November 15th, 2018

USTA Florida President’s Message: New President, New Board Entering 2019

General News

By Clark Higgs, USTA Florida volunteer president

To kick off this new term of the USTA Florida Board of Directors I would like to give Robert Hollis a big THANKS for all of his hard work and dedication to the association.  Not just for the past two years, during which he served as president and oversaw the most transformative period in the recent history of the association, but also for his 30+ years of service as a volunteer to the organization

Robert was instrumental in the new USTA Florida office building in Lake Nona, adjacent to the USTA National Campus and the USPTA national headquarters; and the creation of the Tennis Management Division and hiring Laura Bowen, our new executive director who replaced Doug Booth after almost 30 years of service.  We greatly appreciate everything you have done for USTA Florida and the game of tennis during that time.  And, Robert is not going anywhere yet.  He will continue to serve as the Florida Section Delegate to the national association, providing leadership and guidance on a number of topics and issues that arise during the next two years, and voting on behalf of the USTA Florida Section membership on changes to the national bylaws and the USTA Rules of Tennis.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing board members, Nancy Horowitz, Terri Florio and Scott Colebourne, for several years of service to USTA Florida.  While they will not be on the Florida BOD, they will each continue to be involved with the USTA, promoting tennis and its lifelong benefits in other ways.  Replacing these three great volunteers on your 2019-2020 Board of Directors will be: Rita Dotson of Pensacola; Delise O’Meally of Orlando; and Adam Ross of Fort Lauderdale. They each bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the tennis world as well as diverse professional backgrounds which I expect will be of great assistance in growing the game and improving the association. 

This Board has chosen four strategic priorities for the two-year term:
1) growth opportunities for new and diverse players and providers, focusing on adult beginners, after-school programs, adaptive players and family play;
2) continue to work on the volunteer engagement initiative to recruit volunteers to work at the grassroots level in our local communities;
3) refine the quality assurance program, in partnership with the USPTA Florida Division, to ensure excellent consumer experiences; and
4) leverage the Tennis Management Division to further our mission to promote and develop tennis for all.

Every member of the staff has been directly involved in the 2019 planning process over the past several months.  They have collectively identified numerous ways that we might influence growth through the areas described above in the first priority.  You should expect to see some of these ideas come to fruition in your local communities throughout the section over the course of the next two years.  We will also be working on a volunteer development program to enable members from all over the section to learn about how they can help grow the game while developing other skills and receiving training that will cut across all aspects of their lives.  The quality assurance program will be implemented at each “USTA Florida-managed facility” in the section, and shared with any other interested public or private tennis facility too. 

This is a term you will see more frequently as the Tennis Management Division works to prevent the loss of tennis courts to other uses in the section, including conversion to other recreational facilities or residential/commercial construction.  Many municipalities continue to struggle to maintain and support local tennis facilities due to continuing budget cuts or a greater focus on other programs.  We anticipate several new opportunities in the immediate future for “USTA Florida-managed facilities.”

I can assure you that this new USTA Florida Board is anxious to start, and excited about, growing the game and representing the membership.  Please let any of us know if you have questions or suggestions on how we may better represent you while growing the game.  You may find more information about us individually and see the Strategic Plan at

If you are in Orlando, please stop by and see the new office.  In the meantime, I will look forward to seeing you on the courts!!!

Clark Higgs