Coronado’s Ben Press Receives USPTA Lifetime Achievement Award
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.
– Ben Press was honored with the 2016 George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Press who passed away Friday, Sept. 9, was posthumously recognized during the annual awards ceremony at the USPTA World Conference at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
This award was developed to honor individuals who set the highest standards in volunteerism on behalf of tennis teachers.
Press was a USPTA Master Professional and had been in the San Diego area coaching scene for more than 65 years. He was one of the original USPTA members in the San Diego division and taught more than 10,000 people to play tennis.
As a player, Press began as an All-American at UCLA and played against some of the greats including Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Gonzales and Tony Trabert, to name a few. His career included wins at the La Jolla Championships in 1949 and 1951. In addition, Press won three USTA Senior National mixed doubles titles with Jeanne Doyle Garrett in 1970, 1973, 1974, and represented the United States against Canada four times for the Gordon Trophy.
His contributions to tennis are immeasurable. As a coach, he worked with San Diego’s two Wimbledon champions, Maureen Connolly Brinker, the first woman to win the Grand Slam, and Karen Hantz Susman, winner of three Wimbledon titles; one singles and two doubles with Billie Jean King. He was also responsible for coaching Brian Teacher to an Australian Open singles title and Steve Avoyer, who won the 18 & Under title at Kalamazoo.
Over the course of more than six decades, Press was head pro at several prominent tennis facilities, including 17 years at the Kona Kai Resort and 28 years at the Hotel del Coronado, where he was pro from 1977 until the demolition of the hotel’s tennis courts in 2005. He then later became head pro at the Mission Bay Hilton San Diego.
Along with his successful tennis and teaching career, Press co-founded the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council, an organization that provides and funds for the improvement and refurbishment of public tennis court facilities in San Diego. He is the published writer of several tennis publications and author of the book, “100 Years of Tennis at the Hotel del Coronado.” He also invented the Scepter Racquet, which was one of the first commercial graphite tennis racquets.
Press served as the USPTA San Diego Division president and vice president and on several USPTA committees, including awards, public relations and testing. He also served on the board of the Southern California Tennis Association, the San Diego District Tennis Association, and as the president of The Greater San Diego City Tennis Council. He had received many honors, including the 2011 USPTA President’s Award, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award of the USPTA San Diego Division, and the 2005 USTA/USPTA Community Service Award, and he was a 2010 inductee into the USTA Southern California Senior Hall of Fame.
About the USPTA
Founded in 1927, the USPTA is the global leader in tennis-teacher certification and professional development. With more than 14,000 members worldwide, the association raises the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and promotes a greater awareness of the sport.