Dr. Keith Dressler handed off the baton of the Chattanooga Tennis Foundation presidency to Kate Bailey on Monday, three years after he succeeded Bailey's mother, Elaine O'Dell, following her own three years in the office.
Mike Salisbury was elected vice president in absentia, and Jeff Guerry, Sue Webb and Coleen Davis were added to the board.
The smooth transition took place during a meeting of the foundation's board of directors at the Champions Club, where much of the discussion was about the progress of local youth programs and what the foundation could do to help the Chattanooga Tennis Association.
Among other updates, affiliate board members Mike Westerman and Patty Van Valkinburgh from the CTA reported that 280 junior players, including many under 10, are in the Junior Team Tennis program. They also had much praise for Davis' work as CTA community coordinator, made possible by a grant from USTA Tennessee.
This is the 20th anniversary of the foundation's founding, and Peggy Wilkerson was elected again as secretary and treasurer. She continues as the only person to have served in that role, and that's after having been the secretary of the CTA for years.
"She's unbelievable," said Dressler, who said he was certain the foundation would continue under Bailey the progress it has made in helping build the sport in the area.
The CTF is in its ninth year of sponsoring the summer tennis program at the Chambliss Center for Children, and it has added a program at the center for winter break. It also helps furnish tennis rackets and balls for the fledgling high school teams at Howard, Brainerd and Tyner and adds other support to the Tennis-in-Schools initiative for Hamilton County schools.
The main achievement of his three years as president, Dressler said, was "expanding the donor base."
"We've tripled the number of donors," he said, with Bailey backing up that assessment. "That gives us the opportunity to help the underserved tennis community be able to do more to increase the number of participants."
Said Bailey: "I just want us to add to the same direction. For example, kids have opportunities to play a lot of sports, and tennis is a lifetime sport. We want to expose more kids to that and try to give them reasons to stay in tennis."
The team tennis program has become a popular way for many to do that, she added, as it adds a fun dimension to what can be a pressurized sport for individuals.
"That's where you get the camaraderie, the bond thing," Wilkerson said.
Contact Ron Bush at email@example.com or 423-757-6291.