Honorary GPTA Hall of Fame Members
George Amaya, John Callen, Natalie Cohen, Branch Currington, Joe Dennis, Dave Dvorak
Pride Evans, Greg Grover, Woody Hoblitzell, Peter Howell, Cindy Jones, Dan Magill
John Niemeyer, Linda Ryan, Randy Stephens, Mark Suiter, Julia Wrege
Hall of Fame News
Congratulations to Mark Suiter!
Mark is the newest member of the GPTA Hall of Fame!
Mark's Atlanta based tennis career began in 1978 at Dekalb Tennis Center. In June of 1979 Mark had been named as Director of Tennis for the Atlanta Sporting Club and ran a very successful program until 1984. It was at that time Mark was recruited to take the Director of Tennis position at the prestigious Rivermont Country Club where he spent the next 22 years. Needless to say Mark enjoyed many successes over his 22 years in this position. In recent years Mark has served as Director of tennis at Nesbit Lakes and Berkley Hills Country Club. Currently Mark is a Tennis Service Representative for USTA Southern. Thank you, Mark, for your many years of service to the Georgia Tennis Community! (Mark, right, pictured above with Bill Osterhold) 11/2012
GPTA Founder named to GA Tennis Hall of Fame
Peter Howell, Oglethorpe University Assistant Athletics Director and Head Tennis Coach, was selected for induction into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame. Founded by the Georgia Tennis Association, the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame honors those whose excellence—both on and off the tennis courts—has brought recognition and esteem to themselves and tennis in Georgia. Howell has more than 35 years of playing and teaching tennis. His experience includes holding the No. 5 national ranking by the USTA for six consecutive years and the Georgia Tennis Professional-of-the-Year four times as well as Senior Player-of-the Year twice. He was ranked No. 1 in GA in the 30, 35 and 40 age group doubles. The men’s tennis team he guides at Oglethorpe University has been ranked regionally in the Atlantic South Division among NCAA Division III schools in each of the past three seasons. He has taught thousands of people to play tennis at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Ansley Golf Club, Bitsy Grant Tennis Center and The Standard Club, as well as Oglethorpe University. He has been actively involved with the GA Tennis community as a volunteer, player, professional and coach. In 1977 Howell founded the GPTA, a grass-roots formation of tennis professionals in Georgia dedicated to improving the standards of tennis in the community. Since its creation, the GPTA has become the model for similarly founded organizations across the country. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Howell starred for three seasons for the Commodores on the tennis courts before injury sidelined him for his senior year. As a junior, Howell was named captain of the team and earned Most Valuable Player honors. Howell comes from a family steeped in tennis tradition and, in 1964, the Howell family was selected as the Tennis Family-of-the-Year by the Southern Tennis Association. Peter will join his brother, Richard Howell, who was inducted in 1993 and his mother, Caroline Howell, who was inducted in 2000, as a member of the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame at induction ceremonies scheduled for May 2010. "It’s a terrific honor to be recognized by the tennis community in Georgia as having made a difference," said Howell, who, in his joking nature, added, "It shows that good things happen if you live long enough!" 9/09
Dvorak Named to Hall of Fame
The GPTA Board of Directors inducted GPTA member Dave Dvorak into its Hall of Fame at its Annual Awards Party at Country Club of Roswell. Dave is a past president and secretary of the association and has served the tennis community in so many ways throughout his career, and he continues to do so. Dave has been teaching tennis since 1981. Currently, he is the Director of Tennis at the Dunwoody Country Club where he has been since January of 2006. Prior to that, Dave spent 14 years as the Director of Tennis at Atlanta Country Club. Before his tenure at Atlanta Country Club, Dave was the Head Professional at the Country Club of Roswell for four years under the tutelage of GPTA Hall of Fame Member Cindy Jones. Before moving to Georgia, Dave worked for Brian Marcus at the East Hills Athletic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ben Hestley (pictured left, with Dave) properly roasted Dave as part of the presentation. Ben is a former pro at Dunwoody Country Club and was the emcee for the evening. 12/12/07
Georgia Tennis Community Mourns Loss of George Amaya
Tennis took George Amaya out of South America and made him a collegiate national champion and world top-200 touring professional. Sportsmanship took him further. The long-time tennis director of Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta got his biggest break in tennis after a match he lost. Playing in 1980 at what is now Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Amaya drew a college player named Bud Cox. Amaya lost the match but impressed a spectator when he gave Cox a line call that the umpire had ruled in Amaya's favor. Six months later, the spectator Bud Cox's father, Charlie, a Cherokee member and later a Georgia Tennis Hall of Famer himself--called Amaya and told him that he was the kind of player and sportsman that Cherokee needed. Amaya was instantly popular at the prestigious Buckhead club and has became one of the most respected teaching professionals in the city, a former director and player of the year, as well as president, for the Georgia Professional Tennis Association.
Amaya was born in Weymouth, Mass., and lived in New England until his father, Jaime, took his family to his native Colombia when George was five. Amaya would become become the No. 2 junior player in the country with little formal training, just a love of tennis that he shared with his father and six siblings. "We used to be more like students of the game," Amaya said. "Any time there was exhibition, like Rod Laver and Fred Stolle came to Colombia, us kids would just kill to go and watch them and take notes and try to emulate how they played." One of Amaya's fondest memories as a teenager was working as a volunteer lines judge in the singles final of a circuit event that came to Colombia. The finalists were Tony Roche and John Newcombe.
Amaya followed brothers Jim and Juan to Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., and won the NAIA singles and doubles titles in 1971. He spent two years in the military and two in coaching before attempting the pro circuit age 25. In his first pro event, he made the semifinals of singles and finals of doubles in New Zealand. "For the doubles prize money, I got an envelope with a receipt that said, 'Prize money $5, Entry fee $4.50;' Then there was a 50-cent coin," Amaya said. "That's when I realized the circuit was going to be tough."
Amaya got as high as No. 170 and played the U.S. Open three times. After retiring, Amaya remained one of Atlanta's elite players, competing in ALTA's highest flight, AA-1, into his 50s. He was a four-time singles champion and six-time doubles winner of the Atlanta Senior Invitational, which attracts more senior national champions than any other tournament in the U.S.
George Amaya, 55, died from cancer at his Atlanta residence. The funeral was at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception at Cherokee Town Club. A left-hander, he was best known for a smooth forehand and a warm smile. "I'd like for people to remember me for my sense of enjoyment for the game," Amaya said, "but also that when I did compete, I did it with a high level of sportsmanship and respect for my opponent and for tennis." 10/05