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State Of The SCTA

Every year for 130 years, the SCTA has held an Annual Meeting of the USTA Organization Members located in Southern California to elect the next SCTA Board of Directors.

At the Annual Meeting, it is tradition for the President to report about the events and activities from the preceding year.

William J. Kellogg, outgoing SCTA President, elected to use the President’s Report at the 2017 SCTA Annual Meeting to compare the State of the SCTA and the USTA in 2015 when Bill began his term to 2017 as he hands off the presidency to Chris Lewis. Bill’s report captures the many key events that have transpired since 2015 and changed the tennis scene regionally and nationally. We hope you enjoy reading Bill’s report.


Kellogg’s President’s Report focused on the differences between 2015 when he became the SCTA President and 2017 as he finishes his term.

The way it was:

  • At the National Level:
    • USTA Player Development had just hired Martin Blackman (replacing Patrick McEnroe) and the pipeline of young American professional tennis hopefuls looked okay on the girls’ side, but pretty empty on the boys’ side.
    • The USTA BJK National Tennis Center was beginning construction of a new roof and had unveiled plans for expanding the grounds and making major improvements to the site. Most of the foundation work had been completed but not much was visible above ground.
    • The new $60 million Home of American Tennis at Lake Nona, FL outside Orlando was announced as a concept in 2015.
      • It took just nine months to go from the concept to completed construction drawings.
    • The USTA was considering three-year terms for Officers, Board members and volunteer positions.
    • The USTA was concerned about using the number of Memberships as the basis for distributing funds to the sections. As a result, it “froze” the distribution formula and established a task force to study how money should be distributed to the sections.
    • The SCTA was in 6th place among the Sections for USTA membership.
  • At the Local Level (SCTA):
    • The SCTA had just gone through the creation of a new committee structure, guided by the expertise of Richard Chang.
      • A lot of time was spent collecting contact info and assigning everyone to committees.
      • In prior years, we had only a few active committees and lots of inactive board members.
    • A new SCTA Strategic Plan had been unveiled and we were just starting to implement it.
      • Strategic Plan updates were starting to become a regular agenda topic for our board and Executive Committee Meetings.
      • A big “Thank You”, again, to Richard Chang for making this happen.
    • UCLA had announced its plans to build a new basketball performance center adjacent to the Strauss Clubhouse.
      • Plans called for removal of the staff office trailers during construction and taking courts 7 & 8 out of service.
      • This left the SCTA without enough office space for all the staff at LATC.
    • We initiated meetings with UCLA to discuss the future of the SCTA on campus. The SCTA Foundation was in the process of being rejuvenated, thanks to major gifts from the Kramer family.
    • The SCTA was starting to undergo some major changes in staff:
      • By that time, we had lost Henry Talbert, Darren Potkey had been replaced by Alec Horton and Barbara Sportelli had recently retired. However, for the most part, there were many very long-serving members of the staff on the job.

How things look today:

  • At the National Level:
    • USTA Player Development has blossomed under Martin Blackman’s leadership:
      • More boys and girls ranked in the top 200 and 100 than any other nation.
      • Emilio Sanchez recently stated that USA is the “new Spain.”
      • The future looks bright for BOTH American men and women.
    • USTA has now completed the installation of the new roof on Arthur Ashe stadium.
      • New Court #17 – one of the most spectator-friendly stadiums in the world.
      • New practice courts with great spectator viewing.
      • Louis Armstrong stadium has been torn down. Will be replaced with a temporary stadium for 2017, then a permanent new and improved stadium with a roof for 2018.
      • Project was built on time and within budget.
    • USTA officially opened the “New Home of American Tennis” at Lake Nona, FL in January of 2017. Approximately 103 tennis courts, assorted Administration and workout facilities and plans to host collegiate ties, major tournaments, league championships and Player Development programs.
      • Community Tennis and Player Development departments have moved to Florida.
      • Approximately 50% of the existing USTA staff migrated to the new facilities. Unfortunately, there will be a loss of some institutional memory but the facility and opportunity for making an impact on American Tennis is terrific.
      • There will be opportunities for sections to host events at the site.
      • Project was built on time and within budget.
    • USTA Governance issues are still a topic of discussion.
      • 3-year Term concept dropped after review by a governance task force.
      • Katrina Adams returned as the only USTA President in history to serve for a second term. The designated 1st Vice President declined the nomination so the default action by the Nominating Committee was to leave her in office.
        • She updated her ABC’s for 2017-18 to be Accessible, Bold and Collaborative.
      • New issue of significance is a proposal to change the designation of the CEO title of the organization.
        • The Volunteer President of the organization has historically been designated the CEO of the USTA.
        • Current proposal would be to move this title to the Executive Director of the association.
        • Our section opposes this change. We feel it would further diminish the role of the volunteer in the organization.  Furthermore, all of the other Grand Slam nations are structured the same way as the USTA – i.e. with the Volunteer leader designated the CEO.
      • The USTA Governance Task Force came up with new recommendations for distributing funds to the sections.
        • Focus is now heavily focused on “Participation” instead of on the number of USTA memberships.
        • We have a little over 700K USTA memberships, 19 million active players but more than 40 million people engaging with the sport of tennis.
        • The idea is to focus more on the 40 million and less on the 750K.
        • Funding formulas will now depend on determining participation numbers.
        • Unfortunately, we do not have any systems in place to count participation but the USTA is moving ahead with this idea anyway, expecting to develop reasonable methods of determining appropriate numbers going forward.
        • We are concerned that the new formula has the potential to reduce funding for established programs at the expense of “Innovation” – another aspect rewarded by the new funding formula. However, there is a commitment to make sure the new funding model works for all sections.
      • The USTA is beginning to implement a new marketing strategy for 8 to 18 year olds called the “Net Generation”.
        • We will see the features for tennis providers at the USTA AMC in March.
        • The public side of Net Generation will be launched just prior to the US Open.
      • The USTA has engaged Deloitte Digital to help create the next digital platform to reach the participation levels that the USTA desires.
        • Deloitte will be a sponsor of the US Open for 2017 at a level that will more than pay for the implementation of the new digital strategy.
      • The SCTA moved from 6th place to 5th place in size, based on total number of memberships, surpassing the Eastern Section. Northern California is now on our radar to catch and surpass!
  • At the Local Level (SCTA):
    • New SCTA committee structure is fully functional
      • Virtually everyone on the board is now actively engaged in the association.
      • We have a new Committee Application and Appointment Process that is just now being rolled out.
        • This process will mirror what is happening at the national level
        • It will be a much more professional approach for the 2017-18 Committee process.
        • Richard Chang was the author of this effort as well.
      • We began implementing our Strategic Plan.
        • New focus on marketing.
        • New focus on innovative play formats
        • New focus on filling Bruce Hunt’s Route 66 tennis pipeline
        • New focus on sportsmanship in our junior tournaments
        • New focus on volunteer development
        • Updates included in every meeting.
        • Strategic Plan has just gone through an update process.
      • The Facilities Committee has been hard at work.
        • A potential new home of the SCTA was identified: Whittier Narrows.  The SCTA can get land for minimal or no cost.  Plans were drawn up by the USTA. Preliminary budget developed.  Hired an advocate to begin the process of obtaining permission to move ahead.
        • Very recently, a new opportunity surfaced. The SCTA may have the opportunity to partner with the USTA Foundation, USTA Player Development and the Kimmelman Family of Rancho Santa Fe to build a tennis center to honor the recently departed Carol Kimmelman.  The vision of the USTA and Kimmelman family is to create a “Lake Nona West” i.e. a full service, large, modern facility that could serve to really grow the sport. 
        • At this point, it is not certain where this will end up but we have created a task force to evaluate options and ensure that we move in the most favorable direction possible.
      • New Face of the SCTA:
        • Trevor Kronemann and his Junior Department team are leading change by focusing on sportsmanship at tournaments, setting higher standards for tournament directors, and requiring officials to rove the courts. Our junior sectional championship was a big success this year.
        • Linda Milan, took over Adult/Senior Tennis in place of the legendary, Annette Buck, who retired at the end of 2016, having served multiple decades on the job.
        • Mark Winters retired after working for multiple generations of SCTA leadership.
        • Cari Buck has picked up the Marketing Banner.
        • We have added several new TSR’s.
        • Other new staff have taken up the challenge to provide the best service possible to our tennis constituency.
      • The SCTA Foundation is becoming more active – handing out numerous grants, and soliciting contributions. Our board members have started supporting the foundation with annual contributions (we can report 100% support of the foundation by our board) and the foundation board voted to add a new staff position of Development Officer to assist the SCTAF in expanding its outreach. 
      • Lornie Kuhle has been appointed Tournament Director of the USTA Girls 16s & 18s National Hardcourt Championships held in San Diego at the Barnes Tennis Center and other sites. He will be assisted by Ellen Ehlers and Liz Blum who ran the tournament very successfully in previous years.  Lornie’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the 2017 tournament to build on the traditions started by Ellen and Liz to keep the tournament in San Diego for the future.
      • SoCal is the site of several new Pro Circuit events. The SCTA has helped financially to make this possible.  This is a real bonus for juniors in our section who aspire to become tennis professionals or simply play on a college team.

This is just a brief overview of some significant changes in our section.  Under the new leadership of our incoming SCTA President, Chris Lewis, I see a very bright future for the SCTA.


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