Denny Schackter, USPTA Illinois District President
Over the last few years we have seen membership in the USPTA decrease here and
there. I am sure those that have dropped out have very valid reasons for doing so. I feel bad for those professionals.
We recently held our Midwest Conference in Aurora, IL. I believe we had about 150 pros attend from all of our Midwest States. Some came because of the great speakers, others because they wanted to fulfill their education credits, and still others came to catch up with old tennis buds.
One pro said to me, “Denny, you know why I am here?”
I answered, “No, why?”
He said, “Take a look at your Board. There’s a load of experience amongst those pros and I like to BS with them and maybe pick up a thing or two.”
I then asked our Board to give me some short bio points and found out if this pro is absolutely correct. Our Board is loaded with experience. A Midwest Conference is the only option to see everyone and tap into his or her vast experience.
Take a peek:
Scott Ansay, our Regional VP, has been an Elite Pro since 1998, Wisconsin Pro of the Year, and was a fine college tennis player at UW-Green Bay.
Michael Parker, President of Indiana, has been a terrific pro at Wildwood Racquet Club in Ft. Wayne, IN since 2004 and was Junior College All American at Tyler JC where he trained to become a tennis professional.
Mark Ficks, President of Michigan has been Michigan Pro of the Year twice, a USTA District Vice President, is currently a high school coach and his facility has been named a “Facility of the Year” in Michigan.
Mike Graff, Second Vice President for the USPTA Midwest, is a Tennis Director for Baseline Tennis in Michigan since 2004, played collegiately at Oakland University, has served the USTA Southeast Michigan Board, and played tennis continuously for 111 hours with three other pros to raise money and set records.
Dan Oliver is the Wisconsin District President. He has been a D1 College Coach at UW-Green Bay, a long time USPTA Pro in Appleton, WI and currently Junior Davis Cup Coach for the Badger State.
Chris Chopra is the Head Professional at Indiana University’s Rec Sports Tennis Facility, is a USPTA Master Pro, High Performance Coach, and is also a Third Vice President for the USPTA Midwest.
Cathy Thomas, the Ohio President, has been a USPTA Pro since 1985, a high school coach, fundraiser, advocate for tennis with school boards and city councils, and is a go to person at the Western & Southern Open event in Cincinatti.
Matt Davis, USPTA Midwest Secretary-Treasurer, chairs our newsletter, the Midwest Connection, is currently a country club racquet sports director. He has been a head pro at an indoor club as well. He’s been a USPTA member for 18 years and is a graduate of Ferris State’s Tennis Management Program.
Mark Faber, Division President, is a club tennis director, high school coach, head of a USTA National Task Force on High School Tennis, USTA Midwest Volunteer, and a graduate of the PTM program at Methodist University.
Your truly has been a USPTA member since 1974, Division 1 college coach, tennis industry rep, and a USTA volunteer for 25 years.
I am proud to serve on the Board. For any of you who have let your membership lapse, it’s not too late to tap into this talent and their willingness to aid you in your work. We hope to see you at our next Conference to be held August 18-19 in conjunction with the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. You’ll meet some great folks, and I am certain, walk away and say, “That pro was right. The USPTA Midwest Board has got ‘stuff!”