Coach honored: Area tennis director wins USTA award
By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER — If Jim Scott ever wondered just what the community thought of him, he has a better idea of the answer now.
Many in the community voted online to help Scott win the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic section Teaching Professional of the Year.
“I’ve been here for seven years, so to make an impact like that is truly an honor,” Scott said in an interview on Monday. “There’s people that go through a whole lifetime of teaching tennis and doing stuff and don’t get recognized. So to be recognized in a short period of time, and having everybody on board with our ideas of growing community tennis is just awesome.”
Scott is the Director of Tennis at Winchester Country Club, and has been at the club since 2007.
He was nominated for the award in September, and once nominated anyone could vote for him online. However, anyone voting had to write a short essay on why they believed he should win the award.
The Mid-Atlantic section is made up of the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“I’m one of 17 guys in the country that won this,” Scott said. “There are 17 sections in the USTA. So when you sit back and look at it that way, it’s very humbling.”
One of the people who voted for Scott was Cameron Lickle, who along with former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, runs Wilander on Wheels. The pair travel around the country going to various clubs to put on clinics. They will be coming back to the Winchester Country Club for a third straight year this May.
“They’re good guys and they’re willing to support, put up recommendations just for our program here, so that says a lot,” Scott said. “They see all different clubs in the country, and we actually are a highlight, so that’s cool.”
Scott received the award at a luncheon in Reston on Nov. 23 and said Washington D.C. ABC-TV anchor Leon Harris gave out the award.
Scott said a lot of the top people in the USTA were on hand for the luncheon.
Over the years, Scott has received numerous awards for his work, including being named the Teaching Professional of the Year for Virginia in 2010. Before coming to Winchester, Scott began working at clubs in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and has worked with some professional tennis players, including former pros the Jensen Brothers and Thomas Muster.
Scott currently serves on three committees on the USTA, and has helped start and grow the Shenandoah Valley Tennis Association. He also is a coach for the Regional Training Center, which is used for the top juniors on the East Coast, and is a USTA Mid-Atlantic national junior zonals coach.
The Winchester Country Club is also one of 100 Competition Training Centers for the USTA, meaning that top juniors from around the region can come in and train there.
Scott said he enjoys coaching tennis at all levels, whether it’s with high-level players or the club members.
“For me, it’s always trying find ways to help people improve,” Scott said. “Whether it’s their bio-mechanics, sometimes the fun part for me is getting into the mental side of tennis. [Working with top juniors] everybody can hit the ball, but getting them to be a champion is really digging a lot deeper within the game of tennis.”
Scott said he’s seen the club grow since he started there. There were only two pros teaching lessons there when he started and now there are five.
Scott said the club recently had a Duck Dynasty round robin tournament, where everyone dressed up in camouflage. He also just started working with the grips program, which allows juniors to change the color of their grip as they improve, much like karate.
“You’re always looking for something creative,” Scott said. “I guess that’s the fun part of my job. I walk on the court every day and try to find something different, something new.”
The club members are certainly happy to have Scott around.
“We are just extremely lucky to have him here,” said Sarah Daywalt, Marketing and Membership Director at the club. “He’s very popular and well liked, well loved.
“We just can’t wait to see what he’s going to do in 2014.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd