HOF’s Ryan Harry
James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | April 22, 2019
NEWPORT, RI- From the age of 15, coaching tennis has been Ryan Harry’s calling. Beginning on Sanibel Island in Florida, and traveling to Southern California and Boston, Harry’s 20-year career has led him to Newport, RI, where he currently works as the head professional at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Harry works with players of all ages and abilities and recently took on the tennis instruction for the Hall of Fame’s new NJTL (National Junior Tennis & Learning) chapter, TeamFAME. Harry is a certified USPTA and PTR professional, through which he earned prestigious honors in 2019, and he also serves on the USTA Rhode Island Board of Directors.
As part of USTA New England’s Provider Appreciation Month, we are highlighting local tennis providers who show a love and passion for giving back to the game of tennis.ADVERTISEMENT
“Tennis is my true passion. It’s what I know and love. To be a provider means that I have the opportunity to instill the passion I have for this game onto others. To me, this is priceless,” Harry said.
USTA New England caught up with Harry to learn more about his love for the game and to discuss his current role at the Hall of Fame.
How did you get your start in coaching?
I started playing tennis at the age of 8 in southwest Florida, Sanibel Island to be exact. When I was 15, I received a job as a hitter and court cleaner. I always looked up to the coaches at the club where I worked. I was a tennis fanatic and thought to myself how amazing that would be to have a job where I taught and played tennis all day. The following season an assistant pro called in sick last minute and I received my first coaching opportunity. That year, I became a part-time professional, and the following summer, I was hired by the same club as a full-time professional.
What is the most exciting part about your day to day at the Hall of Fame?
I have worked at the Hall of Fame for four years now and I thoroughly enjoy my time on court with my students. There’s no better feeling than helping a fellow tennis fan get better at a game they love as well.
What lessons do you try and instill into your new players?
That tennis is a journey and an investment in your health and well-being. Tennis is truly a sport that you can play for most of your life. How lucky are we to have found it, right?! Enjoy the process and each time you come to the courts, remind yourself that tennis is a game.
Talk about the impact of TeamFAME.
To influence positive change for the local community through our NJTL chapter, “TeamFAME”, is an extremely rewarding experience. Thus far we have had a large retention rate throughout the year, which has allowed for progression and development with our students’ character, school and tennis performance. What I enjoy most about this program is that we’re acting as a vessel for locals to have opportunity that they may not have had otherwise.
What is your favorite memory from your time at the Hall of Fame?
I have lots of great memories, however I would say the most memorable moment was the first day I walked through the main entrance as an employee. To walk through the tunnel on Bellevue and see the beautiful Horseshoe Court, the museum, the back courts, all as a part of the Hall of Fame team, was surreal and special.
What is your most meaningful tennis accomplishment?
This year I was selected as both 2019 PTR RI Member of the Year and 2019 USPTA RI Tennis Professional of the Year. I feel this must be my answer here based on the respect I have for both educational organizations and the pride and appreciation I have been recognized by my peers. I am an avid supporter of continued education, as I feel it’s mandatory for myself, my employees and my surrounding coaches so that we can grow the future of tennis with our best foot forward. It’s an honor to receive such accolades by two of the top educational organizations in the world.
What items do you always carry around in your tennis bag?
Apart from the obvious, extra clothes for those days with many hitting lessons, mints for the reasons we all have mints, elastic bands for on-court work with players, protein bars because the “hi” and “goodbye” of a lesson is lunch time, and business cards because how else are we going to stay in touch?
To learn more about Harry as well as the rest of the teaching staff at the Hall of Fame, click here.