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2005 Southern Tennis Hall Of Fame Class Announced

September 17, 2004 12:03 PM

The USTA Southern Section announced that Greenville, S.C.’s Lucy Garvin, Belton, S.C.’s Jim Russell, and New Orleans, La.’s Lester Sack have been selected for induction into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, January 15, 2005 at the Atlanta Perimeter Marriott in Atlanta, Ga.

“I served on the Southern Board of Directors under both Lucy and Jim,” said Randy Stephens, member of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. “They are outstanding leaders and I learned a great deal from each of them. Their devotion to the sport here in the South and throughout the nation is unparalleled and they greatly deserve this honor.”

“During Lester’s collegiate career he was perhaps the best number four player in the country,” said close friend and former USTA Southern Section President Randy Gregson. “As a matter of fact I don’t think he ever lost a match! His perseverance on the court prepared him well for competition in Europe, where he became an exceptional clay court player. Lester’s phenomenal performance over the years makes him an easy choice for the Hall of Fame.”


The first Southern Tennis Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1977 and included Bitsy Grant and Hamilton Richardson.

Lucy Garvin
For years Lucy Garvin has worked diligently to manage, promote, and support the game of tennis in South Carolina, the Southeast and throughout the Nation. In 2005 she will begin her second term as Vice President of the USTA after serving one term as Director at Large on the USTA Board. She is Board Liaison to the USTA Sections and the Second Language Committee, Chairman of Volunteer Initiative and is a member of the Board’s Compensation Committee. Garvin is also a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Associates Board.

Garvin’s professional background began in the medical field with a degree in nursing, where she worked for twelve years. With a move to South Carolina in 1974 she began a twenty-year career in the marketing and management of tennis facilities throughout the southern region. This career change was brought about by her strong, lifelong love of tennis. Garvin managed several tennis facilities and established a consulting business while volunteering with USTA South Carolina and the USTA Southern Section.

A certified referee for over 28 years, Garvin worked countless local, state, sectional and national championships, including the South Carolina District Qualifying tournaments, the South Carolina District League Championships, NCAA and ACC Collegiate Dual Matches, National Zonals, the Southern Closed Championships and the National 12’s Open.


A former President of the USTA Southern Section, Garvin has served as Council Co-Chair of the Community Tennis Development Division. She has also chaired the USTA Section Presidents, USTA Delegates Committee, USA Tennis 1-2-3, and Adult/Senior Recreation committees.

In South Carolina Garvin served as Chairman to the Junior Tennis Council, Treasurer, Vice President, President, Chairman to the Nominating Committee and Chairman of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation.

Her list of responsibilities and accomplishments with the USTA Southern Section is equally impressive. She has served as a Ranker and Endorser, Chairman of the Junior Tennis Council, Chairman of the Sanction and Schedule Committee, Delegate-at-Large, Treasurer and Vice President. In 1999-2000 she guided the section as President and was the USTA Southern Section Delegate and Chairwoman of the USTA Delegates Assembly.

Lucy Garvin has earned a decade of awards for her service in the game. In 1990, she was named SCTA Official of the Year and she earned her first of two Presidents Awards. USTA South Carolina established the Lucy Garvin Volunteer of the Year Award in her honor in 1996, and was the award’s first recipient. That same year the YWCA presented her with a “Women in Sports” Award. She was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998 and was presented with her second South Carolina Presidents Award. She also earned the USTA Southern Section’s Jacob Bowl Award and in 1999.

In 1996 Garvin supervised a team of scorers at the tennis venue during the Atlanta Olympic games.

At the local, state and sectional level Garvin played in sanctioned tournaments from 1976 to 1990, winning a number of doubles titles along the way. She won the Family Equitable Mother/Son Southern Regional Championship in 1979 and advanced to compete in the national event, which was played during the ’79 US Open.

She and husband, Bob, currently reside in Greenville, S.C.

Jim Russell
Jim Russell, an outstanding football, basketball and baseball player growing up, did not pick up the game of tennis until 1970 when he moved from Columbus, Ga. to Belton, S.C. He quickly became one of the top players in the Belton area, winning four consecutive Husband-Wife doubles titles in the Belton Closed. He was also a member of the 1979 Cobb’s Glen men’s National Championship team.

Russell’s most impressive accomplishments did not come on the courts but rather were displayed in his administrative, officiating, and volunteer activities.

In 1974 Russell became involved in the organization of tennis when he served on the Palmetto Championship tournament committee and in 1976 as the Tournament Director. Over the years he served on the committee working in various capacities and has been a tournament referee for 25 of the past 26 years. Under his leadership the tournament has become known as one of the best junior tournaments in the nation, winning the South Carolina Tournament of the Year in 1986 and 1990, and the Southern Junior Tournament of the Year in 1990.

After his success at the Palmetto Championships Russell was highly sought out by many other South Carolina tournaments and he subsequently has helped organize several first rate championships. He was a key organizer and tournament referee at the first Don Dixon Junior in Lancaster, the Festival of Flowers and the Charleston Thanksgiving Junior Classic. However, his service as a tennis official goes far beyond South Carolina as Russell has worked for many USTA national, sectional, collegiate and professional events. He has worked as a referee at the USTA Volvo National Championships, the USTA Boy’s 18s Intersectional Championships, the USTA Olympic Festivals, the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships and he has even worked as an Umpire at the U.S. Open.

In addition to his work at the U.S. Open Russell has worked several other professional ATP tournaments. He has also served as the Marketing Director and Referee of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tennis Championships since 1992.

Russell joined the USTA South Carolina Board in the 1970’s and was elected to the Presidency in 1982. During his two year term as President Russell started the first “Top 10” Junior All Star Camp, he reestablished the sectional Junior Davis and Wightman Cup competition and he organized the first USTA South Carolina Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment for the South Carolina tennis community was the formation of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and subsequent establishment of the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. Russell later became the Hall’s 17th member when he was inducted in 1991.

Russell has also been heavily involved in the promotion and administration of tennis at the sectional level. He was elected to the USTA Southern Section Board in 1984 and was named as the organization’s president in 1992. He has been recognized with the section’s two most prestigious volunteer awards, the Jacobs Bowl in 1994, and the Charles B. Morris Jr. Service Award in 1999.

Jim’s involvement goes beyond the state and sectional level as he has served on numerous USTA committees. He was elected to the USTA Board in 1997 and served on the USTA Executive Committee in 1999-2000.

He and wife, Frances, live in Belton, S.C.

Lester Sack
Lester Sack is no stranger to Halls of Fame. The avid lifelong player and coach has earned recognition for his achievements in the sport from institutions such as the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame. He can now add the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame to his already impressive resume.

A Mississippi resident until 1977, Sack was one of the most dominant players of his generation. He won either the Mississippi Open or Mississippi Closed every year from 1959-1975 and captured many singles and doubles State Open championships in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. He also won the 35, 45, 50 and 55 Southern singles and doubles titles on more than one occasion.

He was ranked no. 1 in Mississippi in the Men’s Open Singles division every year from 1959-1975 and was in the top ten in the Southern Open division many times during that same time period.

Sack went on to have an impressive college career at Tulane University from 1956-1958, where he played number three singles and number one doubles for the team and helped bring in three SEC championship titles. In 1958 he and partner Ron Holmberg were ranked no. 1 in SEC Doubles. That same year he reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship and the Quarterfinals in NCAA Doubles Championship.

After college Sack pursued a pro tennis career and in addition to his Mississippi and Southern rankings he was ranked second in the nation for Men’s 45 Singles in 1984 and seventh in Men’s 50 Singles in 1988. He won the Men’s 45 Singles National Championship in 1984 and was runner-up in the Men’s 35 National Clay Court Championship in 1970 and the Men’s 50 Singles National Clay Courts in 1987.

Internationally Sack won singles tournaments in London, Germany, and in 1966 he reached the third round of the French Open and clinched the doubles title in the 1965 Canadian Open.

Age has not slowed Sack down in any way as he has represented the United States in three senior competitions, including the Dubler Cup, Gordon Cup, and Stevens Cup senior competitions.

Sack’s has passed on his knowledge and zeal for the game by coaching two national junior champions and serving as head coach for the USTA New Orleans Area Training Center. He was also an Assistant Tennis Professional for the Racquet Club of Memphis and a pro at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club. He is a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, United States Racquet Stringers (USRSA) Association and a former regional tester for USRSA.

He and wife, Wendy, reside in New Orleans, LA.

Founded in 1881, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in this country. In addition to owning the US Open and selecting members of the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic teams, the USTA administers a variety of programs nationwide for players of all ages and ability levels and, as a not-for-profit organization, the association invests 100% of its proceeds to promote and develop the growth of tennis. It is divided into 17 sections, of which the USTA Southern Section is the largest. The 166,000 USTA members living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee make up the USTA Southern Section, and account for approximately 25% of the total USTA membership. A professional staff housed in Norcross, GA carries out the USTA Southern Section’s daily operations, but policy is formed and much of the organization’s work is executed via a Board and committee structure of over 200 volunteers. For more information about the types of programs and services offered by the USTA Southern Section visit www.southerntennis.com.

 

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