2020 Community Champions: Michael J. Cottingham receives Brad Parks Award

December 03, 2020

WATCH: International Tennis Hall of Famer Brad Parks honors Dr. Michael Cottingham

On Dec. 2, the USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual event honored 2020 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. In the absence of a 2020 USTA Annual Meeting, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis.


Dr. Michael Cottingham of Houston is the recipient of this year's Brad Parks Award for his outstanding contribution in helping grow wheelchair tennis at the local level. 


As a wheelchair tennis player himself, Cottingham has used his experience and expertise during his impressive 20-year career working with wheelchair tennis players. In 1998, Cottingham received a wheelchair tennis scholarship. He is a former Head Coach of the University of Arizona’s wheelchair tennis and quad rugby teams. Cottingham started wheelchair tennis programs at both the University of Arizona and the University of Houston and has also hosted a long-standing tournament in Houston engaging more people in the sport. He also served as Head Wheelchair Tennis Coach at the University of Southern Mississippi, while he was in school there, until 2011.   


“Dr. Michael Cottingham has made a large impact on wheelchair tennis over two decades and has been an inspirational leader in the community helping grow the sport,” said Craig Morris, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “We are thrilled to be able to recognize his great work with the deserving Brad Parks Award.” 


Cottingham has received many honors and accomplished milestones such as the Mississippi Wheelchair Tennis Player of the Year in 2009, and the United States Tennis Association National Community Service Award in 1999. Cottingham also had a top 10 Ranking in the United States, and 125 internationally, in singles wheelchair tennis, 1999.


The Brad Parks Award was established in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions to the sport of wheelchair tennis. Named after San Clemente, Calif. 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.

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