Mike Skinner: Giving Back Through Tennis
Tennis became a passion early in Mike Skinner’s life. His parents encouraged him to play and he took to it quickly. One of his early tennis memories was receiving a tennis award from Jack Kramer at a youth tennis clinic in Golden Gate Park. Mike continues his lifelong passion for tennis as the Executive Director for Youth Tennis Advantage.
While at Lowell High School (’65), Mike won the All City High School Doubles Championship, played No. 2 singles and learned how to teach tennis from Don Prince at the Menlo Circus Club. While at Occidental College (’69) in Los Angeles, CA, Mike played No. 1 singles and taught for Don Prince during summer vacations. He met his wife while playing the USTA Men’s 45 National Grass Court Championship in Philadelphia in 1994.
During the 1970s, Mike was
In 1974, Mike met Arthur Ashe at a tournament in Palm Springs. Ashe asked Mike to start a chapter of his new national tennis program called National Junior Tennis League (NJTL). Mike and his close friend, Lloyd Scott, were frustrated by the few tennis options
NJTL SF added programs in San Francisco and Oakland in the
In 2018 YTA celebrated its 50th anniversary. Today YTA runs free, year-round tennis, academic and life skills programs for over 300
Mike credits his strong Board of Directors and the great coaches for YTA’s success and ability to keep its focus on at-risk kids. Celebrities have helped YTA including Robin Williams, Willie Mays, Jack Kramer, and Joe Montana. YTA high school students graduate on time and go on to college, including Harvard and Princeton. “I’m proud we can give back and deeply touch these kids who don’t have the same options most of us take for granted. Our kids stay with us for many years and excel. One of our former students just joined our board. The success of our YTA kids