Dan James Receives
Educational Merit Award
USTA Northern | March 22, 2018
Dan James, formerly of St. Paul, Minn., and now of Seattle, was honored with the Tennis Education Merit Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in a special awards presentation at the USTA Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif. The Tennis Educational Merit Award is presented annually by the Hall of Fame to a man and a woman who have made notable contributions at the national level and have demonstrated leadership and creative skills in such areas as instruction, writing, organization, and promotion of the sport of tennis. The female winner of the award was Dr. Anne Smith, a former WTA star and world No. 1 in doubles who turned her retirement into an accomplished and impactful career in sport psychology and training.
Todd Martin, Chief Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame said, “At the International Tennis Hall of Fame we are committed to celebrating all that is great about our sport. ADVERTISEMENT We celebrate its history, and we celebrate its people—the inspiring champions and the dedicated leaders who have built tennis into the exciting, global sport that it is today. When we talk about celebrating tennis, we are committed to doing so at all levels – from junior tennis to rec tennis to the pro tours. We are very pleased to present these awards to three individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding and selfless commitment to inspiring participation and growth in the sport.”
A competitive tennis player from a young age, James’ first job out of college was as a teaching pro at a local club. In that role, James encountered wheelchair tennis for the first time during his professional development hours. He was awestruck by the sport, became a volunteer wheelchair tennis coach, and quickly found his career calling. In 2003, James became the national manager of Wheelchair Tennis for the USTA. As Head Coach for Team USA, James took five teams to Paralympic Games, with the Americans medaling each time. James also served as tournament director for the US Open Wheelchair Competition from 2013-15.
James’ tireless commitment has directly heightened visibility for wheelchair tennis and grown its participation immensely. Working from scratch he developed the template used by the USTA Wheelchair Tennis Department for all pathways into the sport from grassroots to Paralympic. He has authored training manuals for coaches and players and is an official certification tester for USPTA and PTR Wheelchair Certifications.
In addition to his work with the USTA, James served on the International Tennis Federation’s Wheelchair Tennis Advisory Panel for 11 years. He was also instrumental in the inclusion of wheelchair tennis inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which began in 2010. James stepped down from his role with the USTA in November 2016, but remains involved and continues to be a tireless advocate for Wheelchair Tennis and has also spent time working with the Positive Coaching Alliance.
"I would like to sincerely thank the USTA, where I worked from 2003 through 2016. They provided an opportunity for me to live a dream. A dream to make tennis relevant to all people. Thanks to that, I've really had an amazing experience in tennis," stated James. "I would also like to thank the International Tennis Hall of Fame who has made wheelchair tennis relevant by inducting our great athletes."