Awards & Achievements, December 2021
USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual ceremony honored 2021 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. During the event, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis both locally and nationally.
Bud Spencer Honored with USTA League Volunteer Award
James (Bud) Spencer of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., was honored with the USTA League Volunteer Award, presented by MaliVai Washington on Wednesday. The award, established in 2015, recognizes and honors the many volunteers who have provided leadership and have made significant contributions to the growth and enhancement of USTA Leagues, both in their section and nationally.
Spencer has been a tennis volunteer with the USTA for more than 30 years from the local to the national level, all of which include service to the USTA League program. He served in various positions in USTA South Carolina and was President and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2004-05. He served on many committees in USTA Southern since 1996, and was chairman of the State Presidents' Group for USTA Southern in 2005. He was elected to the USTA Southern Board of Directors in 2007 as a Delegate-at-Large and later held the position of president and CEO of the section. Spencer served the USTA National League Committee with distinction for 10 years.
Dream Court honored with Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award
Dream Court of Montgomery, Ala., is the recipient of the 2021 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award, bestowed in recognition of continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community. The award was presented by Jim Courier on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Dream Court founder and director Jessica Weyreuter made the decision to resign from her position as the Director of Junior Tennis at the Montgomery Country Club in order to devote her full time and attention to running Dream Court’s adaptive tennis program.
Racquet Sports Industry 2021 Champions of Tennis Awards
Click here for RSI magazine story. Text below courtesy of Racquet Sports Industry.
Lifetime Achievement Award: John Callen, Johns Creek, GA
Over the span of half a century, including the last three decades as the executive director of the USTA’s largest section, John Callen’s contributions to the tennis world have been vast. He was a noted junior and college player, has been a standout coach and volunteer, and, ultimately, a leading tennis executive who has set a high bar in this industry. Now, as he heads toward retirement at the end of January, after serving as executive director of USTA Southern for the past 32 years, Racquet Sports Industry magazine is thrilled to honor Callen as the inaugural recipient of RSI’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Second Serve Podcast (Carolyn Roach, Erin Conigliaro), Cary, NC
Every week, from their base in the Cary, N.C., area, Carolyn Roach and Erin Conigliaro co-host the Second Serve Podcast (secondservepodcast.com), geared toward adult recreational players. Topics run the gamut—including coverage from National Championships, dealing with tennis insecurities, exchanging team lineups, advice from teaching pros, and rules USTA players should know, but often don’t.
Wheelchair Tennis Champions of the Year: Jennifer Edmonson, Baton Rouge, LA
Jennifer Edmonson is a pioneer when it comes to wheelchair tennis. More than 25 years ago, she volunteered at the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge, La. About fi ve years after that, she took on the role of tournament director. The tournament is a Super Series event on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and easily of one of the premier wheelchair tennis tournaments in the country, twice winning USTA Southern Wheelchair Tournament of the Year honors.
Adaptive Tennis Champion of the Year: Jim Hamm, Marietta, GA
Thanks to Jim Hamm’s energy, passion and leadership, Special Populations Tennis is widely recognized as a fl agship organization for adaptive tennis well beyond its home state of Georgia and USTA Southern.
Adult Tennis Provider of the Year: Lake Norman Tennis Association, NC
The Lake Norman Tennis Association is rapidly growing tennis in North Carolina, and particularly shines in its opportunities for adult beginners. For example, in 2021, LNTA’s “Try Tennis” program attracted more than 200 adult players and is now converting those enthusiasts into leagues. Another popular o ering is the “ServeAces MiniTennis Bar League”—ServeAces is a play on “cervezas,” the Spanish word for beer—a social league that plays in bars and breweries with pop-up nets, foam balls and 21- inch racquets.
Cee Jai Jones receives Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Champion Award
Cee Jai Jones has received Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Champion Award by the 2022 National Diversity & Leadership Conference.
Jones is the Director, Diversity, NJTL, and Grants for USTA Southern. She manages and executes the section’s diversity and inclusion strategy while overseeing all aspects of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL), grants, and scholarships. She has been with the section since 2015 and has worked in the tennis industry for 12 years. She joined USTA Southern after five years as Program Director of the Atlanta Youth Tennis & Education Foundation NJTL, 11 years with the Boys & Girls of Metro Atlanta, and employment with the City of Atlanta Parks & Recreation and Black Family Channel.
Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Mercer University and is a 2019 graduate of the DiversityFirst Certification Program. Recognized as a National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional (NDCCDP), she is also a certified United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR) Instructor. She is the proud mother of a daughter, Dr. Khali Jones, a public health veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Orange Bowl success
At the prestigious Orange Bowl, Andrew Delgado, of High Point, NC, and Tanney Povey, of Florida, won the Boys’ 16s doubles title. Piper Charney, of Mt. Pleasant, SC, and Anya Murthy, of Fremont, CA, captured the Girls 16s’ doubles crown. Chase Fralick, of Peachtree City, GA, was a finalist in the Boys' 16s doubles.