Three Inducted Into
New England Tennis Hall of Fame
James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | June 11, 2019
Media Contact: James Maimonis
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USTA NEW ENGLAND ENSHRINES HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2019
NEWPORT, RI- On Saturday, June 8, USTA New England inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame. Jeff Bearup (Duxbury, MA), Lesley Sheehan (Stoneham, MA) and George Ulrich (Waterford, CT) made up the Class of 2019 and were enshrined at the annual induction ceremony at the International Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.
“We are extremely proud to celebrate Lesley, Jeff and George as the Class of 2019. This is the highest honor in New England tennis, and these three individuals have excelled on and off the court throughout their careers. They truly deserve to be recognized with the greats that have preceded them,” said USTA New England President and CEO, Peter Parrotta.ADVERTISEMENT
Boston 25 TV news reporter, Evan White, emceed the event that saw nearly 200 people in attendance to support the newest inductees and 2019 award winners.
Alberto Garcia, of Chestnut Hill, MA, earned the Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award for lifetime achievement, and Ken and Dorcas Miller won the Irving Levine Award for their contribution to senior tennis.
“It was a truly humbling evening. It’s incredible to hear about the years, competitive spirit and love for the game all of the inductees and award winners have,” White said. “None of their different responsibilities, no matter how big or small, seem like work for them because the essence of tennis is what they love. They displayed that throughout the ceremony like they’ve done for so many years.”
The USTA New England Hall of Fame exists to recognize and honor New England tennis players and non-players whose achievements or volunteer contributions in tennis-related activities have been outstanding over a significant period of time. USTA New England has inducted 162 total members since the Hall’s inception in 1990.
Jeff Bearup- Duxbury, MA
Jeff Bearup has built a prestigious career as a top-tier coach and tennis professional in New England. The co-founder of the New England Academy of Tennis in Natick, MA, Bearup has coached hundreds of top-ranked juniors in New England, many of whom won Sectional and National Championships.
“About halfway throughout my career, everything changed as far as my awareness to what this is really all about. It’s about the life lessons and mentoring, and you can do so much off the court to make an impact,” Bearup said. “Although I’ve had a lot of accolades and successes, it’s way more than that for me, and that’s why I’m so grateful to be honored for making a difference in these kids’ lives.”
Bearup has also volunteered with USTA New England for the past 25 years. He currently serves as the chair of the Coaches Commission and was the past chair of the High Performance Committee and the National Selection Committee. He is a USTA National Faculty Coach and is a co-founder of USTA New England’s annual Women in Tennis Together (WITT) events.
For his continued dedication to New England junior tennis, Bearup has been recognized with a number of awards and achievements: Two-time winner of USTANE’s William Freedman Award for outstanding contribution to junior tennis; USTA New England’s Gardner Ward Chase Award for lifetime achievement; USPTA’s Joseph Dietz Bowl for contribution to New England tennis; Recipient of the USPTA National Industry Excellence Award; USPTA New England Coach of the Year.
“It doesn’t’ get any higher than this,” Bearup added. “This award is for the body of work, not a yearly accomplishment, and it’s a recognition of everything you’ve contributed throughout your tennis career. It’s the pinnacle, and I’m very honored to be recognized with those who have gone in before me.”
Following his retirement, Bearup co-founded Crosscourt Consulting, which helps families better understand and navigate junior and collegiate tennis systems.
Bearup was introduced and presented into the Hall of Fame by longtime friend, Tim Smith, and his 18-year-old student, Arda Cataltepe.
Lesley Sheehan- Stoneham, MA (Hometown- Reading, MA)
Lesley Sheehan has excelled as both a coach and a player throughout her career. The current coach of the Boston University Women’s Tennis Team, Sheehan has racked up an impressive slate of awards and accomplishments over her 34 seasons. She led her teams to 26 conference titles, 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, is an eight-time conference coach of the year, is a two-time USPTA New England Coach of the Year and in 2002, she won the USA Tennis New England Coach of the Year award.
Overall, the Stoneham, MA resident has compiled more than 400 wins and is in the Boston University Hall of Fame for her success as a coach and player.
As a junior player, Sheehan earned New England rankings from the 12s division all the way through the 18s and reached No. 1 in doubles in the 18s.
She went on to play four years at BU, where she had one of the most decorated careers in the school’s history. She was a three-time team MVP and two-time captain, and during her junior year, she became the first women’s tennis player in school history to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
During her collegiate career, she achieved a No. 1 NCAA New England ranking, No. 2 in the East and top-40 nationally. She compiled a career NCAA playing record of 54-16.
During her senior year in 1984, Sheehan received the Mildred Barnes Award, presented annually to the university’s outstanding female athlete. The same year, she also received the Scarlet Key Award, the highest honor given to a BU undergraduate.
Following graduation, Sheehan toured on the Pro Satellite Circuit, before returning to her alma mater as a coach.
“Tennis has always been my passion, and I just wanted to play it and be around it all the time,” Sheehan said. “This honor is special because it’s for New England. I grew up in New England, went to school in New England, and now I work in New England, so this is the biggest. I look to see who’s been inducted ahead of me and I can’t believe it.”
Sheehan was introduced and presented by her sister, Annemarie Baker.
George Ulrich, Waterford, CT (Hometown, Elizabethtown, PA)
George Ulrich, the Director of Tennis at Lyme Shores Tennis & Conditioning Center in East Lyme, CT, has been involved in tennis for 52 years. He has played New England and national tournaments for the past 50, and he’s been a teaching pro since 1973.
Ulrich has achieved an impressive seven New England No. 1 doubles rankings, countless top 5 New England rankings in singles and doubles and reached a top ranking of 21 nationally. His best playing memories include winning his first New England singles tournament in the 35s division and winning his first national category II doubles tournament in the 65s. Ulrich also captains and plays on a men’s 4.5 USTA League team.
When Ulrich isn’t competing himself, he’s busy teaching some of the top players in New England at Lyme Shores, where he’s been for the past 26 years.
“Tennis has provided me with a profession, introduced me to so many interesting people, and it’s given me a chance to work with a lot of different people, especially kids. It’s been a great experience to be able to volunteer my help and provide a lot of tennis opportunities for people that might not of had them,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich serves on the USTA New England Adult Players Committee, and he was a founding member of the New England Senior Tennis Foundation. In 1999, he received the Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to New England tennis.
Prior to his successful teaching career, Ulrich played four years of varsity tennis at the University of Connecticut, where he was a two-time winner of the Yankee Conference Championship.
Ulrich was introduced and presented by longtime friend and doubles partner, Tommie George.
“This is as good as it gets. I am so happy to have this recognition. It gives me a sense of accomplishment for the time I have put in, and it’s amazing to be recognized by so many of my peers who are so prominent in tennis,” Ulrich said.”
Alberto Garcia- Chestnut Hill, MA
Alberto Garcia, from Chestnut Hill, MA, has 38 years of experience teaching, coaching and more importantly, positively impacting the lives of those around him. He has coached at all levels, from 10 and under and elite juniors to college and adult players.
Garcia is currently a Senior Professional at the Weymouth Club and is the former assistant coach at Brandeis, where he helped lead the team to a Super 8 title.
He has coached juniors to become college players and adults to become stronger, more confident players and captains.
Garcia is revered in the tennis community for his dedication and passion for those he coaches and is widely known for remaining invested in his players even after their season or tournament comes to a close.
“I was and still am surprised that such a prestigious award was bestowed upon me when I’m sure there are other individuals better deserving of it. The more I look for an answer as to why, the more difficulty I have understanding this; how someone just doing his job and treating people the way they should be treated, was given such a significant honor,” Garcia said. “It is not for me to try to find the answer, but to humbly accept how others believe that during all these years involved in this wonderful sport, I have impacted, touched and contributed to their lives and the game of Tennis in New England.”
Ken and Dorcas Miller- Concord, MA
Ken and Dorcas Miller have been instrumental in the growth and development of senior tennis in New England. The husband and wife duo began playing tennis together in the 1970s, and in 2005, they together joined the New England Senior Tennis Foundation (NESTF) Board.
In 2006, Ken created the first and only NESTF website, for which he has been the webmaster for 13 years. This site is pivotal in keeping senior players in the know about all things senior tennis.
In 2010, the Millers proposed the idea of the Senior Slam summer circuit, which now in its 10th season, is more reputable than it’s ever been.
Dorcas is also a USTANE Hall of Famer (Class of 2013) in her own right, holding 15 No. 1 New England rankings at the time of induction.
“Dorcas and I are thrilled to get this award. We have been working to foster tennis for seniors for a number of years now. Tennis is a very good way for seniors to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes staying fit and being able to socialize,” Ken Miller said.
Nominations are now open for the 2020 Hall of Fame. Click here for more information or to nominate someone.
About USTA New England
USTA New England, one of 17 regional sections across the country that comprise the United States Tennis Association (USTA), is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting and developing the growth of tennis and increasing participation in the sport in New England by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, visit usta.com/newengland