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Midwest

Awards

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Each year the Midwest Section enjoys selecting its spring-time award winners; individuals and organizations dedicated to growing, developing and servicing the sport of tennis at every level of the game.

We are thrilled to see more and more people participating in tennis, and we're grateful to our honorees who will receive these awards. It is their contributions that make our sport more fun and accessible to everyone.

Any individual may nominate a Midwest Section member or organization for an award; submission forms can be submitted through the online form here. The deadline to submit nominations has passed.

 


Spring awards:


Cap Leighton – Teaching Professional Award
Recognizes the tennis teaching professional who contributes to tennis in his or her community beyond his livelihood.  This person gives freely in promoting involvement in tennis for players of all levels and ages, and assists in developing tennis programs and promoting participation. ADVERTISEMENT Read more about Harry A. Leighton, the award's namesake, below.

Community Tennis Association Award
Recognizes outstanding service rendered in the community served, and in the growth and development of the sport of tennis.

Frank Dowling – Outstanding Umpire Award
Recognizes an individual who has displayed outstanding attributes as a tennis official in the Section for at least five years.

Helen Shockley – Junior Female Player Award
Recognizes an outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division female player from the Section for the highest standards of tennis accomplishments, character, conduct, sportsmanship and amateurism. Read more about Helen Shockley, the award's namesake, below.

League Volunteer Award
This award recognizes a USTA League volunteer that has provided leadership and has made a significant contribution to the growth and enhancement of USTA League play within their District and the USTA Midwest.

NJTL Chapter Award
This award recognizes the outstanding NJTL Chapter in the USTA Midwest that has demonstrated continued excellence in recreational tennis. The USTA Midwest NJTL of the Year criteria includes quality of on-court programming, quality of off-court programming, interaction with the local parks and recreation departments, and contributions to the local community.

Organization of the Year Award
Established in 1981 and presented annually by each Section to recognize outstanding service by a Member Organization its members and to the game of tennis.

The Bender Family Wheelchair Performance Award
The Bender Family encompasses the dedication and true desire to develop the game of wheelchair tennis. This award recognizes a volunteer, wheelchair player, teaching professional, or coach who has made outstanding contributions and has demonstrated excellence in the sport of wheelchair tennis. The recipient has shown evidence of dedication to improving, advancing, and promoting wheelchair tennis in their community with the USTA Midwest. Read more about the Bender family, the award's namesake, below.

Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. – Junior Male Player Award
Recognizes an outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division male player from the Section for the highest standards of tennis accomplishments, character, conduct, sportsmanship and amateurismRead more about Wallace Holzman, Sr., the award's namesake, below.


General awards open for nominations:


USTA/Midwest Tennis and Education Foundation – Heart for Community: The Margaret Ruemanapp MTEF District Award

This award recognizes a USTA/Midwest District Executive Director who exemplifies Margaret Ruemanpp’s innovative, inclusive spirit and her commitment to growing the game of tennis for entry-level youth players with an emphasis on serving those with disabilities, from underserved communities, and or those economically disadvantaged.

Anyone can nominate an ED, and the monetary award of $1,000 will be paid out to the District.

 

CLICK HERE to submit a nomination.

 

 


 

Some of our awards are named after prestigious players from the Midwest. Read more about their backgrounds below.

 

Cap Leighton – Teaching Professional Award

Harry A. Leighton (DOB, unknown – 1966): Harry “Cap” Leighton was a well-known Chicago Teaching Professional and player who wanted to change the level of tennis in his community. Cap coached at Senn High School and the River Forest Tennis Club in Chicago, Illinois. He was also part of the staff at DePaul University and spent time coaching at the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana as well. Cap wrote and contributed to multiple books and literature regarding tennis instruction in the 1940s and 1950s. Coach Leighton developed instructions for beginners and was an earlier adopter of age-based instruction and competition. Cap divided different age groups (15 to 18-and under) to junior players so they can compete in their own level by increasing three groups (14, 16, and 18 and under). This gave the junior players a better opportunity to play against their own size.

 

Helen Shockley – Junior Female Player Award

Helen (nee Fulton) Shockley (1914 – 1983): Helen Shockley won the National Girls' 18 Singles title in 1932 and was ranked number one in the country for Girls 18s. She also won the Canadian National Junior Championship. In 1936, she was ranked sixteenth in the United States. Helen was a 1937 graduate of the Northwestern University School of Music, and later became known as Chicago's "First Lady of Tennis.” She organized events in the Chicago-area for more than 40 years and is responsible for the feed-in consolation that she developed and introduced in 1962; she also developed the Chicago Junior Excellence Programs. Shockley served as the Executive Director of the Chicago District Tennis Association and served on several United States Tennis Association committees. She was inducted into the Chicago Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

Bender Family – Performance Wheelchair Award

Lynn Bender (1971 – ) and Curt Bender (1962 – ): Lynn and Curt Bender from Western Michigan have been passionate volunteers with the USTA since 2000. Lynn embraced the wheelchair tennis coaching and teaching components and then met her husband, Curt. Curt Bender has been a wheelchair tennis athlete and advocate since 1992. Curt and Lynn’s experience includes running the Grand Rapids program and an ITF/USTA sanctioned tournament for 13 years. Their son Jaden has grown up around the sport, active on and off the courts growing the game as a player and instructor. In 2014, the Benders won the USTA Western Michigan Family of the Year Award. The Bender Family encompasses the dedication and true desire to develop the game of wheelchair tennis. This award recognizes a volunteer, wheelchair player, teaching professional, or coach who has made outstanding contributions and has demonstrated excellence in the sport of wheelchair tennis. The recipient has shown evidence of dedication to improving, advancing, and promoting wheelchair tennis in their community with the USTA Midwest.

 

Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. – Junior Male Player Award

Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. (1903 – 1967): Born in 1903 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wallace Holzman, Sr. was a successful business executive who was instrumental in running the Junior Davis Cup for the Western Tennis Association (now USTA Midwest) with Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Famer Tom Price. Mr. Wallace’s twin sons (Wallace “Wally” R. Holzman, Jr. and Robert Holzman) went on to become nationally ranked junior tennis players. The Holzman Family personally knew Cincinnati tennis legends Tony Trabert and Bill Talbert, and they were neighbors who frequently played tennis with Michigan’s NCAA Champion Barry McKay. Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. passed away unexpectedly in 1967. His son, Wally, presented the National Junior Davis Cup in his dad’s honor in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1968.

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