July 22nd, 2016

Dunedin School Tennis Whiz Susie Winship Named USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month

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susie winshipA great many junior champions, everyday school tennis players, Junior Team Tennis and eventual adult USTA League players have come out of the Tampa Bay area over the last 25 years — in no small part due to the dedication of Susan Winship, a career volunteer in and outside of the realm of school tennis.

Across Tampa Bay and just north of Clearwater, Fla., the town of Dunedin is home to Winship, whose true love is working with students and children, but her volunteer efforts have involved serving all players.

“Susie has been a dedicated tennis volunteer for 26 years,” says fellow volunteer Irene Tharin, who is the boys’ and girls’ tennis coach at Palm Harbor University High School north of Dunedin. “She has worked in every area of youth recreational tennis. She has recently volunteered regularly at the local high school helping with the after-school tennis club, their Play Day, and their varsity tennis team event.

“Susie volunteered at the recent Junior Team Tennis Team-Up event for the newly-formed JTT League in North Pinellas County. Susie makes herself available whenever needed for USTA Florida and is a valuable volunteer. She has served on the USTA Florida Recreational Tennis Council, and the last four years she has been on the USTA Florida Volunteer Council.”

A former teacher at Dunedin Middle School, for 13 years Winship oversaw an after-school tennis program which eventually became a school tennis club. The club annually competed in a year-end Tennis Jamboree, which she organized, against other middle school tennis clubs. The group also took a number of field trips, such as an excursion to see the U.S. Davis Cup team compete in nearly St. Petersburg.

Her efforts were not confined to the middle school arena. For 10 years she organized and ran an Elementary Fun Day at a local club, where 50 kids from each area elementary school who had a tennis unit in their Physical Education class attended. The event annually resulting in approximately 300 children getting further exposure to tennis.

Over the years she has also served as a local Junior Team Tennis coordinator (in 2001 receiving the USTA Florida Outstanding School Tennis Area Coordinator award), coached JTT teams, supported numerous Play Days and local events, assisted with tennis workshop trainings for P.E. teachers, contributing to the development of the USTA Florida Tennis Curriculum for the FCAT test for the State of Florida, and has served on local USTA Community Tennis Association (CTA) boards.

Winship was a high school and college player before she was sidelined with a knee issue. She may have never become a tennis volunteer and coach had she not been hooked by an in-school tennis training workshop 30-some years ago that lit a light bulb over her head.

“Back in the mid-’80s, we had an in-service training that illustrated how you could teach tennis to a large class,” she told the St. Petersburg Times. “After that, I was ready to get involved and to try to get others interested…I just love seeing kids get enthusiastic and excited about tennis, and I have enjoyed volunteering with events involving kids ever since.”

USTA Florida congratulates Susan Winship as the July 2016 USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month for her dedication to growing school tennis and serving all tennis lovers, youth and adult, by spreading the love of the game in the Tampa area.


Birthplace: Glenn Ridge, N.J.
Family: Husband Chuck Winship; daughter Kelley Clayton; granddaughters Riley (11) and Katie (7)
Favorite Movie: “Comedies, anything with Julia Roberts.”
Favorite Food: Flanksteak
Favorite Travel: “Anywhere near water or a beach.”
Favorite Shot: “Down-the-line slice or cut.”

From left: Susan Winship, Andy McFarland and Irene Tharin at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration Weekend

From left: Susan Winship, Andy McFarland and Irene Tharin at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration Weekend

My earliest tennis memory was…”When one of my childhood friends encouraged me to play tennis and I wound up on the high school tennis team.”

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be…”[USTA Florida Volunteer Manager & Meeting Planner] Lynne Salus, [USTA Florida President] Nancy Horowitz, and [fellow tennis volunteer] Irene Tharin. If they are not available, then golf with [USTA Florida Executive Director] Doug Booth, [former USTA Florida President] Bob Pfaender and [current USTA Florida Vice-President] Robert Hollis.”

When I am not playing tennis I am…”On the golf course, working in my yard, visiting my grandchildren.”

My best tennis memory is…”Playing for my junior college tennis team and making it to the state championships and making one of the only three points that our team got!”