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USTA Southwest Holds 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting

October 30, 2012 04:33 PM
El Paso, Texas - Airport Wyndham
Oct. 26-27, 2012
USTA Southwest held its' celebratory 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting, Oct. 26-27 in El Paso, Texas, as well as a Community Tennis Development Workshop in conjunction with the event to train and educate our volunteers. 

ComboPicWith a weekend theme of "Spread the Love", the two-day tennis extravaganza included a special on-court 10 and Under session with Boise State University men's tennis coach Greg Patton (pictured right - top), as well as from national staff members Anne Davis and Jason Jamison, that emphasized the fun aspect of organizing and coaching young kids in group sessions. 


Besides his Saturday morning workshop Patton was also the weekend's opening speaker, and he shared several enthralling, emotional stories, while imploring USTA members and organizers to play or volunteer  "for the feeling".

Several other weekend breakout sessions included outside-the-Section guests, including Bill Leong (USTA National Director, Diversity and Inclusion) and Steve Kappes (USTA Military Outreach), who was the weekend's closing speaker.

Another weekend session included a forum with young El Paso junior players Adin Ehrlich and Ethan Katz  (pictured center) , both of who are under 13 yeas old, but who started the Southwest Youth Foundation for Tennis (SWYFT) to encourage and give other opportunities for young players like themselves. 

The highlight of the weekend was the Awards and Hall of Fame banquet, with its 100-year theme. Fourteen different awards were given out (see list below) to honor Section on and off the court contributions.

Master of ceremonies for the event was Southern Arizona president Matt Gleason with USTA Southwest president Paul Burns assisting.

Three new inductees were put into the Hall of Fame, including former University of Arizona great Bill Lenoir (Tucson, Ariz.), the organization's founder Eugene Neff (El Paso, Texas) who started USTA Southwest in 1912
 , and former University of New Mexico legend and All-American, Jack Kennedy.

The event also concluded with a fundiraising Silent Auction and Wine Raffle for the Southwest Tennis Foundation.

Thanks to all those that came and attended this year's event in El Paso and for your unflagging support and effort on behalf of the USTA and our programs. Your assistance as volunteers in our efforts with the sport are greatly appreciated!

The 2013 event will take place in Phoenix next Novemeber at a location to be determined.


2012 USTA Southwest Award Winners 


JanaPerpich_CTVolunteerOfYear_12Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year: Jana Perpich - Flagstaff, Ariz.. (pictured, right)

For her tireless volunteer work on USTA Southwest and USTA Northern Arizona committees, as well as her work in developing USTA Northern Arizona programs like FACTS and USTA League tennis.

Tournament Enrichment: Meghan Houk, Tucson, Ariz.
Houk is one of the busiest tournament directors in the nation, hosting nearly 75 events this year. Her events typically have a very spirited feel to them, and her promotional and recruiting efforts to get players to participate are what set her apart.


*Family of the Year: The Rodriguez Family (Carlsbad, N.M..)
The Rodriguez family embodies giving back to the sport, as their family has been the linchpin to success of the Carlsbad High School boys and girls teams, as well as their work promoting NJTL in the city and their role in supporting a $1 million tennis complex for the school.

*NJTL Chapter of the Year: Americas NJTL (El Paso, Texas)
Low cost summertime program that has helped thousands of young kids be introduced to the game in El paso.

Junior Player of the Year (Female) - Maddie Pothoff  (Tucson, Ariz.)
Pothoff had an incredible year as the Top-ranked 16 year old in the Section, a Top 10 National ranking in the 14s division and a gold ball in doubles.

Junior Player of the Year (Male): Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Ponwith, a repeat winner from 2011,  continued his assault on Southwest tennis, dominating the Boys' 16s field with several tournament title victories, including the Southwest Junior Closed.

DanPrasil_ContribToLeagueTennis_12High School Coach of the Year: 
Laurie Martin (Tempe, Ariz.)
Martin, a fixture in the Arizona High School Tennis world, and a state champion in 2012, has been a servicable volunteer as well for the Central Arizona district.

Outstanding Contributor to USTA League Tennis: Dan Prasil (Tucson, Ariz.) - pictured, right
Though Prasil can no longer play on teams, he has done an outstanding job captaining many and being a passionate advocate for the program in Tucson.

*Junior Sportsmanship: Alex Lawson (Tempe, Ariz.)
Lawson, a freshman at University of Notre Dame, had a stellar junior career, and received multiple sportsmanship awards for his play throughout his tenure as a Southwest junior player.


Adult Player of the Year: Jimmy Parker (Santa Fe, N.M..) 

Parker finished No. 2 in Men's 65 singles and doubles, and anchored a Super Senior team that captured the ITF World Super Senior championship in Croatia.

*Member Organization of the Year: Bill Ellis Tennis Center  (El Paso, Texas.)  

The Ellis Tennis Center has been a strong proponent and supporter of USTA programs, and hosted several USTA Southwest championship events in late 2011 and 2012.

RobertTapia_AmericasNJTL_12Dianne Miller Courage in Tennis: Shelley Burt (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Burt is one of the section's best wheelchair players, but his story of overcoming odds to defeat his disability is well known in Albuquerque and beyond.


*Media Excellence: Bill Knight (El Paso Times - El Paso, Texas)
Knight has always been an educated tennis voice and supporter of the sport through his work for the El Paso Times, giving the sport coverage in a variety of realms including Pro Circuit, leagues, high school, and feature pieces that tell who's who in the El Paso tennis community.

President's Award: Robert Tapia (El Paso, Texas) - pictured, right
Tapia, whose Americas NJTL was also honored, has been a high school coach for more than three decades in El Paso, and is one of the city's most recognizable tennis figures.

Nearly 10,000 kids have come through his high school and NJTL programs in that time.


*National awards: These USTA Southwest Award winners will be submitted for USTA national awards consideration in these categories.




Longevity and success on the court was what impressed the USTA Southwest Hall of Fame Committee about our newest inductees, Bill Lenoir (Scottsdale/Tucson, Ariz.) and Jack Kennedy (Albuquerque, N.M.). A nod back to our storied past was also the reason our founder, Eugene Neff, on the 100-year anniversary of the organization, was also put in. Neff, and a gang of tennis enthusiasts from across our regions in the summer of 1912, formed the organization we know know today as USTA Southwest .

These three men's inductions now bring the Southwest Hall of Fame to a total of 47 members.


BILL LENOIR (Scottsdale/Tucson, Ariz.

Lenoir is one of the best tennis players to ever come out of Tucson and was one of the top juniors in the Southwest, and, indeed America in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

Lenoir had a terrifically distinguished junior career, twice an Arizona state high school champion for Tucson High (1959-60), and reached the top ranking in the country as an 18 year old high school senior. He also captured the Boys 18s National Hard Court Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. , as well as a victory at the prestigious international junior event, the Orange Bowl in 1960. He was known for his tenacity on the court as well as being one of the first-ever players to hit two-handed off both forehand and backhand wings.

Lenoir decided to play tennis for his hometown squad, the University of Arizona, and had arguably the greatest college tennis career ever for a Wildcat (1962-64). A former first-team All-American (three times), Lenoir reached the singles quarterfinals in the NCAA in 1961 and 63 and the semifinals in 1962. His University of Arizona squads finished third and fourth in the nation, the best-ever rankings in school history. After graduating from U of A, Lenoir played in the singles main draw at Wimbledon twice (1964 and 1965) as well as the French and US Opens.

After a short amateur career, he pursued graduate mathematics/engineering degrees from both Arizona and Arizona State, and actually coached both schools' tennis teams in the late 1960's and early 1970s.

After leaving Arizona State in 1972, Lenoir became the teaching pro at Scottsdale Chaparral Racquet Club for a decade (1974-1984) before moving to TampPalisades1

a, Florida. Lenoir taught at the Tampa Yacht and Racquet Club for 21 years before passing away in 2007 of thyroid cancer. During the years he lived in Scottsdale,

Bill served as an official for the Fiesta Bowl Junior Tennis Tournament (which has since become the USTA Winter Nationals.) He was also actively involved with the USPTA for more than 25 year and developed many high school champions, and nationally-ranked and collegiate players as an instructor.  He is also a member of the University of Arizona Wildcat Hall of Fame and the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

JackKennedy_2012_HOFJACK KENNEDY (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Like Lenoir, Kennedy's tennis heydays were the 1950s and 1960s and made an impact as a collegiate player for his hometown. Kennedy was born in Montana, but has lived and resided in Albuquerque since he was six years old.

He​ was a former Southwest junior champion as well as a state titlist for Highland High School in 1956.

Kennedy stayed in Albuquerque after graduating from high school, and became one of the greatest all-time players at University of New Mexico.

He had an undefeated collegiate season in 1957, a rare feat, and became the school's first ever All-American in the sport of tennis in 1958.

Upon completing his degree in Biology from UNM, Kennedy entered Baylor Dental School where he graduated with honors. After dental school, he entered the Air Force and served his country as an officer.

Kennedy played well into his 60s and early 70s, winning nearly 100 age group tournaments from juniors through senior competition.

Kennedy was also a renowned dentist in the Albuquerque area, expert witness to several high-profile cases and freelance writer for various publications, including as a contributing editor to Dental Economics magazine.