March 9th, 2023
Inside Florida Tennis: Legacy of Jimmy Gantt Memorial Award
While USTA Florida awards someone with the Jimmy Gantt Memorial Award, many people aren’t aware of the legacy behind the prestigious prize. J. Jervey Gantt has been a staple in bringing youth tennis to Marion County and across the state.
His tireless efforts and contributions to the sport have made him a popular name in the Ocala tennis community. He has been a player, coach, director, and mentor, making a significant impact on the sport at every level.
In 1951, when he finished playing, Gantt moved to Ocala and became a director of the Ocala Recreation Department, which is now known as Ocala Recreation & Parks. He served as a coach and public figure to the community. Gantt was also the Secretary of the Board for the Florida Tennis Association, now known as USTA Florida.
J. Jervey Gantt has been recognized with numerous awards and honors over the years, including being inducted into the USTA Florida Hall of Fame in 1982.
He had a heavy impact in the junior space, as he was always finding new ways to get young children a chance to play the sport. This included his own children, one being Jimmy, who had cystic fibrosis. Despite this, Jimmy would still play tennis through the support of his family, especially his father. Jimmy died at the age of 17.
USTA Florida then founded the Jimmy Gantt Memorial Award, which has been handed out semi-annually since 1967. This award recognizes a junior tennis player throughout the state who has overcome a physical impairment or injury and continues to compete to the best of his/her ability and exhibits strong character and sportsmanship.
If you know someone who should be recognized with this award, visit ustaflorida.com/awards and or click our nomination form to give this individual their praise.