USPTA Annual Awards Announced

NEW YORK – The United States Professional Tennis Association honored tennis-teaching professionals and coaches Friday afternoon during the 2018 USPTA General Membership Meeting at the 2018 Tennis Teachers Conference. The USPTA National Awards program is conducted annually and nominations are submitted by the 17 divisions and by individuals. Recipients in each awards category are decided by the USPTA's awards committee.

Below are the award winners:

USPTA Hall of Fame Inductees
The late Jimmy Evert and Kathy Woods were both inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame.  The USPTA Hall of Fame is the association’s highest honor and serves as a place to recognize excellence in the tennis profession and commitment to USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals. The award was renamed in honor of the late Tim Heckler, who served as the CEO of the USPTA for 30 years, from 1982-2012.

President’s Paul Waldman Award
Yue Wang (Beijing) was honored with the President’s Paul Waldman Award, making him the 12th recipient of this award. This award is given by the USPTA President for lifetime achievement as a member of the association. Wang was instrumental in creating the USPTA China Division, which currently boasts 328 USPTA professionals in good standing.

Alex Gordon Professional of the Year
Mark Faber (Toledo, Ohio) received the Alex Gordon Professional of the Year, the associations top annual award that recognizes a member who, over a calendar year, has demonstrated exemplary achievement in seven areas, including: USPTA, allied organizations, club achievements, career development, volunteerism, coaching achievements and playing achievements. Faber has been a USPTA member for 25 years, is the director of tennis at Twos Athletic Club in Toledo, Ohio and is currently a vice president on the USPTA national board of directors. He has been a no-cut high school coach for 24 years, has spoken at USTA, USPTA and high school divisional and national education events and is involved locally, sectionally, divisionally and nationally on committees and boards.  He also gives his time for charitable causes such at the American Cancer Society, Zepf Center and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award
Ron Woods (Corpus Christi, Texas) received the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award which 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.  Woods, a USPTA Master Professional, has been a member of the Association for 51 years along with being on the USPTA national board of directors for 13 years serving as president from 2005 - 2007. He attended the University of Houston on a tennis scholarship, was the director of tennis at the Corpus Christi Country Club from 1970 to 2001, and then went on to serve as the executive director for the USPTA Texas Division until 2008.  Along with his USPTA membership, he has been a USTA member for his entire tennis playing career and has been a local, section and national volunteer for over 30 years with the organization.

USTA/USPTA Community Service Award
Tim Blenkiron (Las Vegas) was recognized as the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award for his contributions to the USPTA, USTA, and the tennis community. The Community Service Award is a cooperative award presented annually by the United States Tennis Association as part of the USPTA’s awards program.  The award recognizes a USPTA member for exceptional community service through the game of tennis.

USPTA Star Award
Lisa Pugliese (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) was named the USPTA Star Award recipient for her work with her company, Love Serving Autism. The USPTA Star award recognizes members whose commitments to grassroots tennis have made indelible impressions on their communities. These members, through their tennis teaching and volunteer spirit, have increased the opportunities for others to participate in tennis. Her organization has provided tennis classes to 250 children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders for charter schools and community-based tennis centers.

Top Education Credit Earner for 2017
Doug Eng (Medford, Massachusetts) was named the Top Education Credit Earner for 2017 after earning an outstanding number of education credits as part of the USPTA Career Development Program.

USPTA Diversity Award
Angelica Flores LaGrange (Palmhurst, Texas) and Ryan Segelke (Denver) were named the recipients of the USPTA Diversity Award for demonstrating an outstanding ability to unite diverse populations within their community through tennis. LaGrange introduced tennis to residents of Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in which the population is predominately Hispanic and also introduced tennis to the elementary schools of Pharr San Juan ISD and Sharyland ISD, coordinated play days in conjunction with USTA to introduce tennis to the youth, planned events with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Tennis Team to fundraise for the team, and is  currently working with private donor to build a tennis center for UTRGV and the community.

Segelke is the business development director for the HAT Fund in Denver, Colorado and the CEO of High Altitude Tennis, which provides tennis instruction to youth throughout the Denver-metro region. High Altitude Tennis partners with The HAT Fund to host summer camps, after-school programming, and provide tennis instruction to a partner program in Kampala, Uganda; where more than 350 students have participated in group and individual lessons, more than 150 students have participated in summer camp, more than 100 students have participated in after-school enrichment, and more than 100 students and coaches have participated in Uganda.

USPTA Lessons for Life Award
Brett Hall (Salem, Oregon) and Matthew Hanlin (McKinney, Texas) were both recipients of the USPTA Lessons for Life Award for raising money for their respective charities by utilizing unique and creative tennis events.  Hall hosted The New Mexico Texas Shootout Team Tennis Tournament from 2013-2017, which was a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The tournament offered both men’s and women’s doubles and a team format consisting of six players on a team playing 41-point matches. The event raised over $60,000 in five years with $17,000 being raised in 2017 and all the proceeds went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Hanlin created the Rally for Houston event after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, to help several families in the flood zone that might also be involved in tennis. In two short weeks he created, organized, and executed an amazing evening of tennis for the local community. Rally for Houston featured four local ATP pros, three Davis Cup players, a massive auction, a local exhibition between two rival clubs, an ATP exhibition between the ATP pros, food, raffles, and even a chance for all the spectators to play against the ATP players. The event raised $10,000 for Houston families, which was given to the USTA to distribute among the victims in the Houston area.

High School Coach of the Year Award
Todd Rubinstein (Miami) was named High School Coach of the Year for his efforts in leading the boys and girl’s tennis teams at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning High School in Miami to regionals. He led the boys’ team to a 16-4 overall record, including a third consecutive district championship and led the girls’ team to a 14-6 overall record, including a third consecutive district finalist and a doubles state semi-finalist showing during the 2017 tennis season. He has brought back the school’s first two and only state championship titles and has captured more than 400 career wins.

Steve Wilkinson College Coach of the Year Award

Gregory Prudhomme (Glendale, Arizona) was named the Steve Wilkinson College Coach of the Year for his efforts as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Grand Canyon University. He led the men’s team to 15-10 record while the girls posted a 11-6 record and captured the conference championship for the second time in three years.

Industry Excellence Award
Dave Howell (Virginia Beach, Virginia) received the Industry Excellence Award for advancing the game of tennis throughout his community. The USPTA honors those professionals with this award that develop unique special events, programs, and/or equipment, services or an idea to promote tennis and thereby increase player participation in the sport. Howell is the creator of the Universal Tennis Rating.

Tester of the Year Award

Patricio Misitrano (Wilton, Connecticut) received the Tester of the Year Award in recognition for his efforts in advancing USPTA certification opportunities throughout the community. Misitrano hosted three tests that included 31 new applicants and 13 upgrades last along with increasing the number of new applicants tested in the New England Division by 91 percent.

Tim Gullkison Touring Coach of the Year Award

Carlos Di Laura (Austin) received the Tim Gullkison Touring Coach of the Year which recognizes a member that currently coach a playing professional on the ATP World Tour or the WTA Tour and/or touring juniors and/or adult teams. Di Laura was the coach of Nevin Arimilli, who will play for the University of Texas at Austin in the fall.  He also has coached ATP World Tour players such as Luis Horna, Ivan Miranda, and Rodolfo Rake.

USPTA U30 Award

Rebekah Noll (Lynchburg, Virginia) received the USPTA U30 Award which honors a USPTA professional under the age of 30. Noll become a director of tennis at the age of 23 and has been helping to grow the sport of tennis and make the city of Lynchburg, Virginia a more active area for tennis players to compete.

Small Facility Manager of the Year Award
Jerod Becton (Lubbock, Texas) was named the Small Facility Manager of the Year. The USPTA Small Facility Manager of the Year Award is awarded to a general manager of a country club, commercial tennis facility, public tennis center, resort or similar facility general managers of a club or a tennis facility that has fewer than 10 tennis courts and a community size under 500,000. Becton is the general manager of the Lubbock Country Club, is a member-owned country club with an 18-hole golf course, pool, and eight tennis courts that boasts 985 members. He graduated from Texas Tech University and started his career in the private club industry and worked for Club Corp for 18 years before working for Arnold Palmer Golf Management for six years.

Large Facility Manager of the Year Award
Michael Mahoney (Chicago) received the Large Facility Manager of the Year Award. The Large Facility Manager of the Year is awarded to a general manager of a country club, commercial tennis facility, public tennis center, resort or similar facility that has more than 10 tennis courts and has a community size above 500,000.  Mahoney has been a part of the legacy that is Midtown Athletic Clubs for nearly 40 years. Serving as both senior vice president for the company and the general manager of the flagship Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago, Mahoney oversees the day-to-day business management at the Chicago location.

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.


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