2019 USTA Eastern

Organizers of the Year

December 13, 2019

Throughout the year, USTA Eastern selects passionate advocates who have made exceptional contributions within the community through tennis to feature on our website. In case you missed it, read about their incredible stories and extraordinary efforts below.


Finding His Passion: Hofstra Coach Jason Pasion (above, far right) took an alternative route to college coaching. Early in his career he worked as an EMT and was at Ground Zero within hours of the September 11 attacks. (Read more here.)


Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Even though tennis is technically an individual sport, MatchPoint Tennis's Ari Roberts emphasizes team work. The results speak for themselves. (Read more here.)


The Student Captain: Lydia Varón is a USTA League Captain who has captained teams and organized social leagues all while attending graduate school at Cornell. ADVERTISEMENT (Read more here.)


If You Build It: Saratoga Springs resident Dan Blanchfield helped raise $90,000 to renovate tennis courts in Saratoga Spa State Park. (Read more here.)


Does This Bring You Joy?: Inspired by Netflix decluttering expert Marie Kondo,  Jung and Rachel Lee organized a racquet drive to donate tennis equipment to the Donald Van Blake Tennis and Education Foundation. (Read more here.)


Keeping it Simple: “Guiding kids to learn something new, and then own it—that’s pretty rewarding," says Laramie Gavin of his work as Director of Racquet Sports at Midtown Athletic Club and Net Generation Ambassador. (Read more here.)


Growing the Game in Oneonta: High school coach Phyllis Orlowski struggled to recruit students for the tennis team, so she decided to create and run a summer parks program to introduce more kids in the area to the game. (Read more here.) 


Parental Guidance: Sometimes parents just don't understand. Alberto Zacchino Jr., the Junior Performance Specialist at Brunswick Hills Tennis Center, developed a program to help them learn more about the sport their children love. (Read more here.)


Starting From Scratch: When former Eastern junior No. 1 Derek DiFazio was hired as the head coach at Manhattanville, he threw himself into rebooting a dormant tennis program. He also became a professor. And since this interview was conducted, he's been selected as USTA Eastern's 2019 Special Service Award recipient. (Read more here.)


Relentlessly Focused on Tomorrow: Court 16 owner Anthony Evrard had a chat with his mother-in-law—who has glaucoma—about the difficulties of being visually impaired in New York City. The conversation inspired him to create The Sound of Tennis, a program that helps the visually impaired community learn and enjoy the sport. (Read more here.)



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