Missouri Valley / Heart Of America

Brandon Cusick Earns Gold Star

Jerod Fox | July 23, 2020

In honor of its 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley will be recognizing 100 deserving tennis providers, players, partners and more across our section throughout the year.


Selected nominees will be given a Gold Star award, recognizing them for the contributions they are making to support and grow the game in the USTA Missouri Valley based on specific program areas and attributes. 


One of the award winners from within the USTA Heart of America this July is Brandon Cusick, Chair of the Missouri Valley Adult Competition Committee.


“Missouri Valley tennis means a lot to me. It is my social outlet, my competitive outlet, and my physical outlet,” he said. “This award is a reflection of the fact that I’ve got some pretty spectacular people working around me.”

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Growing up in the Kansas City area, Cusick was active in junior competition in the Heart of America. He attended college at Loyola Marymount University, where he was active in USTA Santa Monica. Along the way, he earned his MBA at the University of Iowa before attending Harvard, where he was awarded a graduate diploma in pre-medical studies. 


While at Harvard, he joined as a member of the school’s club tennis team. This gave him an opportunity to remain in the sport, as well as giving him some good stories (if you ever get the chance, ask him about the time that he won at a grass-court tournament without any shoes).


After a brief stint in Boston, Cusick returned to the Kansas City area, where he found himself at a lack for tennis opportunities. He joined as a member of Genesis Health Clubs with his brother, where he was able to plug back in to the community.


“Somebody saw me playing and recruited me to a World Team Tennis League team, and it was all downhill from there,” he said. “It was really nice to have a good social outlet, especially one where I could be with my brother.”


Cusick has played in many leagues throughout the past few years, and has captained some teams as well. In his first year as a captain in the Tri-Level competition, he led his team to a third-place finish at the national tournament.


The connections that Cusick has made, along with his experience as a tennis player lacking connections in the community made him a perfect fit as the Chair of the Adult Competition Committee. 

Scott Howes, who nominated Cusick for the Gold Star Award, spoke his praises.


“Brandon always goes above and beyond to help develop creative ways to promote the sport of tennis,” Howes said. “His tennis experience and prowess on and off the court have provided an invaluable asset to the USTA Missouri Valley team.”


Cusick has worked over the past year-plus to build adult competition in USTA Missouri Valley. He has done so by communicating with team captains, creating new opportunities, and discovering what works best to draw people to the USTA.


“It’s important to know what people want,” he said. “For instance, in adult play, it’s got to be social. That includes food and drinks. These things draw people into tennis.”


Cusick’s work to draw others to tennis is easy to see, and his dedication to the USTA Missouri Valley has made him the ideal Adult Competition Committee Chair.

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