2021 Community Champions: James (Bud) Spencer honored with USTA League Volunteer Award

December 09, 2021

WATCH: Profile on James (Bud) Spencer


On Dec. 8, the USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual ceremony honored 2021 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. During the event, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis both locally and nationally.


James (Bud) Spencer of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., was honored with the USTA League Volunteer Award, presented by MaliVai Washington on Wednesday. The award, established in 2015, recognizes and honors the many volunteers who have provided leadership and have made significant contributions to the growth and enhancement of USTA Leagues, both in their section and nationally. 


Spencer has been a tennis volunteer with the USTA for more than 30 years from the local to the national level, all of which include service to the USTA League program. He served in various positions in USTA South Carolina and was President and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2004-05. He served on many committees in USTA Southern since 1996, and was chairman of the State Presidents' Group for USTA Southern in 2005. He was elected to the USTA Southern Board of Directors in 2007 as a Delegate-at-Large and later held the position of president and CEO of the section. Spencer served the USTA National League Committee with distinction for 10 years.

Spencer’s love for the sport of tennis has transcended from the court into the community with his vast contributions to the USTA Leagues. Spencer’s various roles and volunteer positions at the local and national level led him to apply his leadership skills, creativity and passion to put in place League programs that recreational players still enjoy today. Upon appointment as volunteer Senior League Coordinator for South Carolina in 1994, Spencer doubled the participation level in two years. Spencer also initiated the Super Senior League Program on a state-wide basis in S.C., which was later developed into a Southern section-wide program and then into a national-level program. As Chairman of the National League Committee,  Spencer also affected the transition of the League programs from Adult/Senior/Super Senior divisions into the age-designated divisions now utilized nationwide.


His countless contributions to USTA League has led to numerous recognitions and accolades including the Lucy Garvin Volunteer of the Year Award (2001), the Gerrie Rothwell League Volunteer of the Year (2002), the Presidents’ Special Recognition Award (won twice) and the Charles B. Morris, Jr. Service Award for outstanding service at the local, section and national levels (2008). He was the recipient of the Jacobs Bowl in 2015, the highest volunteer service award presented by USTA Southern, and is a member of the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.

“Bud truly exemplifies what the National League Volunteer Award is all about with his leadership, passion and significant contributions to the growth and enhancement of USTA Leagues at the local and national level.” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “We are proud to have Bud as part of our USTA family, and thrilled to honor him with this deserving recognition.”


Today, USTA League provides play opportunities for hundreds of thousands of adult participants. USTA League is the country's largest recreational tennis league, helping players nationwide enjoy the thrill of competition while making friends, improving skills and staying active. USTA League offers several league programs throughout the year that vary by gender, age and skill level divisions. Division formats also vary by offering singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

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