Clearwater’s Miles Named USTA Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month
“I was a sophomore in high school when I started playing.”
Despite having an earlier start than some on the tennis courts, Sara Miles wishes she would have known that taking lessons with a Tennis Professional would help improve her game while attending high school in Illinois.
“I remember thinking I was pretty good when we played during gym and I thought it was fun, so I decided to try out for the tennis team,” Sara says, reflecting on that time in her life. “I didn’t end up making it, so I guess I wasn’t very good!”
Fast forward to a few years later, Miles was back on the court taking part in Cardio Tennis clinics under experienced Tennis Teaching Professional Mike Baugh, who she was dating at the time. Miles’ relationship with Baugh, combined with her fondness for volunteering, created the perfect opportunity for her to get involved as a tennis volunteer.
“The first time I volunteered in tennis was actually as an MC for a Pro Circuit event at South Seas when I was working as a news reporter,” she shares. “I enjoyed volunteering in the community, and it was something that I could do with Mike as a couple.”
“Sara started volunteering with tennis events when she conducted post-match interviews at the South Seas Classic Women’s Challenger,” adds Baugh, a USPTA Elite Professional and the Associated Director of Tennis at the Countryside Country Club in Clearwater. “Since then, she has been an amazing volunteer with countless USTA sanctioned events. She has done everything from volunteering with the Special Olympic State Games to being a court monitor for USTA Net Generation Entry Level events.”
Miles has been a tennis volunteer for over eight years now, and it’s still an activity that she shares with Baugh – now her husband. The couple married in 2018, and while Baugh directs tournaments at Countryside Country Club, Miles is at his side helping run the tournament desk.
“Mike is always so busy, so it’s a great way to spend time together and work together as a team,” she says. “His tournaments are well organized, so he makes volunteering a breeze.”
In the past, Miles collected photos and videos of the tournaments and put together YouTube videos to use on social media and as promotional materials. Now, she assists in running the tournament desk and making sure everything is running smoothly – assigning players to courts and facilitating matches, entering scores, answering questions, and serving as a court monitor. In January, she independently ran an off-site tournament desk for the USTA Florida Winter Championships – her first time running the desk by herself.
“It was exciting but also a little nerve-racking,” she explains. “I wanted to do a good job and make sure all the players and parents had a top-notch experience with the tournament. Overall, I think everything ended up running smoothly.”
Over the years, Miles says she has met a multitude of people through her volunteering. Volunteering also gave her the opportunity to learn more about tennis and network with others who have similar interests.
“It’s a way to hear people’s stories and make connections you might not otherwise,” she says. “Volunteering in tennis also took me out of my comfort zone because I really didn’t know much about the sport outside of what I learned in my high school gym class I enjoy meeting new people, helping players, and continuing to learn about the game.”
USTA Florida thanks Sara Miles for her commitment to expanding and supporting tennis in Pinellas County.
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri
Family: Husband Mike Baugh, who is a USPTA Tennis Pro!
Favorite Movie: Top Gun
Favorite Food: Tacos
Favorite Travel Spot: San Diego
Favorite Shot: Forehand
My earliest tennis memory was… “Playing tennis during gym in high school and trying out for the team. I didn’t make it, but I wish I would have known more about USPTA Pros because I would have taken lessons!”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be… “Andy Roddick, Sloane Stephens, Simona Halep”
When I am not playing tennis I am… “Reading, working out, or working as a Public Information Officer for one of the Circuit Courts in Florida.”
My best tennis memory is… “Going to the US Open.”
I like to volunteer in tennis because… “I enjoy meeting new people, helping players, and learning more about the sport.”
Interested in volunteering in tennis? Visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteers to learn more about available opportunities.