Kathy Woods was recently inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Hall of Fame during the USPTA General Membership Meeting at the 2018 Tennis Teachers Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York. The USPTA Hall of Fame is the association’s highest honor and serves as a place to recognize excellence in the tennis profession and commitment to USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals.
“I would never have imagined that this memorable moment would have arrived, but now that it has, I’m honored and proud of the opportunities I’ve had. Each one gave me the confidence and courage to take on the next large task, including my job today at the National Campus,” said Woods. She continued, “I have a very large number of associates who have supported me throughout my career and made this moment possible.”
Woods is the director of tennis at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus, where she is responsible for the set-up and implementation of all national campus programs and hiring teaching professionals and coaching staff. She directs a staff of 30 tennis professionals with comprehensive year-round programs for all ages and levels of play as well as adult and youth camps. Previously, she served as the director of tennis at the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg, Fla., and managed tennis programs in several communities, including Princeton, N.J.; Key Biscayne, Fla.; and Westport, Conn.
In 1997, she was awarded the Tennis Educational Merit Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame for outstanding service at the national level. She served as president of the USPTA from 1994-1996 and held the distinguished honor of being the first and only woman to serve the association in that capacity. She is the co-author with her husband, Ron, of Playing Tennis After 50.
Surprisingly, Woods did not come from a tennis-playing family but credits her two older brothers with supplying her with a terrific athletic foundation and trained her as a football, baseball and basketball player. She found her love for tennis when she attended a general summer camp in Michigan where tennis was one of the various sporting activities offered.
“Tennis was just one of the activities,” said Woods. “At 12, I was fortunate to attend the Chase Tennis Camp outside of Philadelphia, and it was there that I really improved my skills, so much so that I became an instructor at 16.”
Woods’ inspiration to continue her work in tennis is simple: observing the way tennis touches the lives of the students of the game. She encourages parents and children, athletes and observers alike to come and check out the USTA and check out the local programs offered.
“Seeing children and adults make lifelong friends, achieve competence and self-confidence through the acquisition of skill is incredibly inspiring. Watching players exercise and find joy on a tennis court by competing or practicing is so rewarding,” said Woods. “And the relationships I’ve had with players young and old is a constant inspiration. My parallel inspiration comes from the relationships I’ve had and continue to have with my professional associates. In the service industry, there is constant learning and growing daily!”
For more information on the USTA, visit www.ustanationalcampus.com.