Meet the 2018
Hall of Fame Class
September 17, 2018
The United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley is proud to announce its 2018 Hall of Fame inductees. This year, the USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing five people who have served the game of tennis through their play, dedication to volunteerism and their passion for improving the game.
The honorees are Ken Brown of Independence, Kansas, the late Fred Johnson of Kansas City, Missouri, Mark Platt and Patricia Purcell, both of St. Louis, and Kim Reser of Springfield, Missouri. The five new members of the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame will be inducted during the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, December 1 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Olathe, Kansas. Please join us in honoring these Hall of Fame inductees at the December 1 Hall of Fame Induction. Click on this link to register.ADVERTISEMENT
Ken Brown never set his sights on becoming a successful high school and college tennis coach growing up, but a college course changed that. Brown, after taking two tennis coaching courses at Fort Hays State, began teaching at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, where he was asked to resurrect the tennis team in 1968. He coached the college teams for 23 years, before becoming the head boys’ and girls’ coach at Independence High School in 1992, where he won state championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He coached there until 2014, and has directed the city recreation program for 35 years. He’s organized Junior Team Tennis, and other USTA youth programming since 1983. In 2000, he formed the Independence Tennis Association, and also began serving on the USTA Kansas Board of Directors. Brown represented Independence in 2009, when the community was recognized by the USTA at the US Open as one of the Top Tennis Towns in America.
Fred Johnson had an ability to break barriers when it came to getting diverse populations onto the tennis court. A protégé of Arthur Ashe, he was a manager and instructor for five sites of the Ashe-Bolliteri tennis program between 1990 and 1993, finding creative ways to promote the sport to as many people as possible. Johnson joined the USTA Missouri Valley staff in 1996 as its diversity manager, and was an advocate for diversity and inclusion. He was the genesis behind “Tennis in the hood,” an outreach program which introduced tennis to over 40,000 kids in 11 different cities in the USTA Missouri Valley’s five-state area. That blueprint for success was transitioned into Tennis Block Parties, Rock N Rally’s and Tennis in the Neighborhood programs by the USTA. In 2004, Johnson created the Slammin and Jammin basketball and tennis events with the assistance of Lynette Woodard, the first female player for the Harlem Globetrotters. Outside the USTA Missouri Valley, Johnson was an active volunteer at the Stephanie Waterman Foundation, and served as the first male board member for WIN for KC, a women’s intersport network in Kansas City.
Mark Platt got his start in tennis by taking lessons from fellow USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Famer, Earl Buchholz Sr., in the 1960s. Platt started teaching tennis and directing the free University City tennis program in 1976. Almost a decade later, Platt started Beginner’s World Tennis in 1984. The program, which provides an all-encompassing program specifically geared to the beginner tennis player. Today, Platt has a staff of 10 assisting at 25 sites across St. Louis with over 10,000 participants annually. In 2002, Platt was named a Grassroots Champion of Tennis by Tennis Industry Magazine, and in 2016 the magazine named him a Community Tennis Local Hero. Platt has also been honored by the USTA. In 2004, he was the Eve Kraft Community Service Award winner, and in 2017 he was named the Janet Lauer USTA Junior Team Tennis National Organizer.
Patricia Purcell has excelled as a player and organizer throughout her career. Purcell started playing the USTA Missouri Valley junior circuit in 1966 and became the no. 1 ranked player in St. Louis and the Missouri Valley. She went on to play at Washington University in St. Louis for four seasons, the first two of which were with the men’s team. She remained an active adult player through the 1980s before taking a 20-year hiatus from playing. When she returned, she found success. She’s won six USTA Gold Balls, and has been a member of two national USTA Cup Teams, the Maureen Connolly Cup in 2013 and Alice Marble Cup in 2017, both of which won its respective events. She finished 2017 as the no. 4 ranked player in singles and doubles in the USTA Women’s 60s rankings. Most recently, Purcell was a member of the 2018 Alice Marble Cup Team which competed in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Seniors World Team Championships. She’s been teaching since 1976, and served as the assistant women’s coach at Washington University-St. Louis from 1994 to 1999. She has captained dozens of USTA League teams dating back to 1988. She has also served as a head tennis pro, and tennis club owner. She was named the USTA Missouri Valley Player of the Year in 2016 and was also inducted into the USTA St. Louis Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016.
Kim Reser learned to play tennis in Marshall, Missouri, before a long career of coaching and service within the game. Reser played collegiately at William Jewell University in Liberty, Missouri, before becoming the school’s head women’s coach. She also served as both a staff member and volunteer for the USTA Missouri Valley. She was the director of adult programs and championships for four years, and then spent 25 years as a volunteer including a decade as part of the USTA Missouri Valley’s Board of Directors. She was also a USTA umpire, and a linejudge for Springfield Lasers’ matches, USTA Pro Circuit events and officiated local events. At the national level, Reser has served on the following national committees: USTA Leagues, USTA Parks and USTA Awards. She is currently the Assistant Director of Parks for the Springfield - Greene County Park Board.