Drumroll Please! Best Tournament Director Award Goes To . . .

Best TD Banner 2014

This past Fall, I announced that ParentingAces would be giving out a Best Tournament Director Award to shine a light on those men and women who go above and beyond for the benefit of our junior players. I opened up the nominations back in October and received 21 unique names. Those of you who submitted nominations really took the time to describe the why behind your nomination, and each of the nominees deserves to be recognized for his/her great work. For a while, I considered giving the award to all 21 of them – honestly, they all warrant extensive kudos from all of us! However, after careful consideration, I decided that, since I had dubbed it the “Best,” I should make the difficult decision and choose one overall winner. And so, I give you the 2014 Best Tournament Director(s) . . .

Scott & Lorraine Novak

When I emailed Scott and Lorraine about their award, they replied with, “The ParentingAces Best Tournament Director Award is a great honor for our tournament staff at the Mobile Tennis Center.  We often browse the ParentingAces website looking for suggestions to improve our tournaments.  For example, we recently read ParentingAces ‘My Wish List for Junior Tournaments‘ and borrowed a few ideas on how to make tournaments more fun for the kids”

They went on, “We have a great tournament staff. Many who have been with us for 10 years and really want to create a positive experience for kids and parents.  We are fortunate in Mobile to have the financial support and backing of our community and local government to help run quality events.  In sports, we realize that you can’t always please everyone, but we strive and grade ourselves on the following:

  1. Communication before and during the tournament.
  2. Plenty of staff.  Overstaff officials, run the tournament at a financial loss if necessary, but always have enough officials.
  3. Customer Service.  Be friendly with everyone, but always strive to be fair.  Be sensitive to parents.  They drive hours to get to Mobile, AL, spend hundreds of dollars, and want their child to have a positive experience.
  4. Kids are the priority.  Only one kid can win a tournament, but 63 other kids can have a positive experience.  Create a fun environment for players.
  5. Be organized and have a plan for the many things that can occur during a tournament.
  6. Schedule and being efficient with times.  No one likes to wait and be late going on the court.  No one cares if we have a good excuse.  Late is late!
  7. Realize tournament directors are not perfect and admit when we make a mistake.  It happens.
  8. The 98-2 Theory.  Have the attitude that all parents and kids are good people.  But realize during each tournament, 98% of kids and parents are good people who are honest on and off the court.  Don’t penalize the 98% of the “good acting”  kids and parents for the actions of the 2% who are having a bad day or bad month. On the other hand, appropriately deal with the 2% that misbehave so they don’t ruin the tournament.”

The person who nominated the Novaks for the award was pretty definitive that they should be the recipients of this first honor! “Scott and Lorraine are organized, innovative and generous. They are always trying to find ways to improve their tournaments. They handle any problems professionally, are flexible and resourceful and are always willing to listen. Scores are posted promptly and the website provides plenty of information. The amenities they offer, from the clothing to the food to the recreation for players, are top notch. They are able to continually improve their facility and often provide chair umpires (for national tournaments) above what is required. Southern hospitality is alive and well in Mobile.” I would say that’s a glowing recommendation!

So, what does this mean for Scott and Lorraine? Well, for one, they are getting some amazing swag to add value to their tournaments in 2015 from Adidas, Holabird Sports, and Wristpect Sport!. They will also be receiving a banner to hang at the Mobile Tennis Center. And I have sent a press release to various tennis media in hopes that the Novaks will get additional recognition for their outstanding work.

I would be remiss if I neglected to honor the other nominees. They all deserve to be recognized for their outstanding efforts. Hopefully, in future years, this award can be expanded to include multiple recipients. In the meantime, I give you the 2014 Nominees (listed alphabetically):

  • Scott Axler – Eastern Section
  • Brian Banas – Midwest Section
  • Don Bradley – Southern Section
  • Amy Rose Brooks – Mid-Atlantic Section
  • Joseph Cappellino – Mid-Atlantic Section
  • Lowell Coffman – Florida Section
  • Michael Coleman – Southern Section
  • Judy Dippold – Missouri Valley Section
  • Laurie Hackbirth – Mid-Atlantic Section
  • Wayne Harrell – New England Section
  • Cathy Jacobson-Guzy – Southern Section
  • Michael Jessup – Northern California Section
  • John Lansville – Southern California Section
  • Teresa LeMair – Mid-Atlantic Section
  • Brian Morrissey – Florida Section
  • Brian Notis – Texas Section
  • Mark Riley – Midwest Section
  • Randy Stevens – Mid-Atlantic Section
  • Eric Voges – Southern Section
  • Robbie Wagner – Eastern Section

Congratulations to all the nominees! And thank you to those who took the time to nominate them! I believe it is important that we continue to recognize and thank those tournament directors who make the extra effort to create events that stand out and make us want to keep coming back year after year. Please be sure to support all of these incredible tournament directors in 2015. Well done!

7 thoughts on “Drumroll Please! Best Tournament Director Award Goes To . . .

  1. Amazing attitude. I really wish the directors in SE FL would follow suit. The level of competition is excellent, but the pressure to cheat is also very strong. This section has the need for more officials big time.

    What a pleasure to hear them say “overstaff officials”. We have 100 player or more draws down here, 20 plus court facilities, and maybe 2 officials, of which usually one does not seem to want to be there.

  2. Congradulations to Scott and Loraine they have an awesome attitude about putting on a good tournament. Wish more tds would increase number of officials. Keep up the good work, maybe other directors will read the mobile tennis center game plan and adopt“`it. Also congradulations to my sons coach Brian Notis nomination..

  3. It is great to see Teresa LeMair recognized, she runs fantastic tournaments no matter the level! If she is reading-know that parents and kids playing appreciate all your hard work and how well organized tournaments are!

  4. Kudos to Michael Jessup! How small the tennis family is….I saw this guy get passed in Chicago in U14s by the “most tree” one handed backhand about 23 yrs ago….Congrats!

  5. BEST TD is hands down Judy Dippold for running the most organized,
    lots of officials ( no cheating) tournaments for years and years.
    Great lady, I don’t know why she doesn’t have more tournaments though.
    Only time my kids felt they could truly play with out the fighting over calls was when she ran the tournaments.

    Ok, on a different note, Lisa, any way to get word to the officials in charge that all the players were unhappy with the last November Open with 4 matches in a day ( 2 singles and 2 doubles). Please go back and read all the comments on your blog to see one unhappy camper after another….

    Really not fair to the folks who don’t pay for a hotel room near the site, and are traveling an hour or two a day to get to the site ( and that was the whole idea, remember, to save the parents some $$$), plus a ridiculous toll on teenagers to play 2 singles and 2 doubles a day, plus no one could get a good nights sleep with an 8 am start and ending 8 pm at night, and then traveling home to eat dinner and shower and stretch and then get up at 5 am the next morning to be there by 7 am.

    Why not 2 singles and one doubles on Saturday,
    2 singles and one doubles on Sunday, ( or 1 single and two doubles on Sunday)
    and one single and two doubles on Monday ( or 2 singles and one double on Monday)

    And actually this is a school vacation that week,
    so why not make it 4 days, Saturday – Tuesday?
    Instead, of injuring the kids with so much tennis in a compressed time?

    1. Would have to agree about the craziness of playing four matches in one day, not sure why it can’t be spread out a bit over three days?

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