Missouri Valley

Hall of Fame: Larry Newton

November 18, 2022


Larry Newton is a true legend in the junior tennis world. He is currently using his vast knowledge and expertise to serve the USTA National Local Play and Competition Committee as its Vice Chair and as Chair of Junior Play for USTA Missouri Valley. He also received national recognition in 2021 for his contributions to junior tennis when he was named Racquet Sports Industry’s National Youth Tennis Provider of the Year.

 

Newton has spent the past 36 years volunteering his time to help grow the game of tennis through various avenues: as a tournament director, official or serving on district, section, and national boards. He started playing tennis as a 14-year-old and took a job as a clay court attendant at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa when he was 15. That eventually evolved into a teaching position and a successful playing career, including two years on Oklahoma State University’s varsity tennis team.

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One of his greatest contributions to USTA Nebraska began with his creation of “Farm Team Competitions,” which fed high-level junior players into the Nebraska Competition Training Center, while also providing second-tier players non-elimination competitions each week. Working with non-elimination formats led Newton to create the NET events for new players in Nebraska that expanded section wide. The NET format was later adopted by the USTA nationwide and transformed into what is currently called Junior Circuits.

 

Newton spent about eight years as a teaching professional early in his career and he found fulfillment in helping juniors and adults improve their games. But it wasn’t until after he left his job as an instructor that he felt he really started to make a difference in the tennis community.

 

Newton was doing it out of sheer love for the game when he was volunteering his time rather than doing it for a living. His biggest passion and motivation have been seeing juniors develop a love for the game from the time they first pick up a racquet to the time they age out of junior programming. 

 

He says after his tennis playing days, his career can be split up into three distinct phases: his time spent as a teaching professional, then moving into volunteering running mid-level and high performance junior events and finally volunteering more with new players and running tournaments to create a positive first experience for them. 

 

Newton now runs tournaments for newer players most frequently and enjoys being able to impact the youngest generation of tennis players to help them grow with the game. 

 

He continues to have a massive impact on the Nebraska tennis community through his tireless efforts running programs for kids and he wouldn’t have it any other way. His sole focus is to do what is best for the players and that shines through in everything he does. He is as selfless as can be and truly epitomizes what a volunteer should be.

 

At the end of the day, it is Newton’s passion and love for the game that have pushed him to such great heights in tennis. His induction into the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame is the culmination of his efforts and he is thrilled to be an inspiration to all volunteers out there.

 

“I feel like this selection is one in which I'm representing all the volunteers out there,” Newton said. “And I'm just honored and humbled that I'm being put on a list with the people I'm being put on. It's an honor.”

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