Long Island League Coordinator Kathy Miller Retires

Scott Sode | April 07, 2022

After more than 35 years leading USTA Leagues on Long Island, longtime Adult League Coordinator Kathy Miller has announced that she will step down from her position this April to enjoy retirement. Throughout her tenure in the role, Kathy has single-handedly managed multiple moving parts and shepherded the program through many iterations over decades. She is unquestionably the face of the USTA Leagues operation in the region.


Kathy had just begun working for the Carefree Racquet Club in North Merrick, N.Y. when the USTA Long Island board approached her about handling USTA Leagues logistics for the area as an extracurricular activity of sorts. Back then, the gig was an independent contractor position and the program itself was “called the Michelob League,” Kathy says with a laugh. It was 1986 and only five years removed from the program’s debut, with around 500 players total competing under Kathy’s purview. 


“It was much smaller and much more social back then,” Kathy recalls. “It was nice to watch people meeting each other [through tennis]. I’d be working at Carefree, so I’d see people come in to play League matches. After they finished playing each other [officially for Leagues], they’d come back to the lobby, and they’d start making plans to get together and play again [socially]. I really enjoyed watching the friendships develop because of the Leagues.”


In fact, it’s what drew Kathy to the role in the first place.


“Some of my closest friends are friends that I made playing tennis 30 years ago in USTA Leagues,” she notes.


Kathy continued to emphasize friendships and bonds as the program became more competitive and grew exponentially in the ensuing years. Today, an astounding 4,000 players participate in USTA Leagues on Long Island and, up until announcing her retirement, Kathy managed all aspects of the operation (scheduling court time for all the different divisions, communicating rule changes, handling disputes, etc.) completely by herself, just as she had when she first started. Looking back on her time with USTA Eastern, she’s most proud that she helped foster an environment for that growth to occur.


“And just keeping everybody and everything in order,” she adds with a laugh.


Kathy is also particularly proud that in 2019 she was able to form a women’s 65 & Over 8.0 league on Long Island. After a lot of hard work to get the new league up and running, a Long Island team ended up claiming victory in the division at USTA Eastern Sectionals, advancing all the way to the USTA League National Championships.


“The women so badly wanted a league like that,” Kathy says. “So that was satisfying to get that off the ground and to see how excited they were about it. And then they went all the way to Nationals, and they had such a great time.”


In addition to her management of USTA Leagues in the region, Kathy has also continued working at Carefree, where she currently serves as the facility’s general manager. Between these two roles, she has proved to be an invaluable asset to the Long Island tennis ecosystem over the years. For all her efforts to support the sport locally, she was named Eastern’s Tennis Woman of the Year in 2014. 


“It was definitely an honor,” she says. “A tremendous amount of people work with the organization, so to be given that award meant a lot to me. My family was there, my friends came up for it.”


Of course, for Kathy, the biggest honor has been to work in service of a game she loves, with people she enjoys—and who enjoy her just as much. USTA Eastern Manager of Adult Leagues Susan Friedlaender notes that all of the other coordinators in the section have leaned on Kathy and her considerable wealth of knowledge about the program. 


“Kathy has really mentored us and shown us the ropes—she’s been so helpful and such a resource to all of us over the years,” Susan says. “In fact, she taught me so much when I first started! I’m very grateful for both her expertise and her friendship.”


It’s building these kinds of relationships that Kathy will miss the most as she embarks on her next adventure.


“I’ll miss meeting people,” she says. “I’ve met wonderful people. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other Eastern coordinators. The Long Island captains have always been receptive and appreciative. And I’ve also enjoyed witnessing the camaraderie, like watching a team win regionals to advance to sectionals and seeing all the excitement from that. I’ve loved running the leagues. And I love all the people that I’ve met along the way.”

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