June 28th, 2017
Ocala’s MacMurray Named Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month
If you’ve spent your life grinding out matches on the tennis court without moving up the ladder, or playing years of USTA League tennis without advancing to nationals (or even sectionals), you may want to stop reading the story of USTA League captain extraordinaire Alan MacMurray.
Or see if you can join one of his teams.
While the Ocala resident took up tennis only four years ago, he’s already made five trips to the USTA League National Championships.
“I remember [four years ago] getting home and being told that our local league coordinator was expecting me at practice in one hour,” said MacMurray, whose wife committed him to a team. “Having never played the game before, I raced to WalMart and spent $32 on my first racket.”
That year his Mixed 18 & Over 2.5 team representing USTA Florida finished runner-up at the USTA League National Championships in Tucson, Ariz., to a team from Ponce, Puerto Rico, representing the USTA Caribbean Section. Since then MacMurray has upgraded his equipment both on and off the court.
The small-business operator (“Excel and Google were already my life”) uses spreadsheets to manage a playing schedule that includes an average of 8-10 teams per year.
“I was recruited to play on multiple teams at the same time — being 55-plus has it’s advantages — so it became necessary to captain them in order to manage my schedule,” he says. “Managing teams, often four at a time with sectionals sprinkled in, is no big deal.”
Playing out of the Ft. King Tennis Center, a facility renowned for producing novice-level teams that go on to win USTA Florida League Sectionals year after year, MacMurray’s 2.5-3.5 teams have been a driving force in state league play.
“I’ve been to nationals five times, and won it once, and to sectionals so many times that Jodi [Manning, USTA Florida leagues coordinator] no longer asks for my I.D.,” MacMurray said. “Just kidding.”
Local USTA League coordinator Leigh Chak says MacMurray’s strengths include keeping tabs on opportunities and keeping it fun.
“Alan captains teams in every division,” Chak said. “When the USTA makes a new league he immediately forms a team to play in it. He believes that practice is just as important, and fun, as the matches so his players get to play a lot of tennis. He is super organized and communicates well. He actively recruits from all age groups and does everything he can to foster a feeling of family and community with all his teams.”
Thus far in 2017 MacMurray has captained and/or played on teams in the USTA League 18 & Over 3.5 and 4.0; 40 & Over 3.5 and 4.0; 55 & Over 3.5; Mixed 18 & Over 7.0 and 8.0; and Mixed 40 & Over 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 divisions. If you weren’t counting, that’s 10 league teams in six months.
“Teams now have all my friends, who also practice together every Tuesday and Thursday nights just for fun and laughter,” he says, adding that his travels for sectionals and nationals have resulted in even more friendships. “I have met so many great people and made incredible new friends every place we’ve played.”
USTA Florida thanks Alan MacMurray as the USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month for June 2017 for his service to local USTA Leagues, and spreading the fun and laughter in the Ocala area.
Birthplace: Troy, N.Y.
Family: “Wife Wendy and two sons, Perry (15) and Ryan (13) — all tennis players.”
Favorite Movie : “Forrest Gump — life is like a box of chocolates…”
Favorite Food: Lobster
Favorite Travel: “Hard to beat diving in the Caymans.”
Favorite Shot: “Any type of slice.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be…”Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], and Ivana [Ana Ivanovic].”
When I am not playing tennis I am…”Managing a small business, chauffeuring my two teenagers and managing lineups and practice courts.”
My best tennis memory is…”Winning [USTA League] nationals by beating the team that beat us in the first round. With the best second-place record we slipped into the [playoffs] semis and exacted our revenge. We became the first team at our club to win a nationals title.”