Evert, Van Der Meer, Wilkerson honored with Team USA Coaching Awards

April 7, 2015 02:25 PM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Legendary tennis coaches Jimmy Evert, Dennis Van Der Meer and John Wilkerson were honored as Team USA Coaching Legends at the second Team USA Coaching Awards reception, held Monday at the ASICS Easter Bowl junior tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

Lynn Nabors-McNally, coach and mother of 2014 USTA national champions John and Caty McNally, was recognized as the 2014 Team USA Developmental Coach of the Year, and the Tucker Tennis Academy in Tulsa, Okla., was named the 2014 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year.

The awards reception is part of USTA Player Development’s Team USA initiative to work collaboratively with developmental coaches and programs across the United States. 

“Jimmy, Dennis and John have been synonymous with coaching excellence for decades, and we’re honored to be able to recognize them as Team USA Coaching Legends,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe. “On top of that, Lynn and the team at the Tucker Tennis Academy have done outstanding work this past year and deserve to be acknowledged for setting such a high standard for coaching success.”

Evert is most famously known as the father of 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert, but he is equally regarded for his humility and lifelong devotion to the game. A Chicago native who played at Notre Dame, Evert made his permanent home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was the city’s tennis director for 49 years, coaching out of the renowned Holiday Park tennis center that now bears his name. In addition to his five children, Evert has coached world-class players such as Jennifer Capriati, Harold Solomon and Brian Gottfried.

Heralded as a "teacher of teachers," Van Der Meer is the founder and president of the Van Der Meer Tennis University in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and founder and president/chairman emeritus of the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). Known worldwide for his innovative teaching techniques, Van Der Meer has been inducted into many Halls of Fame, including Southern and NorCal. He has been a keynote speaker at the USTA’s Tennis Teachers Conference from its inception and hosted the very first Player Development event, Total Tennis Training, in 1985 at his academy in Hilton Head. 

Wilkerson is the Houston-based tennis professional who discovered both Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil and groomed them into international tennis stars, coaching them both into the Top 10 and guiding Garrison to the world No. 1 junior ranking in 1981. Once a nationally ranked player himself and a 2002 Texas Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Wilkerson has continued to coach and develop young players as the managing director of the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy in Houston.

Nabors-McNally is a renowned junior coach in Cincinnati, who produced two 2014 USTA national champions. Her son, John, swept the 2014 Boys’ 16s National Championships singles and doubles titles at Kalamazoo, Mich., and her daughter, Caty, swept the Girls’ 14s National Championships singles and doubles titles. Nabors-McNally, a member of the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame who played at Northwestern University and on the pro tour, coaches out of The Club at Harper’s Point and is also the coach of the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.

The Tucker Tennis Academy, owned and operated by Trent Tucker out of The Grand Health & Racquet Club in Tulsa, Okla., had an outstanding 2014, with successful performances at both the national and international levels. TTA players brought home nine gold, silver and bronze balls from Level 1 National tournaments. And at the recenty completed USTA Winter National Championships, Tucker Tennis Academy, a USTA Regional Training Center, produced the boys’ 18s singles champion (William Genesen) and third-place finisher (Zeke Clark), the girls’ 16s singles champion (Morgan Coppoc) and a boys’ 14s singles semifinalist and doubles finalist (Nathan Han).


Photo above, L to R: Drew Evert (son of Jimmy Evert), Trent Tucker, Lynn Nabors-McNally, USTA Director of Coaching Jose Higueras, USTA Director of Player ID and Development Kent Kinnear, John Wilkerson, USTA Head of Men's Tennis Jay Berger.