» Awards


USTA Heart of America Award Criteria


Unless otherwise noted, all nominees must be current members of USTA, and must have participated in USTA Heart of America (HOA) events. The thoroughness of the supporting information for each nomination is critically important as the District Awards Committee reviews many nomination forms each year. Any nomination form which does not have adequate information, does not provide photos or endorsement letters when appropriate places the nominee at a distinct disadvantage. 

See the 2016 USTA Heart of America Award Winners!

For questions, please contact Awards Chair, Kim Hanson, kimlhanson@me.com.

Stay tuned for information on how to nominate someone for a 2017 award!



Recognition will be awarded to outstanding tennis facilities under the jurisdiction of:

1) A parks and recreation department

2) An educational institution

3) Non-Profit entities, or

4) Private and/or commercially owned and operated facilities with USTA and other ‘growth of tennis’ program

Must be a current USTA Organization Member

Criteria to be considered when nominating a facility are:

1) Quality of each court area and surface

2) Quality of the court enclosure and lighting

3) Overall layout and adaptation to the site

4) Accessories and amenities

5) Evidence of good and green maintenance


Tennis programs held should include:

1) USTA programs

2) 10 and Under Tennis

3) Other tennis-related programs

4) Important contributions to the game of tennis




Recognition of outstanding service by clubs and other member organizations. It also represents a standard in which all member organizations can strive to achieve. 

Must be a USTA Organization Member

1) Service to the tennis community.

a) Donating facilities for amateur tournaments of all types

b) Providing courts for free clinics for the general public

c) Providing facilities for interscholastic play

d) Providing facilities for USTA programs (tournaments, Leagues, High Performance, etc.)

e) Allowing promising non-member juniors the use of the courts

f) Taking active role in Section or District affairs

g) Allowing use of facilities for special event (e.g. charities, wheelchair, etc.)

h) Involvement and support of multi-cultural programs

i) Allowing use of facilities for Section or District events

2) Service to organization's members through adult and junior programs.

a) Maintaining an active tennis program including:

i) Tennis ladders and other recreational programs including intersectional/inter-organizational play

ii) Adult and junior tournaments in various categories, especially USTA Sanctioned Tournaments

iii) Encouraging and promoting play in USTA Leagues and USTA Junior Team Tennis

iv) Adaptive tennis programs

b) Maintaining effective systems for keeping membership informed of USTA Section and District tournaments and activities and of pertinent changes in USTA and sectional rules and regulations.

c) Encouraging and assisting junior players.

3) General service to the game of tennis

a) Activities that promote and strengthen the game of tennis within the member organizations and in the community.

b) Activities promoting the benefits of individual membership in the USTA.

4) Historical perspective: consideration of the history or past events of the organization.



Must be a Registered USTA CTA and a current USTA Organization member

A USTA Community Tennis Association (CTA) defined as: "Any incorporated, geographically defined, not-for-profit, volunteer-based tennis organization that supports or provides programs, which promote and develop the growth of tennis." All CTAs nominated must be registered with the USTA and be a current USTA organization member.

Criteria to consider include: CTA History, Strong Leadership, Mission Statement, Strategic Plan, Organization Structure, Program offerings, Volunteer recruitment, Community Relationships, Fundraising, Marketing and PR Plans, Staff positions, Special Recognitions.



Must be a USTA Organization member.

An outstanding sanctioned junior tournament (not section level)will include most of the following criteria:

1) Excellent tournament organization

2) Fair and proper seeding.

3) Fair and equitable scheduling

4) Adequate staffing for tournaments (referees, umpires, volunteers)

5) Amenities such as water and ice or concessions, towels, spectator viewing area, shade (outdoors)

6) Information dissemination, the use of technology to improve tournament

7) Good site conditions with adequate indoor back up (if needed)

8) USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Heart of America District contract requirements followed

9) Rules and regulations followed as outlined in Friend at Court



Must be a USTA Organization Member


An outstanding sanctioned adult/senior tournament will include most of the following criteria:

1) Excellent tournament organization

2) Fair and proper seeding.

3) Fair and equitable scheduling

4) Adequate staffing for tournaments (referees, umpires, volunteers)

5) Amenities such as ice, water or concessions, towels, spectator viewing area, shade (outdoors), information dissemination

6) Good site conditions with adequate indoor facilities (if needed)

7) Multiple matches and/or creative formats (1 day tournaments)

8) USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Heart of America District regulations and contract requirements followed

9) Rules and regulations followed as outlined in Friend at Court



USTA Organizational Membership not required

Recognition of a competitive play,non-section or non-national level event such as fundraisers, membership appreciation events, community clinics and trainings, Tennis Play Day, Kids' Tennis Club and other similar events. This event brought tennis to the forefront in the community and mobilized community resources.



Presented annually to individuals or media outlets in recognition of outstanding contributions to the coverage of tennis. Part-time or full-time anchor, reporter, writer, editor, photojournalist, videographer, or other member of the media or freelancers who provide extensive media support for the sport of tennis and its related activities. Criteria includes coverage of USTA Missouri Valley and/or USTA Heart of America programs and events, USTA Heart of America high school, collegiate, wheelchair and Special Olympics competitions, awareness building of USTA and/or the game of tennis through features, frequency and depth of coverage and overall involvement in the tennis field.

Nominees need to be in one of three categories:

1) Print media (newspaper, magazine)

2) Broadcast media (TV, Radio)

3) Internet based media (websites, social media, blogs, digital publications, internet radio)

Examples of their coverage must be submitted with the application.

USTA membership is not required.



This award is made annually to the family who in recent years has done the most to promote amateur tennis - primarily on a volunteer basis. Ideally all members of the family should participate in some way, either as a player or by offering their services in promoting tennis.

All family members listed in the nomination must be current USTA Members.


1) The family must be active in volunteering in some or all of the following:

a) Serving as a volunteer in fostering tennis at any level of the USTA such as national, section, district, local board or committee, and/or tournament in adult and/or junior programs. Please include years of service.

b) Developing and/or sustaining junior and adult programs

c) Holding office(s) at the various levels of the USTA

d) Volunteer coaching

e) Competing in tennis, such as high school or college varsity (include age category rankings) League or other  organized play, social/recreational play. Please include years.

f) Enriching the game of tennis in other related activities such as non-tennis related activity, honors and/or achievements. Please include years.



Must be a current USTA member

Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding, long-time performance, dedication and accomplishment of an individual's effort in service to the USTA Heart of America.   Note: The nominee that is forwarded to the Section must have made outstanding contributions at the Section level as well as the district level.

Criteria to consider when nominating are:

1)  Outstanding and sustained service to the sport through active participation, advocacy, or leadership in USTA Missouri Valley/HOA District

2) Outstanding and sustained service to the game of tennis in a manner consistent with the  highest standards of the field. These standards may be met in a variety of ways, including activity which involves exceptional creativity, innovation, intellectual, moral courage and leadership.

3) A willingness to work with others to improve the game of tennis

4) Specific contribution to USTA Missouri Valley or USTA HOA District (Note: must have section service to qualify for the section award)

5) Candidate should have a minimum of 10 years of service to the district

6) The award may be given posthumously


JUNIOR PLAYER (S) OF THE YEAR (1 female and 1 male)

Must be a current USTA member

Junior Player(s) of the year award is based primarily on high performance results and USTA and USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Heart of America tournaments, sportsmanship, and a demonstration of raising the game to its highest level.  The nominated player should exhibit participation in the highest level of competition offered by USTA.

Please list by year all accomplishments that highlight the nominees’ careers, including ranking information.  Emphasis should be placed on the last 12 months, but previous performance could also be considered.  Examples of accomplishments could be results at USTA tournaments, invitation to special camps or events, or selection to participate on special teams, etc.

Must not have a Code of Conduct report on file. 

Must be a current USTA Member.


ADULT PLAYER OF THE YEAR (1 male and 1 female)

Must be a current USTA member

Adult Player of the Year award (4.5 and above) is based on performance, current accomplishments at the local, section and national level and performance reflecting the highest standard of play. 


RECREATIONAL PLAYER(S) OF THE YEAR (1 adult and 1 junior)

Must be a current USTA member

Recognition of one Adult player (4.0 and below) who participates in USTA League Tennis or USTA Team Tennis on a regular basis AND recognition of a Junior player who participates in Junior Team Tennis on a regular basis.

Both recipients should demonstrate good sportsmanship and a love of the game.



Community service awards are given for recent significant contributions made to tennis development by individuals actively involved in teaching tennis through community centers, schools and parks, inner city or suburban programs.

 Must be a current USTA member

Criteria to consider when nominating are:

1) Scope of program

2) Depth of involvement in community, i.e., impact on community's overall recreational picture

3) New and innovative features resulting from candidate's activities

4) Inspirational and motivational work with adults or juniors

5) Working with other recreational organizations such as the YMCA/YWCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., in the establishment of a community oriented program for USTA Missouri Valley Section and/or USTA HOA District



Must be a current USTA member

This person or group has made significant contributions to USTA HOA District junior programs, including USTA School Tennis, USTA NJTL, USTA Junior Team Tennis, junior novice and 10 and Under Tennis events. Efforts may include CTA development, fund raising, equipment repair and distribution, summer tennis, special events, pro assistance, and education.

 Criteria to consider when nominating:

1) Been involved or currently involved in junior recreational programs

2) Demonstrated leadership

3) Shown dedication to working with youth and promoting the game of tennis

4) Shown themselves to be good peer influences

5) Provided mentorship to youth.

Emphasis will be placed on selecting an individual (or group) who has actively dedicated time, talent and energy in a voluntary capacity to improve their local junior recreational tennis programs. Consideration will also be given to individuals who have excelled in a particular area of interest, thus serving as a model of excellence for youth.

Note:  There is no longer a Section award



Must be a current USTA member

This person(s) has done the most to advance High Performance program; has assisted in searching for and developing talented junior players, 10 and Under Tennis; is involved with Regional Training Centers (not required) and/or been a facilitator or coach working with Team USA Camps and/or coaching team events.



Must be a current USTA member

This person(s) has made significant contributions to USTA League Tennis Program. Has participated on teams, assisted in the promotion of the program, assisted in the administration of the leagues and/or volunteered at district championships. No employees of the organization, either district or section, whose job description includes growing leagues or administration of any leagues, are eligible for this award.



Must be a current USTA member

The USTA HOA District Officials Award shall recognize dedication, service and expertise, and be based upon a high standard of officiating and providing appropriate leadership, on and off the court, in the pursuit of umpiring in the USTA HOA District.   The umpire shall have worked substantially at section/amateur USTA events in the district, have a current certification based at least in part on chair or line umpiring, be a positive role model, and have a supportive attitude toward the grassroots program.  The USTA database will be used as the source of the current work record. 

Note:  Any recipient that is sent to the Section Awards Committee must be cleared with the USTA Missouri Valley Officials Committee Chair.  An official who is working predominately ITA and/or professional events will not be considered.



Current USTA membership not required

Recognizes a current, no-cut high school coach who supports and promotes high school tennis team with a record of success in win-loss and/or in improvement in players during the season; develops players’ physical, mental and emotional abilities during the season and promotes development throughout the rest of the year (please provide specific examples),  maintains high ethical and sportsmanship standards; promotes a passion for tennis in the team, school and community. 



Must be a current USTA member

This award will be presented to one USTA Junior Team Tennis Provider who has expanded an existing USTA league or has developed a new USTA league. May not work for the section or district office.

Criteria to consider when nominating are:

1) Successfully implemented USTA Junior Team Tennis

2) Successfully implemented other USTA Tennis programs

3) Generated interest in USTA Junior Team Tennis programs through local promotions

4) Creatively and/or effectively utilized district, section and or national funding

5) Sponsorship development – ability to find and utilize resources other than the USTA

6) Community Tennis Association participation and/or development

7) Number of participants in USTA Junior Team Tennis



Must be a current USTA member

The 10 and Under Tennis Provider award is given to a person who is providing a full-service 10 and Under Tennis program. The ideal candidate meets the following criteria:

1) Program is registered on youthtennis.com

2) Program includes clinic and competition and ROGY progression (red to orange to green to yellow)

3) May be a Kid's Tennis Club

4) Host Tennis Play Days or Tennis Play Events

5) May include USTA Junior Team Tennis

6) Hosts tournaments

Bonus factors:

1) Hosted a 10 and Under Tennis workshop

2) Work with schools

3) Facility has blended lines or permanent 36' or 60' courts



Must be a current USTA individual or organization member

Given to an outstanding USTA Heart of America program leader, athlete, organization or administrator for success in providing outreach to the diverse tennis community. This award may include NJTL chapters and/or leaders.  

This individual or organization has championed the cause for diversity both on and off the tennis court through hard work, persistence and unwavering dedication.  The nominee has helped to expand the image of tennis to include diverse populations.  Other consideration are demonstrating a high degree of organizational ability, success in serving all players in the area, quality off and on court programs, management structure and involvement with the tennis community.



Must be a current USTA member

Nominees have given exceptional volunteer service throughout the year at tournaments, Play Days and other special events, manning USTA booths at events, etc. All nominees will be reviewed by the USTA HOA District Volunteer Coordinator prior to the Awards Committee vote.



Must be a current USTA member.

Sportsmanship award given in the memory of Stephanie Waterman to a male and female junior player who best exemplifies the finest qualities of sportsmanship in competitive play including tournaments, USTA Junior Team Tennis and 10 and Under Tennis tournaments. Good sportsmanship is an essential element of all junior sports and junior development. 

Note: a male and female junior player in each age group, boys and girls 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18's will be submitted for consideration of the USTA Missouri Valley awards.



Must be a current USTA member.

Sportsmanship award given in the memory of Shawna Froeschl to a male and female adult player that has demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship both on and off the court. This award exemplifies the finest qualities of sportsmanship in tournament and recreational play.



To be defined and selected by the district president.


* Eligible for national award recognition.