2021 USTA Kentucky Award Winners


Adult Player of the Year - Jeff Anderson


Jeff has been part of the Kentucky tennis community since his move to Louisville in 1986. He played tennis at Eastern High School and played collegiate tennis at the University of Louisville.

Jeff has instructed tennis at Louisville Indoor Racquet Club, Blairwood and Louisville Tennis Club.

Fun fact about Jeff is he broke a world record for charity with Kevin Collins in 1992 for longest match reaching over 146 hrs.

He has been a member of various league teams that advanced to state and national championships at both the 4.5 and 5.0 levels.

Most recently Jeff was a significant contributor to the Kentucky Senior Cup team.

Jeff is now working to give back to the sport he loves by mentoring and hitting with the top ranked juniors interested in pursuing collegiate tennis.



Bennie Purcell Coach of the Year - Tim Dethridge


Tim has coached the Greenwood High School boys for 9 years and girls’ team for 4 years and is a member of the Kentucky High Schools Coaches Association.

Under Tim’s leadership the boy’s team has won the regional championship 8 years in a row and the girl’s team also won the regional last year. 

Tim was responsible for Greenwood High School building 10 new tennis courts and the addition of the locker rooms, concession, and bathrooms.  Tim has worked tirelessly to promote junior tennis in Bowling Green and the surrounding areas.  During his tenure as high school coach he started Junior Team Tennis, Middle School Tennis, and Elementary School Tennis Leagues.  One of his JTT Teams (14 and under Intermediate) won the State JTT Tournament and went on to Rome, GA to win the JTT Sectional Tournament.  Tim works tirelessly for all things related to junior tennis. 

Boy's Scholastic Achievement - Alex Englund


Alex is an AP National Scholar, Congressional silver Medalist with over 500 service hours, and a Bronze Medalist in the Grand Concours National French Exam. He is a top ranked Lincoln Douglas Debater in Kentucky and ranked high nationally, placing 10th at Harvard national forensics! Alex is the Student Body Committee Leader, French National Honor Society President, Crimson Alliance President, LD Debate Captain, and Indian Student Association co-founder.  He maintains a weighted 4.8 GPA with 6 AP classes and 2 dual credit courses. He is a double major in HSU and YPAS through piano and Science Fair, completing research on Ischemic Stroke where he is working to publish his medical findings. He completed an internship through the company Vesselon where he researched cancer treatments. He was also accepted into the Stanford National Debate Institute, learning from the best coaches in the country. Alex is fluent in the coding languages of HTML, Java, and Python. He is ranked 3rd in Kentucky in the recruiting class of 2023 and is a top player in his age group, winning the Joe Creason in doubles and placing 2nd in singles. Finally, Alex plays #1 singles in tennis for DuPont Manual High School.

Bruce Stone Educational Merit - Benjamin Manning


Ben was the Ryan Holder Doubles Champion in 2012, the 10th Region Doubles Champ in 2010 & 2011. He has won several men's tournaments under the age of 16 in the Mountain Tennis Circuit.

Ben has successfully run a summer tennis program through the Mt. Sterling/Montgomery County Parks and Recreation department for 7 years.  He teaches 3 different level classes each day.

He excels in working with the youth in Mt Sterling, fostering a love for the game.

CTA of the Year - Tennis Assoc. of Central Kentucky (TACK)


The Tennis Association of Central Kentucky, fondly referred to as TACK was founded in 2004 to promote and grow the game of tennis through USTA League programs.

They are led by a board of directors with their president Charles Matthews winning the 2021 Dee Dee Long Spirit Award.

In 2021 TACK had 3,790 participants in adult leagues and social programs and they continue to see growth in all areas. 

TACK offers beginner programming, fun leagues, clinics, socials, and adult league play.  TACK runs the annual Pavo Loco tournament with 100% of the net proceeds benefiting The Kids Cancer Alliance. Over the last 9 years this tournament has donated over $80,000.  Pictured TACK Vice President Joe Ross.

Dee Dee Long Spirit Award - Charles Matthews


Charles has been involved with the Tennis Association of Central Kentucky for many years and holding the position of President in 2021.  He is currently serving on the USTA Kentucky board.

Charles is heavily involved in all aspects of the tennis community in Lexington with a strong presence in USTA League. 

He has captained teams for many years.  He sees the bigger picture and has also been involved with Drop Shots for several years introducing and encouraging the return of many players to the game.

Through Charles’ open and welcoming personality, he has brought significant growth to tennis in Lexington.

Diversity & Inclusion Champion - Louisville 10 & Under Tennis Assoc.


The Louisville Area 10 and Under Tennis Association, Inc - LOU10U established in 2011 is committed to providing tennis opportunity to every child in the Louisville Area.   

Within the first three years, LOU10U established relationships with over 75% of the area schools.

It is estimated that over 30,000 area elementary and middle school students, or 40% of the population, had some in school exposure to tennis in 2019.    

Their intent is to ensure all youth have access to quality tennis programming without financial concern.   This is being achieved with community grant funds and partnerships with churches, parks, community centers, Metro’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, and more.    

In 2019, the last year of full programming LOU10U used community grants to provide out of school tennis programming to over 1,300 children living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with 90% of these being Afro-American and the balance being equally divided between Latino, Asian and white.   

The Board continues working to have an equal number of participants in fee-based vs grant programs.    LOU10U participates in community outreach by supporting youth wheelchair tennis programs.  Recruitment of Assistant Program Coaches from Rising Stars, the Louisville NJTL, and conducted its annual tournament in California Park located in a community that is 84% Black.     

The CTA has also received a Sports Fun(d) grants to offer middle school leagues and will partner with JCPS to offer Literacy and Tennis Camps.  Pictured Charles Crawford, Bruce Stone, Judi Petty, and Kathy Kunau Miller.

Family of the Year - Humbert Family


Melanie and Vernon along with their daughters, Jaimie, Laurel, and son-in-law Andre Stock work hard to promote and provide tennis programming.

Melanie has been one of the longest running Local League Coordinators and won the Paulette Grif?th LLC of the Year in 2005.

Melanie led the successful Henderson Tennis Apprentice Beginner League and is an active member of the Henderson Tennis Club Board of Directors.  She has served on the USTA Kentucky Board of Directors as a Director, Secretary and Vice President. Most recently she served as the Chairman of the USTA Kentucky Adult League Committee. She was selected by USTA as a Tennis Champion in 2021.

Jaimie also volunteers for the Tennis Apprentice Program, and as a faculty member of the Henderson Community College, has recruited many students to this program.  She has an “extra credit day” and invites students to try tennis.

She has been a volunteer coach for Jr Team Tennis, the Elementary League and is an assistant pro instructing summer youth lessons.  Jamie is an active member of the HTC Ways and Means Committee.

Laurel is active in TACK. She now serves on the Board of Directors as one of the youngest members and has served on the budget and marketing committees.

She was an inaugural member of the Active Growth Subcommittee and is dedicated to entry level tennis and captains both adult leagues mixed & combo doubles while trying to recruit new players under the age of 40.

Laurel along with her husband Andre have been volunteers with the Drop Shots program.

Andre plays and is co-captaining a 6.0 Mixed Doubles team.  He has become a huge advocate of the sport.

Vernon has played in numerous USTA leagues over years as well as recreational leagues. He volunteered for the Tennis Apprentice program and has been supportive of the Jr. Team Tennis Program.

Girl's Scholastic Achievement - Megan Null


Megan started playing tennis in middle school and plays for Mayfield High School.  She won region 1 Girls doubles championship in 2021 partnering with her sister Molly.  She reached the sweet 16 in the State HS doubles in 2021.  She and Molly went undefeated in doubles during the regular high school 2021 season.  She has played Jr Team Tennis for 7 years, and has played USTA and UTR tournaments.  Megan has steadily increased in rankings in both USTA and UTR.

Megan has a 4.0 GPA and is currently ranked 3rd in her Senior class while taking mostly Honors courses.  She was a 2021 Governor's Scholar.  Megan plans to go into the medical field upon graduation.

Jr. Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year - Christy Herring


Christy is one of the longest serving JTT coordinators in the state.  She serves on USTA KY’s Junior Recreation Committee and the USTA National School / After School Committee and is the Chairman of the USTA Southern Schools Committee.  

She has spent the last twenty years working with junior tennis players in Lexington and surrounding areas, teaching tennis in the schools and the parks, coaching high school teams, and coordinating numerous JTT leagues and other outside play opportunities. 

Jr. Female Player of the Year - Ellie Hammond


In 2021, Ellie achieved a #5 USTA national ranking in the 14U standings. She has won three high level USTA tournaments. Ellie most recently won the girls 16 singles and doubles championship, L4 in St. Louis. She has competed successfully winning or placing in many USTA tournaments.  Ellie also represented KY this year at the Easter Bowl in San Diego and the National Clay Court Championships in Huntsville.

Ellie was a valued contributor to her high school Sacred Heart state championship team.  She was undefeated in the regular season in singles and doubles, regional champ, and state-semifinalist in doubles as a freshman.

Ellie is also a high achiever academically holding a 4.0 at Sacred Heart and was on the president's list each semester. She earned 1st Team All-state honors and All-state academic honors.

Jr. Male Player of the Year - Eli Stephenson


Eli started playing tennis at age 5 and began competing in junior tournaments when he was 9. He is a five-star recruit and ranked top 30 nationally in his class.

Eli competed in the Easter Bowl Junior National Championships in 2021 bringing home the silver ball in doubles and finishing 6th in singles.

He won the Southern Closed Tournament in 2020.  The first Kentucky player to do so in several years.

Eli was the High School Singles State Champion and has been ranked in the top 10 in the South for last 3 years - at one point capturing the #1 ranking.  He has been ranked #1 in Kentucky in his age division the last two years.  He received the Boys Most Improved Player Award in 2017 and the Mark Ragland Sportsmanship Award in 2016.

Eli continues to play competitively in junior tournaments and ITF events and works hard to improve his game and hopes to play for a division 1 tennis program.

Mark Ragland Jr. Boy's Sportsmanship - Rowan McCollum


Rowan began playing tennis at age nine, is a competitive USTA Junior Tournament and Junior Team Tennis player, and recently began competing in Adult League. 

Rowan plays varsity tennis for Eastern High School, where he has been a member of the varsity team since the seventh grade. He has been honored with the Best New Player Award, two Player of the Year Awards, and the Eagle Award, recognizing exemplary leadership on and off the court. He was also selected to serve as team captain the past three seasons.

Rowan is the youngest Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Level 1 Certified teaching pro in Kentucky and among the youngest in the United States.

Rowan is an excellent student and demonstrates leadership and sportsmanship in all areas of his life.

Mary Lou Hambrick Girl's Sportsmanship - Jaycie Mair


Jaycie reached the high School quarterfinals as the number four seed.  She qualified and played both national clays and national hard courts and accepted a bid to represent USTA Kentucky in the Southern Cup.

She is one of the highest Kentucky ranked players nationally while achieving a 4.0 in her Math and Science program at Lexington Catholic. 

Jaycie volunteers regularly at Justin’s Place helping children with disabilities ride horses and the Acing Autism Program.

She is a fierce competitor who is very fair on the court and shows her opponent’s respect.

Media Excellence - Tyrone Sparks


Tyrone is reaching people all over the world. His passion is to touch lives of others by providing stories that create interest and motivation in tennis! He is a top player in Kentucky and has been a PTR teaching pro for over 35 years.

Tyrone launched the Growth Mindset of a Champion Tennis Podcast interviewing top players, Tennis legends and tennis coaches around the US and the world.  The Podcast was recognized and highlighted by PTR in Tennis Magazine.

Kentucky Tennis the Sport for Life Facebook page covers all areas of tennis in Kentucky from juniors to professionals.  He posts information on junior tournaments, high school matches, adult tournaments, league play and professional tournaments.  As administrator of the page, Ty now has over 3200 followers.  He is a tireless promotor of Kentucky tennis though his tenure on the USTA Kentucky Marketing Committee and his various media platforms.

Most Improved Boy - Alden Johnson


Alden began playing tennis at the age of 2. Over the years, he has played multiple sports but in 2019 he decided to concentrate solely on tennis.

In 2021 Alden was the 16 Creason singles and doubles winner, 2021 Top Seed level 5   16 singles and doubles winner and 16th Regional High School singles champion.  He was named captain of the Regional Championship Team Ashland-Blazer and 16th Region Player of the Year.

Alden was selected to participate in the 2021 Rose Cup, and the 2021 Ozaki Cup 16u representing Kentucky.

He is one of the top players in the state and has a goal to play Division 1 tennis. His dedication to tennis is second to none.

Most Improved Girl - Jai Garris


Jai improved her USTA Kentucky Ranking from #25 in Girls 18 in 2020 to #2 in 2021 playing as a 16 year old, and increased her UTR by 1.22.

She finished 6th place at a Level 3 Girls 18s tournament in Evansville, beating the #1 seed. She placed 2nd in 18s singles and 1st in 18 doubles at the Creason and 3rd in singles and 2nd Doubles at the Ryan Holder. Jai continues to place at USTA tournaments all over the country. 

As the #1 Girls Singles Player for Elizabethtown High School, she won her Conference and Region and led her high school to a Team Championship in Region 5.

She was a Quarterfinalist at the Kentucky High School State Tennis Championship and earned a spot on the KHSAA All-State Team and Academic All-State First Team.   

Jai was named the News Enterprise Sophomore Area Player of the Year and Co-Player of the Year.

Jai’s commute from Elizabethtown to Louisville 4-5 days a week for lessons and clinics has led her to a verbal commitment to play Division I Tennis at Bellarmine University after her high school graduation in 2023.  

Paulette Griffith Local League Coordinator - Brad Hales


Brad has taken a leadership role in coordinating the combined areas of Bowling Green, Owensboro, Hopkinsville, and Murray/Purchase.

Brad works tirelessly marketing leagues and paly opportunities to the SOKY CTA region.  He works individually with players to place them on appropriate teams.

His efforts have helped increase the number of league players in the Bowling Green area.

Special Tennis Event of the Year - Mid-Tac Local Jr. Tennis Day

Juneteenth Celebration Newburg Tennis Association


Newburg Tennis Association hosted the first annual Juneteenth Midwest Tennis Association (Mid Tac) Local Youth Tennis Fun Day and Louisville Regional Tournament.

This free event was held at Petersburg Park in the historical African American Newburg neighborhood.

Players received gift bags and information explaining the history and significance of the Juneteenth celebration.  The significance of Newburg’s Mid Tac membership was also explained.

While registration was taking place, players participated in on court level appropriate drills conducted by Newburg Tennis volunteer pros.   When numbers became suitable in various age brackets and divisions, a blind draw was conducted for tournament play and trophies were awarded t winners and runners up in various age brackets 

A complimentary lunch was served to participants, their parents and guest.  The day ended with free raffles for prizes for players and parents. 

Pictured Bruce Stone and Charles Crawford.

Tennis Facility of the Year - Versailles Woodford County Parks & Rec


The tennis courts at Versailles-Woodford County Parks & Recreation have been rebuilt. The facility reopened at the end of August 2021 and now includes six new courts, lights, viewer friendly fencing, and accessible parking, sidewalks, and gates.

A USTA national facility grant and matching grants from the Southern Build it Forward, USTA Kentucky and the Raise a Racquet Foundation along with other local and national funding, made this project possible.

This is the only public multi-court facility in the county. Youth and adult tennis programming are offered, including Junior Team Tennis, Adult Tennis Apprentice and Tennis Apprentice Second Serve.  Pictured Versailes Woodford County Parks Director Rainey Johns and Executive Director Richard Pictor.

Tennis Official of the Year - Clay Boone


Clay is the president of the Kentucky Tennis Umpires Association and coordinates a significant number of junior and college matches and tournaments.

He is personally responsible for increasing the number of opportunities for tennis officials in Kentucky by more than 200% in the last two years to ensure that junior tournaments and college matches have highly qualified officials.

Clay has a full-time job in the mental health industry, he also teaches tennis to children in his community and is a high school tennis coach.

Tennis Professional of the Year - Bryan Bello Cruz


Bryan came to the United States and Louisville, Kentucky in 2015.  He was a tennis pro at Louisville Indoor Racquet Club from 2016 to 2021. Beginning in 2017 he coached programs for Louisville 10U and Shelby County Parks.  When Bryan took the lead coaching position at Shelby County, program participation increased 36%.  This impact was also seen at the Shelby County High School level where tennis participation doubled. These numbers far exceed Kentucky, Southern and National rates.

Bryan also coached the Elizabethtown Summer Tennis Camps, USTA Middle School league and was the assistant boys and girls Ballard High School tennis coach. Bryan volunteered his time with Newburg Tennis Association Rising Stars Program and was a Junior Team Tennis awareness advocate.

Bryan was also selected to represent Kentucky in the USTA Southern 2027 Tennis Program improving diversity and inclusion on the courts.

Tournament of the Year - Kloiber Foundation Lexington Challenger


Lexington Challenger Tennis Championships began 27 years ago as a Men’s tournament at the University of Kentucky. Coach Dennis Emery had a vision to create an atmosphere similar to larger Grand Slam events.

What began as a small tournament has grown into two tournaments featuring Men and Women and is one of the nation’s premier Pro Circuit events. At this time, it is the second oldest continual tournament at this level. The Lexington event is the only Challenger tournament hosting both Men and Women the same week making it a player favorite each year.

In 2012, a core group of tournament supporters, formed the Lexington Challenger Tennis Charity as a 501(c)3.  Funds raised support other healthy lifestyle charities with an emphasis on sports in the community.

As a stepping stone to the US Open, fans have been lucky to see some great talent on the UK courts including John Isner, Lleyton Hewitt, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Francis Tiafoe, Naomi Osaka and the 2019 winner Jannick Sinner.

The list of key supporters is too long to name this afternoon, but the tournament would not be the success it is today without the dedication of so many!  Pictured Tournament Director Brooks Lundy.

Volunteer of the Year - Martina Fee


Martina has been the catalyst and driving force behind turning the dream, of indoor tennis in Bowling Green into a reality. She has spent countless hours meeting with the Warren County government, Parks and Rec Director and the engineering firm ACES.

 Martina was involved with conducting facility use research and securing court sponsorships for additional funding.

Now that the facility is in full operation, Martina works closely with the Park Department aiding in tennis programming.  The Western Kentucky University Tennis program is using the facility and Martina coordinates their practice and match schedules.

Martina is working with local pros to begin JTT and youth tennis programming.  She also works with area schools for outreach programs and summer tennis programming in the underserved areas.

Clearly, she is one of the major reasons tennis is booming in Bowling Green.

Martina loves to play and captains adult league women and mixed teams.

Martina currently serves on USTA Kentucky Board, is an active member of the Parks Committee and Facilities Task Force.

Wheelchair Excellence - Madison Duncan


Madison has been instrumental in working alongside Cameron Levis to develop and establish the adaptive sports, including wheelchair tennis, program in Bowling Green.

She promotes wheelchair tennis through all local adaptive sports outlets.  While serving as an intern with Western Kentucky University Recreation and Wellness Madison assisted with establishing WKU adapted athletics.