Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:25am
Early this week, the USTA announced that the Executive Director of the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations (ITA) and retired Princeton University men’s tennis coach David Benjamin earned the honor of the 2011 USTA President’s Award. The announcement was made at the USTA Semiannual meeting on Sept. 5 in New York City.
Benjamin, a staple in the tennis community for years, was a Middle States Hall of Fame inductee in 2006 along with tennis legend Billie Jean King.
The President’s Award honors an individual who has given unusual and extraordinary service to the sport of tennis in the public’s interest. Founded in 1999, award recipients have included Billie Jean King, Lindsay Davenport, Mike and Bob Bryan and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
"David Benjamin has had a remarkable impact on the game of tennis and has been a major contributor in our efforts to grow the game," said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen. "Not only collegiate varsity tennis, but also the entire tennis community has benefitted from his incredible passion, dedication and commitment."
Benjamin began his career at Harvard as the captain and No. 1 singles player on the 1963 undefeated freshman team. He started his coaching tenure at Princeton University in 1974, and over the years guided seven teams to Eastern College Athletic Conference titles. He finished with an overall coaching record of 339-150 (with an Ivy League record of 178-44). A number of Benjamin’s players have achieved outstanding tennis success, both in college and afterward, solidifying his place in tennis coaching history.
In 1975, Benjamin joined forces with Eve Kraft to set up a special project between the State Department and the USTA, and for two years he served as the first administrator of the USTA International Joint Tennis Teaching Project. This program was the initial prototype of the international player development program that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) would create years later. Benjamin also was invited by the Unites States State Department to serve on a special mission to Togo to establish a national tennis program and train Togo’s best young tennis players.
As Executive Director of the ITA, Benjamin has transformed the world of varsity college tennis into an incredibly rich experience replete with exciting tournaments, fierce competition, awards for players and coaches, a summer circuit, campus showdowns, kids’ days, and a governing body that is the watchdog of varsity college tennis. Because of Benjamin, the ITA is both the conscience and the voice and advocate of varsity college tennis. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA organizes the tournaments that collegiate players compete in, bestows the awards that players and coaches receive, and helps educate varsity college coaches on a host of best practices, including how to safeguard their programs.
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