Article provided by United States Tennis Association
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 27, 2017 -- The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that Gene Orlando of Lansing, Mich. -- head coach of the Michigan State University (MSU) men's tennis team -- has been presented the Brad Parks Award for his outstanding contribution in helping grow wheelchair tennis at the local level. Orlando was recognized during an awards banquet at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference, March 24-27, at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to his Big Ten men's tennis team duties, Orlando has been instrumental in the growth of the wheelchair tennis community at MSU since wheelchair tennis was first played there in 1990. He has created tournaments through the USTA Wheelchair Tennis Link and holds bi-weekly practices that are open to players of all levels.
Orlando has coached players who have gone on to win tennis matches at all levels, including two-time Paralympian Bryan Barten. He also has provided administrative support for grant proposals and other expansions of wheelchair tennis opportunities on campus.
"What I find most impressive about Coach Orlando is his unique ability to strike a perfect balance between inclusion and high expectation," said Piotr Pasik, coordinator of the MSU Adaptive Sports & Recreation Club. "Despite the diversity in ability -- which many coaches would find daunting -- Coach Orlando embraces the challenge and navigates it successfully with creativity and patience as he watches his players improve."
The Brad Parks Award was established in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions to wheelchair tennis. Named after San Clemente, Calif., resident Brad Parks, a pioneer of wheelchair tennis and the first wheelchair tournament champion, the award is presented annually and honors an individual or organization that has been instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis around the world through playing, coaching, sponsoring or promoting the game.
"Gene Orlando's contributions to the Michigan State wheelchair tennis program are unparalleled," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "In addition to his NCAA tennis responsibilities and his devotion to his family, he has given his time and talents to the wheelchair community for more than 25 years. He is very deserving of the Brad Parks Award."
The USTA Annual Meeting and Conference brings together USTA leadership, national staff, national committee members and section volunteers and staff in pursuit of the USTA mission: to promote and develop the growth of tennis. Along with leadership and committee meetings, the Annual Meeting provides education opportunities for all attendees to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and learn new ways to promote the game of tennis.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA's philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships and helps under-resourced youth and individuals with disabilities, and supports wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter.
For more information, contact: Tom LaDue, Manager, Corporate Communications, USTA, (914) 697-2352; firstname.lastname@example.org