Corley Ward Earns Gold Star Award
To say tennis is in the Ward family blood is probably an understatement. It’s so much a part of the Ward family that it is the family business.
Tennis has been part of Corley Ward’s life for as long as he can remember. He grew up in St. Louis, where his father is a staple as a tennis pro at area clubs and is currently General Manager at Frontenac Racquet Club. Ward is the General Manager at Woodsmill Tennis Club and Assistant Director of Tennis at Old Warson Country Club.
From the clubs of St. Louis all the way to Australia – tennis has taken Ward across the globe.
Ward is the recipient of the USTA Missouri Valley Gold Star Award for his contributions as in teaching the game, as well as his work with USTA Leagues and USTA Adult Tournaments. The Gold Star Award is in conjunction with USTA Missouri Valley’s 100th Anniversary and is being awarded for contributions to support the game of tennis in the area.
USTA St. Louis Tennis Service Representative Carli Connors said Ward’s passion for the game while teaching is contagious.
“Corley always goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is always having fun and enjoying every minute of their lesson,” she said. “Not only does he do a great job with making sure everyone is enjoying their time, he is very knowledgeable about tennis, too! His passion for tennis is more than noticeable, especially when he’s on the court teaching his students and running his club. He goes above and beyond to grow the game of tennis.”
Some of Ward’s best memories are on the tennis court. Early on, it was with his dad when the pair played together under the lights at the club.
“My first memories of tennis are sneaking out the side door in the darkness with my dad to play before school,” he said. “Tennis has strengthened my relationship with my family as it has given me the opportunity to work with my father and two brothers who are all professionals at Frontenac Racquet Club.”
After college, Ward’s tennis career took off, working for the Peter Burwash International (PBI), the world's leading tennis management company. During his time with PBI, he worked with clubs across the World, from Hawaii to Australia.
Tennis has taken Ward to such incredible places, but sometimes one finds all they need is right here at home – and incidentally – on a tennis court.
“Through tennis I met my wife,” he said. “I had been away with PBI for roughly 10 years and within two weeks of moving home I met my future wife on the tennis court. We are expecting our first child – a son - in November.”
The sport has a way of forming bonds between people, and that is what makes the game so great. In Ward’s case, it has bonded his family and given him a chance to create a new family.
That is why he loves tennis so much. He wants to give others the chance to get what the game has given him.
“My favorite part of the game is the connections it fosters,” Ward said. “People play for any number of reasons, but ultimately it is because it makes them happy. I like being a part of this joy and introducing it to others. Tennis is a game for life. People use it for exercise, to master a skill, for therapy, for time for themselves, and any number of reasons. Because you can play it throughout your life, it can be of immense value.”
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