USTA Missouri Valley
Honored by USTA
USTA Missouri Valley | March 21, 2018
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that Grady Landrum of Wichita, Kansas, was presented the Brad Parks Award for his outstanding contribution in helping grow wheelchair tennis at the local level.
Mark Platt was also selected as the recipient of the Janet Louer USTA Junior Team Tennis National Organizer of the Year Award. Landrum and Platt were honored at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference, March 16-19, at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. USTA Missouri Valley Executive Director Mary Buschmann accepted on behalf of Platt.
Steve Gerdes, of Omaha, Neb., was awarded the Volunteer Exceptional Service Award, which recognizes national committee members who have made exceptional contributions above and beyond expected committee work. He has dedicated 37 years of service to the USTA.
During his time with the USTA, he has served in various roles, including editor of the yearbook and "Friend at Court." His service continues on the court, as well, as he's been a USTA certified official since 1966.
Landrum’s career highlights span over 30 years and include starting programs and tournaments at the grassroots level in three major U.S. cities: the Cornhusker Classic (now named Cornhusker State Games) in Lincoln, Nebraska; the Northwest Wheelchair Tennis Association and the First Pacific Northwest Wheelchair Tennis Championship in Portland, Oregon; and Wheelchair Sports Inc. in Wichita, Kansas. These programs and tournaments are still thriving today.
The Brad Parks Award was established in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions to the sport of wheelchair tennis. Named after San Clemente, California, resident Brad Parks, a pioneer of wheelchair tennis and the first wheelchair tournament champion, the award is presented annually and honors an individual or organization that has been instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis around the world through playing, coaching, sponsoring and promoting the game.
“Grady Landrum has been an inspirational leader in wheelchair tennis and an asset to our team in organizing and promoting events,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “He is more than deserving of the Brad Parks Award for his dedication to the organization.”
Platt Recognized for work with Junior Team Tennis
Platt has been involved with Junior Team Tennis since 2011. He first organized teams in 2013 and now has at least one team in every intermediate league offered. As part of his work to promote the JTT league, Platt developed two middle school tennis leagues: the Rockwood School District Tennis Program and the Mobile Tennis Academy, serving a total of six area school districts.
Platt believes in player development both on and off the court. Platt’s efforts include the creation of the Rally Tennis for Cancer Care event, which raised $58,000 in 2016.
“Mark has exhibited hard work and remarkable dedication which has led to a great amount of growth and development in Missouri junior tennis programs over the last few years,” said Craig Morris, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “We are proud to recognize him for his continuous efforts in growing the game on a junior level.”
The USTA annually awards the Janet Louer USTA Junior Team Tennis National Organizer of the Year Award to an individual who positively influences children’s lives and substantially impacts their community. The award is named after Janet Louer, who was instrumental in the development of junior tennis during her lifetime. As the administrator for USTA JTT in Georgia, Louer built the state championships into the largest youth team tennis state championships in the nation. Her expertise also was utilized in the development of the Section and National Championships for the program.
The USTA Annual Meeting and Conference brings together USTA leadership, national staff, national committee members and section volunteers and staff in pursuit of the USTA mission: to promote and develop the growth of tennis. Along with leadership and committee meetings, the Annual Meeting provides educational opportunities for all attendees to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and learn new ways to promote the game of tennis.