Texas Tennis History

Texas Tennis Association/USTA Texas

It was during the 1895 tournament in Dallas that some of the players formed a state tennis association. On Sunday, May 11, 1895 at 1 p.m. there was a meeting to organize the association. It was thought that the time was "ripe for doing so" and it would help the sport give Texas a standing in the national association, the Dallas Morning News reported. The day following the meeting, the paper reported, J.D. Collett of Fort Worth and Henry S. Crawford of Dallas gave a dinner at the Oriental Hotel after the games at which time the organization of the Texas State Lawn Tennis Association was effected, and application to the National Lawn Tennis Association of America was ordered. The group elected Glen Walker of Fort Worth as president, R.G. Patton of Waco, vice president, J. Henry Meyers of Dallas, secretary and Leslie Waggener of Austin, treasurer. In 1907, the officers and executive committee of the Texas State Lawn Tennis Association completed the formation of a constitution and by-laws to govern the association. Individual dues were fifty cents a year.

 

In 1917, Dr. Daniel A. Penick began his 40+ year term as president of the TSLTA. The organization joined the USNLTA in 1911 as a regular organization. In 1921 Dr. Penick began requesting that we become a District, and in 1926, Texas became the 10th Association of the USLTA (the ‘N’ had been dropped). Under his leadership, tournaments and local tennis activities expanded in Texas.

 

The association continued to thrive as a 100% volunteer organization until the growth and management needed some paid staff. This began with the first paid executive director, Warren Zimmerman of Dallas in 1969-70 and Cleo James of Houston in 1970-71. Both were part time. The first full time executive director was Carolyn Moody of Austin from 1972-78. Ben Ball took over in late 1978 and after working from home for some years, led the section to lease an office in south Austin about 1985. The association grew to 25,000 members and had 10 full time staff at the end of his 12 years. Ken McAllister became the executive director in 1991. Twenty-four years later, USTA Texas had grown to 57,000 members and 26 full time staff.

 

The Texas Tennis Association briefly became the USTA Texas Section in 1998 until national policy dictated a change to the current USTA Texas in 2006.