Dan James Named Paralympics
Coach of the Year
USTA Northern | September 5, 2017
The USTA announced that five distinguished tennis coaches, including Dan James (formerly of St. Paul, Minn., and now of Seattle, Wash.) have been honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) for their contributions to the sport of tennis in 2016. James received the USTA Paralympics Coach of the Year Award. Other honorees include: Dave Ramos, USTA Doc Councilman of the Year; David Witt, USTA National Coach of the Year; Henner Nehles, USTA Co-Developmental Coach of the Year and Mike Gennette, USTA Co-Developmental Coach of the Year.
“The 2016 USOC Award recipients represent the best and brightest of Team USA,” said Martin Blackman, USTA Player Development General Manager. “Mike Genette and Henner Nehles did a tremendous job in collaborating to support Kayla Day, along with many other top junior girls. ADVERTISEMENT David Witt's professionalism and skill as a professional coach, working with Venus Williams, has been a great example for aspiring pro coaches around the country. David Ramos' work in leading USTA Player Development's Analytics Team has established him as one of the best analysts in the world. And Dan James’ work with wheelchair tennis players, as an administrator and a coach, has made the sport more visible in the U.S., inspiring hundreds of wheelchair athletes around the country. What a great class of Team USA leaders!”
Ramos is the manager of coaching and education & performance. In this role, he created and manages the USTA Athlete Management System (AMS) and also established the Data Analytics Program, which includes both tactical and technical analysis and match scouting, based at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. His data findings have generated injury prevention methods and scouting reports for more than 100 of the top national and professional players and coaches. Ramos’ scouting data was used at the U.S. Davis Cup, Fed Cup, US Open and Wimbledon spread over 1,200 matches of both U.S. and international players. Ramos utilizes PlaySight technology and virtual reality to set new, high standards for tennis innovation.
Witt served as the full-time coach of five-time Olympic medalist Venus Williams in 2016, during which she captured the silver medal in mixed doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Under Witt’s guidance, Williams’ 2016 Grand Slam tour consisted of an appearance in the 2016 Wimbledon semifinals, her first semifinal appearance in six years. Williams also achieved her highest ranking in five years after her appearance in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif.
Nehles coached Kayla Day in her debut year as a professional player. Nehles helped Day to a US Open girls’ singles title and a 2016 USTA girls’ 18s crown. In addition, Day reached the Wimbledon girls’ singles semifinals, picked up her first career title at the 2016 Tennis Classic of Macon and won the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge to earn a main-draw spot at the first Grand Slam of 2017. Most importantly, he helped Kayla grow into a better professional on and off the court.
Gennette, in his 25th season as head coach at California Lutheran University, has been an exemplary coach to collegiate and professional players, as well as an executive figure to the USPTA. Gennette has coached Claire Liu to victory at the Wimbledon in 2016 girls’ doubles, Kayla Day to the Wimbledon’ girls’ singles semifinals the US Open girls’ singles title, and Austen Huang to the No. 1 USTA Boys’ 18s spot. Over his career, Gennette coached 11 CLU athletes to All-American honors. He is also a member of the USPTA National Executive Committee and National Finance Committee.
James had been the head coach for the Paralympic tennis team for 17 years. He coached David Wagner and Nick Taylor to medal finishes at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, with Wagner earning bronze in quad singles and the duo taking home the silver in quad doubles. James led the junior team to a second consecutive World Championship at the 2016 World Team Cup in Tokyo. Beyond his role as the Paralympic coach, James has served as an ambassador to the sport, traveling to third world countries and teaching local athletes and coaches.