Award winners honored at 2019 Annual Meeting

Erin Maher | March 28, 2019

Grassroots efforts are essential to the growth of tennis, and every year at the USTA Annual Meeting, the USTA rewards those who have helped grow and develop the game in their community.


This year's honorees were recognized at a luncheon at the 2019 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference, which was held March 22-25 at the JW Marriott Austin in Austin, Texas. 

Meet the recipients of the 2018 USTA Annual Awards:


Dee Henry: Brad Parks Award


Dee Henry of Norwalk, Conn., was presented with the Brad Parks Award for her outstanding contribution in helping grow wheelchair tennis at the local level. The Brad Parks 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 or promoting the game. The award was named after Brad Parks, a pioneer of wheelchair tennis and the first wheelchair tournament champion.


Henry’s career highlights span over 15 years of working with wheelchair tennis players. In 2008, she became certified to teach wheelchair tennis, allowing her to start the Biola University Wheelchair Tennis program, which she still oversees to this day. Henry has also assisted with a local youth summer program for more than two decades. 


“Dee Henry has been an inspirational leader in wheelchair tennis and an asset to our team in growing the sport,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “She is more than deserving of the Brad Parks Award for her dedication to the organization.”


Charlotte Tennis Association: Community Tennis Association of the Year Award


The Charlotte Tennis Association was selected as the Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the Year. The CTA of the Year Award was established to honor a CTA for outstanding service in growing and developing the sport of tennis in its community. The award recipient is selected from 17 nominees, one from each of the USTA sections, by a panel of USTA Community Tennis Association Committee members.


The Charlotte Tennis Association is a non-profit, USTA-registered CTA serving the Charlotte area. Its mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis in Greater Charlotte by providing access to a full range of tennis programs and activities and creating opportunities to enjoy the social, physical and health benefits provided by the sport of tennis. 


“The Charlotte Tennis Association is an incredible CTA and partner,” said Morris. “We are proud to honor an organization that has been instrumental in growing and sustaining a vibrant tennis community with this well-deserved award.”


Toni Wiley: Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award


Toni Wiley of Dorchester, Mass., was selected as the recipient of the 2018 USTA Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award. The USTA awards the Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award to individuals who best exemplify Kraft’s selfless mission to bring the sport of tennis to everyone who wants to play. As a teacher, coach, author, USTA staff member and volunteer, Kraft was a lifelong champion of recreational tennis in the United States until her death in 1999. She introduced thousands of young people to tennis, particularly in disadvantaged communities.


Wiley has been the Executive Director of the Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center for the last 10 years. She has been instrumental in the enhancement of the center into a first-class facility and continues to drive the strategic direction of the organization and its programs. In addition, Wiley developed Volley Against Violence, the largest and longest-running police-based tennis program in the country. This program was adopted as the model for the USTA's Serve & Connect program. 


“Toni is one of those rare people that you run across in life who truly cares about helping other people and making a difference,” said Morris. “Eve Kraft would have loved Toni because of her devotion to making her community better no matter what, especially the Volley Against Violence program.”


Lenny Simpson: NJTL Founders' Service Award


Lenny Simpson of Wilmington, N.C., was presented with the USTA NJTL Founders’ Service Award. Established in 2011, the NJTL Founders' Award was created to recognize an individual who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to positive youth development through tennis and education, delivers outstanding service to under-resourced children with free or low-cost tennis and provides education and life-skills programming. The award is given to the recipient reflecting the values of NJTL founders Charles Pasarell, Sheridan Snyder and Arthur Ashe.


Simpson’s love for the sport began early on, as he was introduced to tennis at age five by Althea Gibson and became a lifelong friend of Ashe. Trained and coached by tennis greats, Simpson’s dream of returning to Wilmington to teach tennis came true in 2013, when he founded One Love Tennis. One Love Tennis was developed to empower and inspire young people, especially those at risk to lead healthy, productive lives through participation in a tennis and academic enrichment program.


“Lenny and the One Love Tennis program are a shining example of what a difference NJTL can make in a community,” said Morris. “Lenny is a true grassroots hero and a tremendous leader, and we commend his outstanding dedication to providing opportunities and teaching life skills to children in need in the Wilmington area.”


Conan Lorenzo: Janet Louer USTA Junior Team Tennis Organizer of the Year


Conan Lorenzo of La Mesa, Calif., was selected as the recipient of the Janet Louer USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) Organizer of the Year Award, which is given annually 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.


Lorenzo has been involved with Junior Team Tennis since 2011. Since then, he has exponentially grown the number of league players through various initiatives. Additionally, Lorenzo works with local schools to develop leagues, and he participates in a tennis ball donation committee, donating thousands of tennis balls to after-school tennis programs, hospitals, school classrooms and animal shelters.


“Conan has exhibited hard work and remarkable dedication, which has led to a great amount of growth and development in La Mesa over the last few years,” said Morris. “We are proud to recognize him for his continuous efforts in growing the game, especially in the schools.”



The Greens Country Club: Organization Member of the Year Award


The Greens Country Club in Oklahoma City, Okla., was recognized with the USTA Organization Member of the Year Award, which is given annually to a USTA member organization that provides outstanding service to its members and to the local community. The award was instituted in 1981.


The Greens Country Club serves as one of Oklahoma City’s best tennis facilities, offering club leagues for players of all levels. Often referred to as a “Club with a Cause,” the facility hosts a number of USTA-sanctioned events and tournaments throughout the year that benefit several local charities. 


“The Greens Country Club has been remarkable in promoting and developing tennis for the good of the game, offering play opportunities for all ages and abilities,” said Morris. “They are an outstanding local tennis organization that focuses on community engagement through grassroots programming.”


The Pipkin Family: Ralph W. Westcott Family of the Year Award


The Pipkin family of Landisville, Pa., was honored with the Ralph W. Westcott USTA Family of the Year Award. The Family of the Year Award, created by the USTA in 1965, is given annually to a family that volunteers its time to promote amateur tennis, emphasizing the theme that tennis is a family game. All members of the family should participate in tennis in some way, either as players or by offering their services in running programs or tournaments or in junior development activities.


A life-long tennis player, Wilson Pipkin has turned his passion for tennis into a career. Serving as Director of Tennis at the Hempfield Rec Center since 1985, he has elevated the profile of the club through successfully supervising the junior, adult and wheelchair tennis tournaments. Pipkin’s wife, Jennifer, shares her love for the sport by coaching tennis at Hempfield High School. Wilson and Jennifer’s three children are active tennis players, as well.


“The USTA is proud to honor the Pipkin family for their dedication to the sport and their impact upon the tennis community,” said Morris. “The Pipkins exemplify the best parts of the sport, and their efforts continue to help the growth of tennis.”


Terry Fontana: Seniors' Service Award


Terry Fontana of Hicksville, N.Y., was recognized with the annual Seniors’ Service Award, which was established in 1958 to recognize and honor a person for his or her service to senior tennis. 


Fontana has served on the USTA Eastern Long Island Regional board for over 20 years and is the president and co-founder of the Hicksville Community Tennis Association. Her leadership, hard work and passion both on and off the court have made it possible for Hicksville residents of all ages to experience the many benefits of playing tennis. 


“When you talk about tennis being the sport for a lifetime, Terry truly epitomizes that, since she has been around tennis for over 65 years,” said Morris. “Terry continues to grow the game around Hicksville by bringing tennis to individuals of all ages and abilities.”


Bob Ingersole and Carlos Cruz-Acedo: Volunteer Exceptional Service Awards


Carlos Cruz-Acedo and Bob Ingersole were awarded the Volunteer Exceptional Service Award, which recognizes national committee members who have made exceptional contributions above and beyond expected committee work. Starting this year, two awards are being given each year: one to a volunteer with more than 10 years of service, and one to a volunteer with up to 10 years of service. Nominees in each of these categories must currently be serving on a USTA National Committee.


Cruz-Acedo, of Torrance, Calif., has served as the vice chair of the Pro Circuit USTA Committee since 2013, leading research for player development. In addition, Cruz-Aedo has served as tournament director at various USTA Pro Circuit and Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) tournaments and is currently an active board member of the SCTA Foundation.


Ingersole, of Roosevelt Island, N.Y., is a dedicated USTA volunteer with over 33 years of service. His involvement in a myriad of sectional and national committees and initiatives includes serving as president of the USTA Eastern Section, serving twice as USTA Section Delegate and serving as president of the Eastern Junior Tennis Foundation.




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