleball events throughout the Sunshine State and certified 65 USPTA members in pickleball. She was selected for this award based on the number of certifications she conducted and her positive attitude, along with the energy and knowledge she brings to the certification pathway and workshops. Lemperle is the director of sports courts at Esplanade Golf & Country Club, where she manages an active program of 450 pickleball players.
“Dominique has embraced her role as the head coach developer for pickleball in the Florida Division,” USPTA CEO John Embree said. “As the USPTA developed its own pickleball certification pathway for its membership, Dominique jumped on the bandwagon early, realizing that so many of our professionals in Florida were needing certification."

National Awards

Dominique Lemperle (Naples, FL)

USPTA Elevate Award

Billy Kim - Los Angeles, CA

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Elevate Award to Billy Kim of Los Angeles, Calif. (SoCal Division).
Billy is active on-court, often utilizing social media to engage his students and help them track their progress. Off the court, he donates much of his time and energy to his Korean community. In 2022, he helped organize the inaugural Korean Unification Tennis Tournament, bringing awareness to the thousands of Koreans displaced by the Korean War. Billy’s infectious, genuine and caring attitude toward his students, his personal growth in tennis education and his dedication to growing the sport makes him the perfect for the award that recognizes the achievements of USPTA certified professionals with five or fewer years of service.
“Billy’s dedication to tennis-teaching and volunteerism make us honored to have him as part of our association,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Billy Kim (Los Angeles, CA)

USPTA Star Award

Marcus Rutsche - Johns Creek, GA

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Star Award to Marcus Rutsche of Johns Creek, Ga. (Southern Division).
As director of racquet sports at the Country Club of Roswell, Rutsche plays an integral role as the tournament director for the club’s annual Charity Tennis Pro/AM Invita􀆟onal. Last year, through their 44th event, he helped raise more than $75,000. This enabled the Country Club of Roswell to make large contribu􀆟ons to both Special Pops Tennis and StandUp for Kids. This award-winning tournament has raised more than $1 million for local chari􀆟es since its incep􀆟on. In 2022, the club was able to make dona􀆟ons to Camp Horizon and Goizueta Alzheimer's Research Center.
USPTA endorsee Tennis Warehouse sponsored the Star Award for the second year. To honor this year’s recipient, Tennis Warehouse is donating 50 pairs of tennis shoes on Rutsche’s behalf to Special Pops Tennis in Atlanta. Special Pops enriches the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities by offering an adaptive program specifically designed to share the lifetime sport of tennis.
“Marcus’s ideas and work have clearly had a huge impact on his community, and he is so deserving of the USPTA Star Award for his efforts,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Marcus Rutsche (Johns Creek, GA)

Bob Ryland Diversity Award

Jim Amick - New Philadelphia, Ohio

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USPTA Bob Ryland Diversity Award to Jim Amick from New Philadelphia, Ohio (Midwest Division).
As the United States Tennis Association Midwest Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lead, Jim planned, organized and implemented DE&I initiatives throughout 2022 that demonstrated his ability to unite diverse populations through tennis. Last year, these initiatives had an impact on nearly 10,000 players that included people of different races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations. Some of the ways USTA Midwest engaged these groups included a two-day diversity summit, Pride Night at the Western and Southern Open, diverse staffing support and program grants, meet-up events and Play Tennis Midwest, an initiative where 97 events were held to engage new adult and junior players that focused on diverse participants.
“Jim has been growing the game for all communities for decades,” USPTA CEO John Embree said. “It is only fitting that the USPTA bestows the Bob Ryland Diversity Award on him this year for the tremendous effort he has produced to make tennis more accessible to players across the entire spectrum.”

National Awards

Jim Amick (New Philadelphia, OH)

USTA/USPTA Community Service Award

Gonzo Garcia - Boulder, Colorado

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to present the 2023 USTA/USPTA Community Service Award to Gonzo Garcia of Boulder, Colo. (Intermountain Division).
Garcia has been a member of the USPTA for 20 Years. He has spent much of his time influencing players in public parks across Colorado. The USPTA Professional developed a program in Boulder that has a strong identity and is consistent. Gonzo also founded the Gonzo Tennis Academy, where its game-based tennis program focuses on the development of players of all ages. In 2022, Garcia coached Michelle Zhang, the Special Olympics gold medalist.
“Gonzo’s dedication to growing tennis across his community is an enormous gift to our sport,” USPTA CEO John Embree said.


National Awards

Gonzo Garcia (Boulder, CO)

Top Education Credit Earner

Michael Friedman - Highland Park, IL

The United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. (USPTA) is proud to recognize Michael Friedman of Highland Park, Ill. (Midwest Division), as the 2022 USPTA Top Education Credit Earner.
This is the fifth year in a row that Friedman has won this honor. In 2022, he earned an impressive 409 credits. Over the past five years combined, he’s submitted a total of 2,207 education credits.
“Michael has been a successful high school tennis coach in Illinois for years, which by itself is incredibly time consuming. Nonetheless, he somehow finds the time to be one of the top education earners each year. I don’t know how he does it!” USPTA CEO John Embree said.

National Awards

Michael Friedman (Highland Park, IL)