USTA Southwest 96th Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet
Albuquerque, N.M. - Nov. 14-15
The USTA Southwest had a busy weekend Nov. 14-15, holding its 96th Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet
. Award winners from the 2008 calendar year in several categories along with new Hall of Fame inductees Dick Johnson (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Bob Capron (Phoenix, Ariz.) were recognized and the executive board and staff strategized for 2009.
This year's Hall of Fame inductees included Dick Johnson
(Albuquerque, N.M.) and Bob Capron
(Phoenix, Ariz.), bringing the total number of Southwest inductees to 36. (See bio's of 2008 Hall of Fame Class below)
Both men were honored for their outstanding achievements and service to the game (read below for more info on our inductees).
The USTA Southwest also selected 11 award winners in a variety of different categories, honoring the Section's best organizations, volunteers, players, and others who have represented or served the section well in 2008.
Congratulations to each of our award winners and Hall of Fame inductees!
The USTA Southwest staff and key section volunteers also held a team building event at the famed El Pinto Restaurant
in Albuquerque on Friday evening. Pre-selected volunteer/staff combined teams had to prepare a special chili dish in a spirit of culinary cooperation.
A special league training meeting took place for the USTA Southwest Area League Coordinators on Saturday morning and several committees also met that day to plan out program priorities for the coming year. An afternoon of tennis followed at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center again pairing staff and volunteers in a friendly but competitive fashion.
On Saturday evening, the USTA Southwest Tennis Foundation put on a Silent Auction that raised $3,700 for tennis programs and activities in the Section. The evening followed with a banquet dinner that saluted our newest Hall of Famers and Award Winners. The banquet was emceed by USTA Southwest League Coordinator Bill Lucero.
A special 'thanks' goes out to everyone who made their way to Albuquerque for the weekend. Next year's Annual Meeting will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., at a date and time still to be set.
Read below to find out more about our newest inductees and our award winners by clicking on their names.
2008 USTA Southwest Award Winners
Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year: Faye Stokes (Roswell, NM)
Tournament Enrichment: Kurt Edelbrock (Taos, NM)
Junior Female Player of the Year: Mele Iongi (Mesa, AZ)
Junior Male Player of the Year: Andy Nguyen (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Junior Sportsmanship Award: Noelle Karp (Tucson, AZ)
Adult Player of the Year: Reggie Espinoza (El Paso, TX)
High School Coach of the Year: John Condes (Salpointe Catholic, Tucson, AZ)
Media Excellence Award: Toby Smith, Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)
NJTL Chapter of the Year: Family & Community Teaming for Students (FACTS) - Flagstaff, AZ
Outstanding Organizational Member of the Year: Four Hills Country Club (Albuquerque, NM)
Tennis Family of the Year: The Fulgenzi Family (Las Vegas, NM)
Outstanding Contributor to USTA League Tennis: Don Ball (Las Cruces, NM)
Hall of Fame Class 2008
Born and raised in Albuquerque, Johnson has been a fixture in the city's tennis community ever since he first began playing in the early 1950's as a junior at the city's Beverly Park Tennis Courts.
Rising up through the ranks as a junior, collegian, adult player, and tennis 'everyman', Johnson is one of the city's most identifiable and astute figures when it comes to the sport.
Johnson received a scholarship to play at the University of Albuquerque, and won the school's Athlete of the Year award in 1965-66. A USPTA certified teaching professional for more than 30 years and a past president of the USPTA Southwest, Johnson's life has been dedicated to teaching the sport. He's even worked at clubs owned by such tennis luminaries as Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.
But it's been at the grassroots level where Johnson's impact has been felt the most: Generations of young Albuquerqueans have learned to love the sport of tennis because of the man.
A true teacher at heart both in the classroom and on the court, Johnson is the originator of the New Mexico Grand Prix Junior Circuit, and one of the original coaches of the Northern New Mexico Tennis Association's Mid-School Tennis League, founded in 1996.
A middle school coach for the last twelve years at Hoover High, Johnson has also been an extremely successful coach of both the boys and girls programs at La Cueva High School the past 18 years, racking up an impressive 204-40 record (.836) winning percentage. He has won two state titles as a head coach, both in the last two years with the boys program.
Johnson has been also been a staunch supporter and advocate of USTA programs, most notably Jr. Team Tennis. Johnson regularly fields multiple Jr. Team Tennis squads in Albuquerque each summer, often directing teams to USTA Southwest Section Championships and on to the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, including this year.
A past president of the Northern New Mexico Tennis Association, Johnson is also an active volunteer within the USTA Southwest who has served on several committees in the past, and currently works with the Jr. Team Tennis and Awards Committees. Johnson has been a recipient of a lengthy list of community service awards from the USPTA, NNMTA and USTA Southwest, including his most recent distinction as the USTA High School Coach of the Year Award in 2005.
Bob Capron has spent the better part of the last 30 years as one of the more unsung yet important figures in the Phoenix area, tirelessly coordinating, scheduling, and overseeing the city's corps of USTA officials.
Capron has logged thousands of hours on the court himself as an official in tournaments ranging from the most local of local to NCAA events to the main show courts of ATP and WTA events, including the US Open. From teaching tournament directors how to conduct draws to line and chair training clinics, Capron has overseen the lion's share of duties when it's come to officiating. But Capron's main job has been making sure USTA tournaments have trained officials on site.
He helped create and institute the USTA Southwest's very first Code of Conduct form, and served as the Section's Officials Chairman from 1997-2005, the same years he also served on the USTA National Officials Committee. Since 1996, he has also served on the USTA Southwest Junior Council.
Capron has garnered a number of awards for his dedication and passion for officiating, including being named Arizona Interscholastic Association Official of the Year in 2000. He was a three-time winner of the USTA Southwest Official of the Year award (1997, '99, 2002), and was inducted into the USTA Phoenix Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.