While the Technical Meeting has traditionally
been the showcase for ASBA members' winning projects in its
annual awards program, it is also the place where Racquet Sports
Industry Magazine holds its first peek at the winners of each
year's Champions of Tennis honors.
This year, at the meeting held in Palm Desert, several ASBA
members were recognized, as was one individual with whom members
are very familiar. All winners were recognized in print in the
magazine's January 2012 issue. (For those who need the 4-1-1,
RSI is the largest trade magazine serving the
tennis industry. Its Champions of Tennis awards recognize those who
have made outstanding contributions throughout the year)
Leslie Coatings, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana, was named
Tennis Court Contractor of the Year. Leslie Coatings, which built
its first tennis court in 1954, has been involved with multiple
aspects of the athletic facility construction industry since that
time, and has completed more than 12,000 projects. Its principals,
Jerry Gray and David Nielsen, have been active in the industry and
in ASBA, serving on the board of directors, in multiple committees,
and having acted as presenters at meetings.
Leslie Coatings, which specializes in both tennis court and running
track construction and resurfacing, was a pioneer in the asphalt
maintenance industry, specializing in the application of liquid
coatings. The company includes a large staff as well as office,
warehouse and trucking capabilities, and has a territory that
includes the entire Midwest region.
Hinding Tennis of West Haven, Connecticut was named 10 and
Under Facility Developer of the Year for its work in not only
installing but actively promoting the concept of blended lines on
courts so that both children and adult's programming could be held.
Tom Hinding, owner of the company, has also helped tennis facility
managers apply for court improvement grant funding available from
the U.S. Tennis Association's facility grant program. The 10 and
Under Facility Developer of the Year award is a new honor in light
of the industry's increased emphasis on junior player development.
Lee Sponaugle, director of corporate accounts for Connor
Sport Surfaces International, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, was
named Sales Rep of the Year by RSI. Sponaugle was recognized for his
forward-thinking approach in promoting the Sport Court modular
surface as learning areas for children using the QuickStart Tennis
format for ages 10 and Under. Because of Sponaugle's work, and his
dedication to giving children new places to learn the game, Sport
Court has been recognized as the Official Modular Court for 10 and
Under Tennis by USTA.
Jeremiah Yolkut, the USTA’s manager of competitive play and
technical programs, was recognized as Wheelchair Tennis Champion of
the Year. Yolkut, a regular attendee at ASBA meetings, has been
working with the USTA’s wheelchair program for the last four years,
and has had a hand in helping wheelchair events from the grassroots
to the highest levels of international competition. Yolkut has been
instrumental in pushing grassroots grants for local wheelchair
programs. The grants program started about three years ago and
continues to grow; the USTA in 2011 increased to $50,000 the amount
available for wheelchair tennis grants, which go to organizations
such as CTAs, hospitals, businesses, etc. He has also been
instrumental in working out the logistics of helping U.S. teams to
go to international events.
"ASBA is proud of all those who were recognized," said Mark Brogan,
Chairman, "and we're honored that RSI Magazine chose them as
Champions of Tennis for 2011."
Information on RSI and the Champions of Tennis program, including a
list of other honorees, can be found on the magazine's website at