LAS VEGAS , Nevada - June 28, 2009 - The new LAVO Italian Restaurant and Nightclub at the Palazzo Casino and Resort hoested the United States Tennis Association Nevada District's first Annual Adult Awards Banquet this past June 30th. All USTA members recieved free entry into the nightclub, free food and drinks and all captains and pros that attended received a $100.00 gift card.

Thanks to an agreement with USTA-Nevada LAVO is now the official Restaurant, Lounge and nightclub of USTA-Nevada.

"LAVO has been an incredible partner for USTA-Nevada in our quest to thank and support adult tennis players, captains and pros," said USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "It is an honor to be associated with such a prestigious organization."

More then 400 adult league players, pros and captains enjoyed this social event which included an awards ceremony.

"So many people said this was a great event, we got a lot of good feedback," said USTA-Nevada league coordinator Mary Maragos.

Notable award winners include former #1 ATP Tour professional and Australian Open champion David Pate, who received the Lifetime Achievement award, as well as newly elected City Councilman Stavros Anthony who accepted the Facility of the Year award on behalf of the city's Darling Tennis Center. County Commissioner Larry Brown received the Community Leadership award for his efforts to bring the Tennis Channel Open to Las Vegas as well as the construction of the 23 court Darling Tennis Center, while Organization of the Year was awarded to Snell and Wilmer Law Firm, and accepted by partner Rob Kinas. Jason Strauss and his partners at LAVO, all avid tennis players, sponsored what many called "the best tennis party in 20 years."

Here is a listing of all award winners:

FACILITY OF THE YEAR - Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center

Newly elected City Councilman Stavros Anthony and Sandy Foley attended to accept the "Facility of the Year" Award for the City of Las Vegas' Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center

The Darling Tennis Center has been the home of the Tennis Channel Open professional tennis tournament and countless national, sectional and local tournaments.

"Las Vegas receives over $3,000,000 a year in tourist dollars, thanks to the national events the Darling Center brings to town, not to mention the national exposure," explained USTA Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "Darling has brought our community together with over 50 local events a year, including clinics, tournaments, lessons and a variety of exhibitions. It has been a massive success."

The city of Las Vegas state of the art Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center opened to the public for play in September 2005, as part of the 110 acre Kellogg-Zaher Sports Complex. The center is the largest public outdoor tennis center in the state of Nevada. The tennis complex is comprised of 23 lighted hard courts with center stadium court that seats more than 2,000 spectators.Through an endowment agreement with the Amanda and Stacy Darling Memorial Foundation, the city received $1 million dollars for maintenance and operations of the Amanda and Stacy Daring Tennis Center. The center court is named in memory of the late Ronald Craig Darling.

The Darling Family has long been involved with sponsorship of youth activities and an annual memorial tournament. The family lost their two daughters, Amanda and Stacy, in a tragic automobile accident in 1993. The family later suffered another tragedy when son Ron was lost in a motorcycle accident in 2001. All were avid tennis players and supporters of the Nevada Tennis Association. Through the foundation, Fred Darling, father of Ron, Amanda, and Stacy has annually raised thousands of dollars for local charities. (More on Darling Center at )


Jason Straus and his partners at LAVO are this year?s USTA-Nevada Sponsor of the year. Thanks to LAVO, our tennis community has enjoyed two exclusive complimentary tennis events: the first with the world #1 doubles players Mike and Bob Bryan this past December; and the second being the awards banquet this Tuesday.

"Jason and his partner are both avid tennis players and having sponsors like them is priceless," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "To have use of arguably the nicest Restuarant - Nightclub in the city to hold community tennis events is as good as it gets. Poeple will talk about these days 20 years from now, and all thanks to LAVO."

LAVO is owned by the same group that made TAO the largest grossing Restaurant- Nightclub in the country last year. It is a high class restaurant, lounge and night cub that is frequented by countless celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears, and more.


Winning the "Lifetime Achievement Award" is long time resident and former ATP Tour #1 professional player David Pate. Now Director of Tennis at the Flamingo and Bally's Resorts, Pate put Las Vegas tennis on the map in the 80's. With wins over Conners, Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Gilbert, Gullikson and most notably Lendel when he was #1, and Edberg when he was #2 in the world, Pate had one of the fastest serves on the tour at 137 miles an hour. His greatest title took place at the LA open when he beat Michael Chang, Peter Lundgren, life long friend Andre Agassi, Brad Gilbert and then #2 Stephan Edberg in one draw!. This helped propel Pate to a career high #18 in the world. In 1991 Pate played as a member of the Davis Cup team with Agassi and Courier. Soon enough his shoulder took the beating those serves would give it and Pate focused on doubles with partner Scott Davis (now at Newport Racket Club). Pate won over eighteen doubles titles during his career, most with Davis. The pair became #1 in the world after winning the Australian Open in 1991.

Pate's lifetime earnings were over 2 million dollars and even after retiring, he continues to play the game at a high level. Davis and Pate have won countless US OPEN and Wimbledon Men's 35 events, one as recently as a few years ago.

The Pate family has a long tennis tradition that goes way back to Exhibition Park in Los Angeles where Pate's father, Chuck Pate, taught former #1 player in the world Poncho Gonzales how to play the game. Gonzales, at the peak of his career, recruited Pate's father to run Caesars Palace tennis in the 70's. Further, his brother Jack and he collectively won 6 state championships playing for Clark High School. Both went on to play for Texas Christian University with honors, achieving All-American twice, a Hall of Fame induction and David won the 1981 NCAA Doubles title with Carl Richter. David's older brother Chuck Pate Jr. also played tennis on scholarship at BYU , won some father and son national titles, and the family won the 1978 Equitable family tennis challenge title.

David's wife Debbie plays USTA-Nevada 3.5 league and runs the tennis shops at Bally's and Flamingo. Their sons Dakota and Colton just received scholarships to play at the University of Idaho. Daughter Sarah is an accomplished soccer player at Coronado and plays tennis as well. Pate's annual Charity Tennis Classic has been raising funds for charities for close to 15 years. This year proceeds go to benefit the USTA-Nevada junior programs. (More on Pate at 0047324)

ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR - Snell & Wilmer, Rob Kinas

Winning Organization of the Year is law firm Snell & Wilmer. Snell & Wilmer's motto is, "Character comes through." USTA-Nevada has been a beneficiary of this character thanks to the generosity of Snell & Wilmer and Rob Kinas.

"Not only have they donated countless hours of free legal support to get our By Laws in order, they are constantly creating community events including exhibitions, charity events for cancer and whatever creative idea Rob Kinas comes up with next," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "Rob Kinas could be among the most valuable USTA members we have and his organization has done so much to help our community."


The Sandy Tueller Service Award is a new award created to honor those who have been of tremendous service to our tennis community as a volunteer and leader. This year?s winner is former USTA-Intermountian and USTA-Nevada President Sandy Tueller.

"Sandy Tueller's name has been said over and over again as the innovator and creator of so many great programs within USTA-Nevada and USTA as a whole," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "There is arguably no one who has done more service for tennis as a volunteer then Sandy Tueller, and that is why it made complete sense to name this award after her."

Sandy's accomplishments in tennis are far too many to mention. She was the first person to ever receive the David Freed Lifetime Achievement Award. Tueller's time spent volunteering for the U STA was almost 20 years and included being President of NTA from 1983-1985 and being in charge of the volunteers for the last Alan King Tennis Classic. She became the first woman president of Intermountain in 1985. On a national level she served as chairman of Junior Competition, Senior Recreation and co-chair of Play Tennis America and was Chairman of the League Rules Committee for 10 years and part of the first ever Olympic Committee. "I think it is important for us to become involved on the sectional and national level. It gives us a heads up as to what is happening in tennis," said Tueller.

Because of her involvement in the USTA nationally, Nevada was one of the earliest states to use NTRP ratings instead of A,B,C and our section was the third largest section of league players for the longest time.

"I could see the initiative happening with the juniors so we initiated a future stars program. All the local pros put in time to help this program, including Pancho Gonzales," she explained. This is the same program that went on to get many of our great players in the game and eventually scholarships to college, including recent graduates Maggie Yahner (University of Virginia), Jasmine Muhammad (Howard University), Joel Kiebelwitz (UNLV), Thompson twins (Notre Dame).

Locally Tueller helped run UNLV's tennis fundraisers, a few professional challenger tournaments, national events and chaired our USTA-Nevada Appeals Committee and Tennis Channel Open Volunteer Committee.

"Sandy's ability to get people involved and get things done is legendary in town," said Wolfington. "When I first got heavily involved in tennis, Marty Hennessy used to always say, 'You need to meet Sandy Tueller, when she was involved with the USTA she got more done then anybody. Sandy Tueller has helped and inspired more juniors over the last 35 years than anyone I can think of, said Hennessy.

Sandy's accomplishments also include starting the George MacCall Youth Tennis Foundation with Pancho Gonzales, Future Stars, Area training centers and an unforgettable trip to Japan with local juniors.

"For me, anything I have ever done to help the USTA or the community was always done because of Sandy," said Las Vegas Country Club Director Johnny Lane. "She is one of those rare breeds that goes above and beyond every time and was always making new things happen."

MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARD - Claudine Grant, Fox 5

Fox 5 anchor Claudine Grant is this year's Media Excellence Award winner. Claudine has covered, supported and promoted the tennis community from day one. An active tennis player at the Stirling Club inside Turnberry Place, Claudine has done countless on air stories and features not only on home town hero Andre Agassi, but the grass roots stories that inspire us. From the Tennis Channel Open to the local foundation fundraiser, Claudine is a big supporter and has used her talents to promote the game of tennis in the media.


Larry Brown, while City Councilman, was responsible for spearheading the Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center. The Tennis Center resulted in growing the game of tennis while bringing in over $3,000,000 in tourist dollars thanks to the national events it attracts. Since then Brown has contributed to the tennis community by bringing us the Tennis Channel Open. Larry Brown is now a County Commissioner and has always been there for the tennis community as an advocate and avid supporter.


This year's Sportsmanship Award goes to Marva Froelich. According to Craig Witcher, "Marva is awesome,. She is willing to do anything for anybody, for any team, any time. She has a great love for the game." According to USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfinton, "It was in part a result of Marva's idea to have more tennis social events in town this year, which led to this awards banquet. She really gets involved." According to USTA-Nevada adult league Coordinator Mary Maragos, Marva is a great help and captains 8-12 teams a year.

ADULT LEAGUE AMBASSADOR - Mary Maragos & Mike Copenhaver

USTA-Nevada Adult League Coordinator Mary Maragos administers all of league in Southern Nevada. Going on her 6th year, Mary has brought a fun, social yet competitive environment to league. Her bigger then life personality and ability to deal with all of the rules, issues and complaints has helped her grow league significantly in the last 6 years.
"Mary has the perfect personality to not take the hard job she has to heart. She talks to everyone and in the past two years has especially stepped up to the plate," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "Her Ladies League Luncheon, Districts, Captains' party and now this Awards Banquet have all been taken to a whole new level."

Mike Copenhaver has been a great addition to the tennis community as Director of Red Rock Country Club. After his first year, Red Rock boasts more new league teams then any other private facility in town. He has done a lot to grow the game and get new players into league.

PRO OF THE YEAR - Rob Kirkendall

This year's pro of the year goes to Canyon Gate teaching pro Rob Kirkendall. If you ask his team how they went from beginners to 3.0 District Champions, then the following year making it to Districts at 3.5, they will point to Rob's dedication and passion. At EVERY match, Rob is noted for going above and beyond every time. His practices go long, he gives pre-match and post match talks and analysis, and he is always on the phone giving good advice, calming fears and giving inspiration.

"Rob Kirkendall is the rare case of a person who loves what he does so much he cannot stop," explained Ryan Wolfington, USTA-Nevada's Executive Director. "He could give lessons on passion and dedication because what he does for his students and teams is amazing. He is a huge asset to our community." Rob is also a volunteer with USTA-Nevada and has done a lot to financially support, promote and help the game of tennis.
"He is the perfect employee," explained Ben Coates, Director of Canyon Gate. "He comes by on windy days and puts up the wind screens and that is not even his job. It is hard to find a guy like Rob."

VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR - Fay Schneider & Karey & Tim Novak

Fay Schneider is one of this year's Volunteers of the Year, thanks to her weekly dedication. "Fay takes a bus and spends days in our office each week not only helping with all the tasks we need done, but she adds a sense of family and community," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "Fay brings food, salads, presents, she is amazing."

Karey Novak is Volunteer of the Year for all her hard work in helping Rob Merriman with all of the sectional tournaments, the elite league, the annual awards banquet and then some. "Beyond what Karey and her husband Tim do for the Association, they also volunteer at their church, for the Meadows School where their children attend on scholarship and for local foundations, " explaied USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. She has been a huge help and we cannot thank her enough."


Event of the Year goes to CAMP BRYAN, created and run by tennis enthusiast Glenn Alex. Glen's passion for tennis has led her to create countless professional exhibitions and events for our community. CAMP BRYAN brought in the #1 doubles team in the world, which Glen was able to do thanks to being their masseuse! Glen, a professional massage therapist, luckily has become passionate about tennis as a 4.0 player and organizer. Her event has also included pros like Rick Leach, Mark Woodforde and our own NCAA Champion Tim Blenkiron. Glen has always donated spots to local juniors for her clinics and has raised thousands of dollars for USTA-Nevada at her events.

"People like Glenn are one in a million," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "People like her take risks and make things happen because they are willing to try, and that is priceless for our tennis community."


Tournament of the Year is awarded to Spanish Trail, which includes Director Dan Knight, Hans Riehemann, Head Tennis Professional Daniel Maccanello and Peggy LaTour. This team has been putting on one of the best tournaments in Las Vegas for over 20 years. Spanish Trail is known for its professionalism, quality of draw and great tennis parties. The facility is beautiful and tournament shirts by Bergam Walls and Associates are a Las Vegas Tennis staple, but it is the inviting family like atmosphere which makes it one of the best.
"Dan has a great innovative mind and has always brought and created great tennis events in Las Vegas," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "From his event years ago that Michael Chang won to his fall and spring classic, he always puts on a great event."

FAMILY OF THE YEAR - Aguilar Family

Fred Aguilar and his family are this year's "Family of the Year." As volunteers at the USTA-Nevada office, active league players and captains, tournament players and even as a past employee, the Aguilar family has been immersed in our tennis community for over two decades. "Fred Aguilar is the best captain I have ever had," explained one of his players. "He knows how to be fair, competitive and can bring a team together." Fred should know; he has been a captain for over 20 years.

USTA-NEVADA PRESIDENT'S AWARD - Claire Roth, USTA-Nevada Treasurer

Claire Roth is this year's "Presidents Award Winner" for all her work as Treasurer of the USTA-Nevada Board. Claire was the driving force and had her hand in fixing the By Laws, kicking off our ESPN Zone Davis Cup Party, helping the Board professionalize itself, establishing an Audit Committee, balancing the budget and much, much more.

"Claire has done so much work for the Board; I cannot thank her enough," said Tiu Blenkiron, USTA-Nevada's President. "She has helped us professionalize the Board and take it to another level."

"Having Claire's help has been like having an extra employee for free," explained USTA-Nevada Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "It is incredible to have Board members like her who do so much for the association."


Organization of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award
Facility of the Year
Sandy Tueller Service Award
Adult Sportsmanship of the Year Award
Adult League Ambassador

Pro of the Year
Media Excellence Award
Community Leadership Award
Sponsor of the Year Award
Volunteers of the Year

Event of the Year
Tournament of the Year
Family of the Year
USTA-Nevada President's Award

Snell & Wilmer, Rob Kinas
David Pate
Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center
Sandy Tueller
Marva Froelich
Mary Maragos
Mike Copenhaver
Rob Kirkendall
Claudine Grant, Fox 5
Larry Brown
Fay Schneider
Karey Novak
Bryan Brothers (Glen Alex)
Spanish Trail
Aguilar Family
Claire Roth, USTA-NV Treasurer
Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa
Tennis Warehouse

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