• Local Award Winners at USTA Florida Annual Meeting

    Alachua County tennis was very well represented at the recent 2010 USTA Florida Annual Awards, which were presented during the 61st annual USTA Florida Annual Meeting and Volunteer Weekend, held on Dec. 3-5, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. Jonesville Tennis Center received the prestigious Member Organization of the Year Award, and Linda Green won Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinator of the Year. The individuals and organizations were honored during the Saturday awards luncheon presentation, and the Sunday “Breakfast with the Stars”.

    REPRINTED FROM:http://www.florida.usta.com/usta_florida_61st_annual_awards_presentation_highlights_tennis_standouts111/

    USTA Florida 61st Annual Awards Presentation Highlights Tennis Standouts

    MEMBER ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR

    Jonesville Tennis Center in Gainesville
    (Accepting the award, David Porter)
    “Overnight Sensation”

    Much like an actor or singer who vaults from obscurity to superstardom in a relatively short period of time, the Jonesville Tennis Center (JTC) exceeded all expectations since opening in April 2009 as a result of a multi-year community effort that resulted in over $500,000 in donations and in-kind contributions.

    An American Sports Builder Association award winner for Outstanding Facility in the Outdoor Tennis category, the JTC was built to alleviate the overuse of other facilities as well as to grow the game of tennis in the Alachua County area. During its brief existence, the facility has already hosted numerous USTA league teams and multiple USTA junior tournaments as well as helped promote and facilitate USTA Jr. Team Tennis and the USTA QuickStart program.

    In terms of league play, the Jonesville Tennis Center has been a significant supporter, which is evidenced by the fact that in 2010 alone the facility hosted 17 adult league teams, 10 senior league teams, 5 super senior league teams, 12 adult mixed doubles teams, 5 senior mixed doubles teams, 16 combo adult teams, and 2 combo senior teams.

    JR. TEAM TENNIS LOCAL LEAGUE COORDINATOR OF THE YEAR

    Linda Green of Gainesville
    “High Hopes”

    According to those who know Linda Green, who serves as area league coordinator of the Gainesville USTA Jr. Team Tennis League, she has done an outstanding job of growing the program thanks to her singular dedication, heart, endurance, skills, and diplomacy. In addition to caring about each child, she works closely with the parents and coaches to ensure that each team has an enjoyably competitive experience at the local level.

    Since taking over the league in the summer of 2006, which was on a hiatus for several years, she has increased participation figures each year. In the fall of 2009, there were 175 players comprising 21 teams; in the spring of 2010, that number swelled to 230 players comprising 24 teams. Additionally, teams from the Gainesville league have attended numerous sectional tournaments over the past several years and experienced great success.

    As if her volunteer agenda wasn’t busy enough, Linda also serves as president of the Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association, which provided funding for a pilot program introducing the 10-and-under QuickStart play format at three local elementary schools during the fall of 2009. The program’s success was demonstrated this year (2010-2011) when Quick Start tennis was introduced in almost all the Alachua County elementary schools’ after-school programs. Regardless of the situation, Linda Green maintains decorum and a level-headedness that ensures a solid solution to each crisis, resulting in a boost for junior tennis in Gainesville and the 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinator of the Year award.

  • New Tennis Pro Shop at Westside Park Open For Business

    Mike Oransky Tennis, located at Westside Park, is a professionally staffed, full service tennis center that has offered quality programming to the public for many years. However, the operations of this facility were crammed into a tiny, increasingly dilapidated “tennis hut”. In spite of the considerable need for a better facility and restrooms, funding for a pro-shop simply never materialized. Finally, at the Climb for Cancer charity tennis exhibition in February, 2009, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan promised all the attendees that a new tennis pro-shop would be built at Westside Park.

    The passage of the Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) ½ cent sales tax initiative by the citizens of Alachua County has allowed the construction of much-needed renovations and upgrades to many parks in the Gainesville/Alachua County area.

    The City of Gainesville placed construction of a new tennis pro-shop on the list of WSPP projects. When the actual income from the sales tax was found to be considerably less than the projected income, a re-prioritization of the projects took place. Thanks to a large turnout of tennis enthusiasts at a city commission meeting, the pro-shop/restroom facility was retained on the list. Ground-breaking took place in March, 2010, and the building, complete with restrooms, storage space, office, and pro-shop was completed in June, 2010.

    Old tennis hut (to the left)

    After-new tennis pro-shop at Westside

    Inside of new pro-shop, with Roy at the helm. Snacks, racquet stringing, and slushies now available!
  • Welcome to Amanda Tobin, New USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator (TPC)

    Amanda Tobin, a graduate from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Sports Management, always envisioned herself moving to Florida after college. Fortunately for her the position of Tennis Program Coordinator for the North Central Florida region became available and she joined the USTA Florida team in June 2010.

    Amanda was born and raised in Marietta, GA. She began her career with the USTA as a marketing intern during the summer of 2009 for the Southern Section. She then took a job as the Administrative Assistant for USTA Georgia and enjoyed learning about Adult Leagues, Junior Team Tennis, and QuickStart. She explained “Everyone I have met that is involved with the USTA has an incredible passion for tennis and makes me proud to be involved with such an amazing organization!”

    (L to R) Linda Green, Jeanette Parker, Amanda Tobin, Libby Smith, Christine Shurtleff, and Lee Johnson

    In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, going to baseball games (she will always be a Braves fan no matter where she lives), spending time with friends and family, and hiking with her dog Georgia (a husky/shepherd mix rescue).

    In her role as Tennis Program Coordinator for North Central Florida, Amanda will work with the Local League Coordinators, Tennis Directors, Teaching Pros, Volunteers, and other tennis enthusiasts to promote, develop and grow USTA Florida’s flagship programs of League Tennis, Jr. Team Tennis, and QuickStart Tennis.

  • Bobbie Mehan Named USTA Florida June Volunteer of the Month

    Excerpted from:http://www.usatennisflorida.usta.com/mehan_gainesville_quickstart_tennis_guru_named_usta_florida_june_vom/July 1, 2010

    Gainesville’s Bobbie Mehan began volunteering for USTA Florida roughly two years ago, and in that span she has radically changed how tennis is taught to 10-and-under players, not only at her club but throughout the city. Her volunteering has paralleled the rise of QuickStart Tennis, which was introduced roughly two years ago, and is rapidly being adopted as the “t-ball of tennis” for teaching 10-and-under children.

    When the Jonesville Tennis Center opened in Gainesville in early 2009, Mehan was immediately on board to help organize junior players and implement a new program that wasn’t being used at any other club in Gainesville — QuickStart Tennis.

    “We started with five kids the first season, then 10 kids the second season, now in our third season we have four different clubs doing QuickStart league play,” Mehan says. “What happens is the kids come every week and take a lesson and leave, unless you get them involved in league or tournament play. And then it becomes more of a team sport, and it becomes a lot more fun.”

    Mehan developed into the QuickStart director for the Jonesville facility, in addition to captaining several of the USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) squads. This year Mehan was hand-picked by USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone as one of five sites across Florida to host pilot QuickStart tournaments, and Jonesville hosted its first QuickStart tournament this past May.

    “QuickStart tournaments are the vision for the future for competitive 10-and under-tournaments,” Gladstone said. “Bobby is one of five top-notch tournament directors who will keep Florida on the right path in QuickStart tournaments.”

    In addition to captaining Gainesville’s “G-Power” USTA Jr. Team Tennis squad to the state 12-Advanced title this year, edging out Orlando’s “The Acers,” Mehan has helped other clubs merge teams to participate in the state championships, has coordinated after-school QuickStart programs at eight area elementary schools, a season-ending Tennis Fun Day for 130 kids, and provided clinics at area high schools for disabled children.

    “Bobbie has been instrumental in introducing QuickStart Tennis into after-school programs and several local facilities,” said Gainesville USTA league coordinator Linda Green. “She helped get other pros in the area familiar with QuickStart and urged them to offer the format at their facilities. Bobbie is organizing a series of QuickStart tournaments – the first ones in the Gainesville area. She knows how to make tennis fun and really connects with players of all ages. I’m really excited that Bobbie is being recognized by USTA Florida for all of her hard work.”

    Mehan’s love of tennis dates to her junior and high school days in Kansas, where with her older sister Bonnie she won the Kansas High School Doubles State title. Honored as USTA Florida’s June 2010 Volunteer of the Month, Mehan is a medical journal administrative assistant by day, but by evenings and on weekends changes, without the need for a phone booth, into a super volunteer for USTA Florida and Gainesville’s junior tennis population.

    “I started playing tennis in the USTA Missouri Valley Section when I was nine, and tennis has been such a huge part of my life,” Mehan said. “I want all kids to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport!”

    “QuickStart tournaments are the vision for the future for competitive 10-and under-tournaments,” Gladstone said. “Bobby is one of five top-notch tournament directors who will keep Florida on the right path in QuickStart tournaments.”

    In addition to captaining Gainesville’s “G-Power” USTA Jr. Team Tennis squad to the state 12-Advanced title this year, edging out Orlando’s “The Acers,” Mehan has helped other clubs merge teams to participate in the state championships, has coordinated after-school QuickStart programs at eight area elementary schools, a season-ending Tennis Fun Day for 130 kids, and provided clinics at area high schools for disabled children.

    “Bobbie has been instrumental in introducing QuickStart Tennis into after-school programs and several local facilities,” said Gainesville USTA league coordinator Linda Green. “She helped get other pros in the area familiar with QuickStart and urged them to offer the format at their facilities. Bobbie is organizing a series of QuickStart tournaments – the first ones in the Gainesville area. She knows how to make tennis fun and really connects with players of all ages. I’m really excited that Bobbie is being recognized by USTA Florida for all of her hard work.”

    Mehan’s love of tennis dates to her junior and high school days in Kansas, where with her older sister Bonnie she won the Kansas High School Doubles State title. Honored as USTA Florida’s June 2010 Volunteer of the Month, Mehan is a medical journal administrative assistant by day, but by evenings and on weekends changes, without the need for a phone booth, into a super volunteer for USTA Florida and Gainesville’s junior tennis population.

    “I started playing tennis in the USTA Missouri Valley Section when I was nine, and tennis has been such a huge part of my life,” Mehan said. “I want all kids to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport!”

  • Adam Shugar Awarded Youth Tennis Foundation Scholarship

    Adam Shugar, of Newberry, Florida, was recently awarded a $500 Kelley Scholarship by the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida. This year, there were over 50 applications and many fine candidates for the awards, but only six individuals were awarded $500 scholarships and two $250 scholarships. Nominations for the scholarships were made by Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinators and captains. Pierce Kelley, who the scholarship is named after, presented the award to Adam at the Jonesville Tennis Center. Mr. Kelley, a past-president of the organization, is an attorney, author, educator, and life-long tennis player (<a href=”http://www.piercekelley.com/” target=”_blank”>www.piercekelley.com</a>).
    Established in 1962, the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida Inc. is a nonprofit organization that offers support for the development of youth tennis in Florida. Their primary goal is to introduce children to the benefits of tennis, and the group provides scholarships, grants and awards to deserving players,
    coaches and tennis facilities. For more information about this organization, go to <a href=”http://ytf-fl.org/” target=”_blank”>http://ytf-fl.org</a>.
    Congratulations, Adam!

    Adam Shugar, of Newberry, Florida, was recently awarded a $500 Kelley Scholarship by the Youth

    Tennis Foundation of Florida. This year, there were over 50 applications and many fine candidates for the awards, but only six individuals were awarded $500 scholarships and two $250 scholarships. Nominations for the scholarships were made by Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinators and captains. Pierce Kelley, who the scholarship is named after, presented the award to Adam at the Jonesville Tennis Center. Mr. Kelley, a past-president of the organization, is an attorney, author, educator, and life-long tennis player http://piercekelley.com

    Established in 1962, the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida Inc. is a nonprofit organization that offers support for the development of youth tennis in Florida. Their primary goal is to introduce children to the benefits of tennis, and the group provides scholarships, grants and awards to deserving players, coaches and tennis facilities. For more information about this organization, go to http://ytf-fl.org

    Congratulations, Adam!