USTA Eastern Honors Long Islanders at Annual Conference
At its annual Eastern Tennis Conference, USTA Eastern honored several Long Island volunteers for their dedication to and work on behalf of growing the game of tennis in the Region.
Scott Axler, Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year
Mike Pavlides, Long Island Region Volunteer of the Year
Steven Ferrantello, Virginia and Chuck Landis High School Coach of the Year
Jacki Binder, Press Service Award
Hilary Bressler of Christopher Morley Tennis, 10 and Under Tennis Award
Scott Axler, Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year, has served as one of the preeminent tournament directors in the Eastern section for over three decades. He has overseen both major sectional and national events, and thousands of juniors have played competitively under his purview over many years. Interestingly, Scott may have never joined this tennis world were it not for two very specific juniors: his son, Josh and his daughter, Liz, both of whom were very accomplished junior players. Liz won the county doubles championship all four years she played in high school. And Josh has the unique distinction of having beaten Andy Roddick twice when they played in the 14-and-unders.
It was because of his children’s experiences that Scott endeavored to get more involved in the local tennis community. He joined the Long Island region board, and shortly thereafter was hired to serve as the tournament director at Point Set Tennis in Oceanside. After several successful years at Point Set, he moved to Robbie Wagner’s Tournament Training Center in Glen Cove. Robbie had coached Scott’s son Josh; Scott became part owner of the organization. Under Scott’s supervision, the facility has run a wealth of National-level tournaments over the last two decades. From 2004 to 2009, Scott also served as the chairman of the Junior Competition Committee. From 2009-2011, he was President of the Long Island Region board. Scott has been honored by the USTA Long Island Region as the 2003 Hy Zausner Lifetime Awardee, 2010 Madeline Zausner Tournament Director, 1999 Adult Volunteer of the Year and the 2006 USTA Eastern LI Regional Award Winner.
Mike Pavlides, Long Island Region Volunteer of the Year, is a longtime volunteer and member of the Long Island Regional Council. Most recently he was Vice Regional Di rector and began a two-year term as Regional Director in January. A coach himself, Mike is passionate about high school tennis and has spearheaded a wealth of initiatives for teams on the island. In 2022, he helped provide all coaches in Nassau and Suffolk Counties with a plaque to recognize one exemplary player on each team for sportsmanship. Additionally, he played an instrumental role in the council’ efforts to celebrate “No cut” teams. Mike is also very involved in organizing the Long Island Awards Dinner and annual Kids’ Days, two of the council’s biggest events each year. In addition, he is very involved with USTA Long Island website content and “On the Ball: News from LI,” the Region’s quarterly newsletter. Previous honors for Mike include the USTA Long Island 2010 Adult Volunteer of the Year, 2003 Nassau Coach of the Year and 2012 USTA Eastern Virginia and Chuck Landis H.S. Coach of the Year.
Jacki Binder, Press Service Award, first became involved with the USTA as a parent. Her son, Ross, competed in tournaments as well as on his middle school and high school team, and went on to play college tennis as well. Early on in Ross’ tennis career, Jacki was recruited to join the USTA Long Island Regional Council to help provide public relations support. One of her biggest projects was the creation of “On the Ball: News from LI,” the Region’s quarterly digital newsletter. The newsletter’s goal was to help improve communication among members of the Long Island tennis community and celebrate their on and off-court achievements. The first issue, published in 2011, was three pages long. Since then, Jacki has continued to publish four issues a year for the past 11 years. In that time the publication has continued to grow, both in length and in subscribers. In addition to her work with On the Ball, Jacki maintains the USTA Long Island webpage and works with local newspapers to promote the work of LI Council. She also routinely helps the section office to secure photography from Long Island events and coordinates the Long Island Council’s pages in Long Island Tennis Magazine. Jacki received the Press Service Award from USTA Eastern in 2012 and was USTA Eastern Long Island Volunteer of the Year in 2011.
Steven Ferrantello, Virginia and Chuck Landis High School Coach of the Year, is the Boys and Girls Varsity Coach at Half Hollow Hills High School East. He has coached the boys’ team since 2018 and took over the girls’ team in 2020. During his tenure, both teams have won county championships, and the girls’ squad has captured multiple division titles as well.
What makes Steven such a great coach extends beyond results. He is incredibly passionate about this position, and he is always looking for ways to better the team, the county and the tennis community. It is not uncommon to see Steven stay after the end of a practice to talk with a student about a college decision or something similar. He always puts the kids first. He has helped his players organize fundraisers that have raised thousands of dollars for charities. In the relatively short time that he has been coaching, Steven has already received a wide range of honors and distinctions, including the 2021 Suffolk County Coach of the Year by Long Island Tennis Magazine. He was also named 2022 Suffolk Coach of the Year by USTA Long Island.
Hilary Bressler, 10 and Under Tennis Award, came to Christopher Morley Tennis in 2018 and has grown the facility’s 10 & Under operation tremendously. Within a year of her arrival, 75 students were enrolled in her classes. Even through the pandemic, her programming grew. She routinely found herself teaching over 100 kids. Today, she oversees classes with over 140 participants ages 4 through 9. Her high energy and enthusiasm for the sport is contagious. Her students smile ear-to-ear from the time they get on the court until they leave. Previous USTA Long Island honors for Hilary and Christopher Morley Tennis include 2018 Tennis Club of the Year and 2017 Innovative Tennis Program of the Year. Hilary was the 2019 USTA Eastern - LI Regional Award Winner.
Grant Money Available
USTA Eastern & USTA Eastern Long Island grants are now available for the 2023 year. Organizations are invited to apply for this funding to support programming aimed at increasing tennis participation in our local communities. Grant applications focused on the programming below will be given special consideration:
►School and After School Programming
►Junior Competitive Play
►Adult Competitive Play
►Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
►Community Tennis Associations (CTA) & National Jr. Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Programs
Please Click Here for more information.
Long Island Regional Council Executive Committee
►Mike Pavlides, Regional Director
►Jonathan Klee, Past Regional Director
►Neil Thakur, Manager, Schools Tennis and Long Island & Metro Region CTC
Facebook: Play Tennis Long Island
Instagram: USTA Eastern