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John Sheffield Announces Retirement

John and Bunny Sheffield
John Sheffield, who has served as Executive Director for USTA South Carolina for 14 years, will be retiring at the end of 2012.  As the longest serving Executive Director of the organization, John will leave a lasting legacy with USTA SC by setting a strong course for the association which will benefit tennis players for years to come. 
John Sheffield was hired in December of 1998 by then USTA SC President Helen Jeter.  Upon his hire, John had three staff members- Mary Goins, Pam Jones, and Tanya Washington.  The association’s budget was about $400,000 and membership was about 14,000.  As of 2013 USTA SC has a budget of $1.2 million and over 24,000 members. 
Early in his tenure John served in the field as much as he did in the office, but as staff grew the position evolved more into a management position.  John says his early focus was on building a strong staff to handle all of the administrative and promotional needs for the association.  The staff grew quickly as John started to bring in quality team members, many of whom are still on staff today.  The focus on quality personnel soon paid off, as in John’s third year on the job South Carolina became one of two states in the Southern Section to ever hit all five Performance Based Incentive Funding goals for the year.
John’s focus wasn’t just on staff and internal goals, however.  He says that one of the highlights of his tenure at the association has been seeing strong, dynamic, motivated personalities come in to Community Tennis Associations and build some of the strongest CTAs in the nation.  He states his background in community development really helps him to appreciate the work and dedication the CTA leaders have demonstrated.
As the increase of tennis players began to outgrow the available court space, John says it has been very exciting to see all the new public tennis facilities open in the last few years.  Such facilities as the Kroc Center (Greenville), the Florence Tennis Center, the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, Chapin Park (Hilton Head Island), and Southeast Park (Columbia) have all given South Carolina residents an unprecedented level of access to courts, and John says that access is thrilling. 
While John and his staff’s more visible work to grow the game is the most perceptible example of the great strides the association has made under his leadership, in some ways the behind the scenes work he and Graham Cox (Deputy Executive Director) have spearheaded has been just as important.  While no one will mistake work on bylaws and policies as the glorious side of the job, John’s work to codify rules and ensure that all individuals and organizations are working from the same set of regulations has been vital in helping ensure that players and organizations know that they are receiving a fair shake and courteous and professional treatment when they deal with USTA SC. 
As the long time head of USTA SC, John Sheffield has left an indelible impression on the organization, and while his forthcoming grandchild and sailing voyages will indubitably take up much of his time, John says that he will still be very much involved in both South Carolina and Southern tennis in the coming years.  



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