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Missouri Valley

USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame: Kevin Nebergall

December 02, 2020

Kevin Nebergall, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has spent the greater part of his life growing the game of tennis and providing tennis opportunities for marginalized communities in the state of Iowa and beyond.

 

His start in tennis was different than most as he didn’t pick it up until graduate school when his roommate invited him out to the courts with him. 

 

From then on, he was hooked. 

 

“I ended up falling in love with the game and I wanted to pass that love on to other people who may not normally be in it,” Nebergall said. 

 

He began to play with friends and local groups in his community and eventually went on to take tennis lessons and become a tennis instructor. He would later become a PTR Certified Tennis Professional and a successful tennis coaching career blossomed from there.

 

As he built up his professional tennis career, he also became closely involved with the Cedar Rapids Tennis Association, eventually becoming President of the association (1984-1988). 

 

His involvement with Cedar Rapids would soon bridge into an involvement with USTA Iowa, starting by helping out with local tournaments and coaching opportunities. 

 

This would be the first of many ways Nebergall would give back to USTA Iowa, culminating with his roles as USTA Iowa Vice President (1988-1990) and three-time USTA Iowa President (1990-94; 2013-16).

 

His service extended past the Iowa borders as he would also serve the section at many levels, including USTA Missouri Valley Vice President (2001-02), First Vice President (2003-04), and President (2005-06). He has also served nationally as Delegate 2006-07, and on four different committees and as a US Open Arthur Ashe Kids Day Volunteer Coach.

 

“It gave me a broader scope of what’s happening in tennis,” Nebergall noted. “When I first got started, I thought the Cedar Rapids Tennis Association was the top of the heap and then I got into USTA Iowa, and then as I occupied office at the USTA Missouri Valley I thought ‘wait a minute, there are 16 other sections all over the United States’ and then working with National was really something. It was an eye-opening experience.” 

 

Nebergall’s work is highlighted by an emphasis to include those from diverse backgrounds into the tennis community. He founded a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter in Cedar Rapids and served in multiple diversity-oriented programs to better serve multicultural youth in addition to sharing tennis in unique venues all over the section. This diversity initiative took him far and wide across the section, sharing tennis in places such as the Red Earth Native American Festival, Tennis in the Hood events, and Fort Madison Prison.

 

Since his retirement from teaching English at Kirkwood College, Nebergall has only continued to give back more to the tennis community. He continues to volunteer as USTA Iowa Hall of Fame Committee Chair, a coach at local tennis outreach projects, and stays active as an avid leagues participant.

 

Nebergall’s years of service have not gone unnoticed. He has had the opportunity to bring home several awards including the Iowa PTR Pro of the Year (2002), Outstanding Contributor to USTA Iowa Tennis (1994), and the USTA Iowa Distinguished Service Award (2004). 

 

On being inducted into the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame, Nebergall had a few reflections to share: 

 

“I’m very grateful for that honor. A lot of times I was doing things such as sitting in meetings when other people were playing and taking lessons. I’m very honored that I’m being rewarded for sitting in these meetings. That’s the big thing.”

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