USTA announces winners of 2022 officiating awards
The USTA has named Dean Richardville, Patrick Zuraski, Chase Urban and Greg Allensworth as the 2022 winners of the association's four national awards for excellence and service to officiating: the Nicholas E. Powell Award, Woodie Walker C.A.R.E. Award, Jr. McGovern Award and John T. McGovern Award, respectively.
Typically held in Flushing Meadows each year at the US Open, the USTA's annual umpire awards ceremony was again held virtually this year and can be viewed in the video below. Each award-winner was presented his award by another official who is a member of one of the awards' voting committees.
“We are fortunate to have talented and dedicated officials such as Dean, Patrick, Chase and Greg, who are truly making an impact in growing tennis at both the grassroots and professional levels,” Sean Cary, USTA Managing Director, Competition Operations, said. “Their leadership, work ethic and passion for the game are just a few of the reasons why they’re so deserving of this recognition.”
Nicholas E. Powel Award: Dean Richardville (Tulsa, Okla.)
This award, given since 1990, honors excellence in grassroots officiating. The award is given to officials who work primarily at sectional and/or amateur events, have a supportive attitude towards grassroots programs and are positive role models.
Richardville is the chair of officiating for USTA Oklahoma and the vice chair of officiating for the USTA Missouri Valley section. A 13-year veteran of officiating, his excellent work at college, local, district and section events has seen him named USTA Missouri Valley Official of the Year twice and the Oklahoma Official of the Year multiple times.
In his own words: "Officiating, to me, is more than just knowing the rules. That's very important, you need to know the rules, but it's also having good communication skills, being flexible, and knowing just when to listen."
Woodie Walker C.A.R.E Award: Patrick Zuraski (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Presented since 2017 and named for longtime US Open chief umpire Phyllis "Woodie" Walker, this award is given to an official who displays characteristics that Walker exemplified in her career: commitment, accountability, respectability and excellence.
Zuraski's officiating career began in 2001 and in the two decades since, he has earned a reputation amongst his peers as someone who is committed to the development of other officials and has served as a mentor for countless new officials. Zuraski makes himself available for tournaments at all levels of play and always conducts himself with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.
In his own words: "Considering [Walker's] contributions to tennis officiating, a suggestion that I've done anything that lives up to the standards that [she] has set is a significant honor."
Jr. McGovern Award: Chase Urban (Brentwood, Tenn.)
Presented when applicable, this award celebrates a relatively new official who shows talent and potential, recognizing the service of younger officials. This award is not awarded annually; instead, it is awarded when the Jr. McGovern Award committee, composed of previous John T. McGovern Award winners, receives a nominee deemed worthy of selection.
Currently a bronze badge chair umpire, Urban quickly made his way up the ladder due to his commitment to grow and improve, and has already officiated at pro events both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2019, Urban was recognized with the Jack Stahr Award, given to an official who is in one of their first three US Opens.
In his own words: "In March of 2018, I attended the BNP Paribas Open and I saw the chair umpires, line umpires out there, and I thought, 'This could be a really cool thing to do.' ... I was fortunate to get some opportunities, and the rest is history."
John T. McGovern Award: Greg Allensworth (North Canton, Ohio)
Given to an official with at least 10 years of service, the John. T. McGovern Award honors those who have made exceptional contributions to the profession. The award dates back to 1949, when McGovern himself presented a gold-plated trophy to the official who had contributed the most to umpiring that year. Awarded in perpetuity in his name, it is the USTA's highest officiating honor today.
Currently the U.S.'s only active gold badge chair umpire, Allensworth first starting officiating team sports as a student at Ohio University. He soon found his home in tennis and has since made it his full-time career, and now travels around the world to officiate at professional tennis events. In 2016, he officiated at all four Grand Slams and at the Olympics, completing the officiating "Golden Slam."
In his own words: "You're only as good as your last match; it doesn't matter your badge. ... You have to go out, every match—it doesn't matter what match you're doing—and you have to treat it like it's your last match, like it's your most important match, because for those players on the court at the time, it means the world to them."
Watch the full 2022 USTA umpire awards ceremony below.