2021 Community Champions: Jodie Adams wins Barbara Williams Service Award

December 08, 2021

WATCH: Profile on Jodie Adams


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.


Jodie Adams of Springfield, Mo., was selected as the recipient of the Barbara Williams Service Award, presented by Billie Jean King on Wednesday. Established in 2003, the award honors the late Barbara Williams, a longtime USTA volunteer who unselfishly gave her time and energy to promote the sport of tennis. It recognizes a female volunteer who, through her leadership and by her example, has encouraged and inspired others to become volunteers and assume leadership roles at the community, section and/or national levels of the USTA.

Adams has four decades of experience in the tennis industry and has played a crucial role in growing the game in the Missouri Valley section. Adams' passion for tennis began at a young age, and she won more than 300 tennis titles in her competitive career—first at Parkview High School and then at Missouri State University.


Her impressive tennis career continued to grow as she dedicated her past 30 years as a USTA volunteer and as a member of the USTA Education and Recreation Committee, under the direction of Eve Kraft, Ron Woods and Leight Strassner.


Adams also served as president of USTA Missouri Valley in 1991, and has held various service roles such as Section Delegate, President’s Committee, the USTA Board of Directors, and 10 different USTA national committees. Her unequivocal impact in public parks includes over 40 years of administrative experience in the parks and recreation profession. 


In 2011, she retired as the Director of Parks on the Springfield-Greene County Park Board after five years, where she was responsible for 102 parks and trails, 1,000 programs and events and 40 facilities which included a zoo and a botanical garden. Overall, Adams served to make sports more accessible to all children through her work with parks and recreation.

Adams’ impressive career—in which she made history as the first woman to be director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board—includes accolades like the USTA President's Award (2009), the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame President's Award (2017), the International Tennis Hall of Fame Samuel Hardy Award (2010), the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame—Achievement honor (2010), the Missourian Award from the State of Missouri (2007) and the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award (2000). Named to the list of Most Influential Women by Springfield Business Journal, she is also a member of the Missouri State University Athletic Hall of Fame and was inducted into the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame in 1995.


“The tennis community in Southwest Missouri has had the great privilege of having Jodie Adams as a leader, mentor and advocate, making a positive impact on the sport at the grassroots level,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “Jodie’s legacy of making sports more accessible to everyone, and  more than 30 years of service and commitment to growing the game, makes her the ideal candidate for this award.”

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