Honored by USTA
Erin Maher | August 30, 2017
Three junior tournament directors have been honored by the USTA and bestowed the 2017 “Blue Ribbon Tournament Director” distinction.
Junior tournament directors Lornie Kuhle, Andrea Norman and Mark Riley are the recipients of this prestigious accolade. Started in 2014, the “Blue Ribbon Tournament Director” award honors the top junior tournament directors in the country and the junior tennis world.
“There are approximately 2,000 junior tournament directors in the U.S.,” said USTA Director of Junior Tournaments Bill Mountford, “These particular award winners host high profile events. They set the highest standards of what tournament directors ought to aspire towards. They represent the best of the best.”
Khule, Norman and Riley were treated to a dinner in New York City in their honor on Wednesday, Aug. ADVERTISEMENT 30. The following morning, on Thursday, Aug. 31, they held a roundtable discussion on tournament best practices and brainstormed ideas on how they each run their respective tournaments. The remainder of the day was spent taking in an afternoon of tennis at the 2017 US Open in Flushing Meadows.
Meet the Tournament Directors:
LORNIE KUHLE, TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
GIRLS' 16 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/GIRLS' 18 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/EASTER BOWL
California resident Kuhle, (pictured above, left) has been tournament director of the Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, Calif., the premier junior tournament in the country, for the last six years.
Inspired by his brother, Chuck, who was a director of a Pro Circuit tournament in Decatur, Ill., Kuhle first began directing Pro Circuit tournaments before transitioning to junior tournaments.
After five years spearheading the Easter Bowl, Mountford recruited Kuhle’s talents for the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals at the Barnes Tennis Center, in San Diego. The tournament has a prestigious legacy, with elite names like Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, and Lindsay Davenport as past tournament champions. Kuhle, in his rookie year directing the tournament, has already implemented major changes.
“Just like the US Open, every single match had an official in a chair,” said Kuhle. “That was a big deal for the kids and the parents.”
In addition, Kuhle managed to garner major exposure for the tournament, having nine live hours of the tournament broadcast on the Tennis Channel.
“We’re just trying to make it better all the time for the kids,” Kuhle noted, “a good experience for them.”
ANDREA NORMAN, TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Directing tennis tournaments runs in Tournament Director Norman’s blood.
“I grew up in a family that ran tournaments and I had a mom as an official, so it was something that was just familiar to me, and so I jumped at the chance to get involved,” said Norman, Tournament Director of the National Doubles Championship, “One thing led to another, and here I am.”
The tournament, previously held at Winston-Salem, N.C., made the transition this year to the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., with great success.
“I think it was an incredible experience for the players to be able to play there, the parents loved it, and from an administrative point of view, there’s really nothing better or smoother that I’ve experienced in running an event,” said Norman. “The facility, the technology, and everything else. It was fantastic.”
Norman, a San Jose, Calif., resident, was elated to find out she was chosen as a Blue Ribbon director.
“I know there are a lot of really fantastic directors out there, so to be selected for this is really an honor to me," she said.
While the National Doubles Championship wrapped up at the end of August, Norman’s back on the tennis tournament grind again in two weeks, when she will serve as assistant director of a national level two tournament at Stanford University.
MARK RILEY, TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
BOYS' 16 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/BOYS' 18 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
In 1943, the National USTA Boys' 18 & 16 National Championships was played on five Grasstex courts next to the railroad tracks, with only 90 players.
Seventy-five years later, the tournament is thriving, with 400-plus juniors from around the country entering the tournament in hopes to find victory on the hardcourts of Kalamazoo, Mich.
As a testament to the incredible tennis played here, the 18s champions in singles and doubles receive an automatic bid to the main draw of the US Open.
Riley (pictured above, right) has served as tournament director for the last 10 years.
Riley, a former University of Pennsylvania tennis coach, got a call in 2007 to coach at Kalamazoo College, his alma mater, and the site of the tournament. After assisting in the 2007 tournament, Riley became the tournament director in 2008.
Like any great leader, Riley credits all those who have contributed to the tournament, “I think it really just talks about all the support we have in our community for the tournament, or volunteers, all the people who help us with sponsorship to make this tournament roll.,” said Riley, “Seventy-five years this tournament has been in Kalamazoo, so really the honor is about the community.”