Bulletin Staff Report

AUSTIN — The family of Howard Payne head tennis coach Sally Brown was recognized as the “Whataburger Community Tennis Family of the Year” at the annual United States Tennis Association section community development workshop in Austin on Jan. 13.

According to a press release issued by the USTA, the Browns were honored for being an “avid tennis playing family.”

Sally — who is in her second year as Howard Payne head tennis coach — and her husband Mark have both played in the USTA adult leagues, competing at both the sectional and national level. They passed their love for the sport on to their children, Taylor and Keeley, who both played junior team tennis.

Taylor also qualified for regionals as a member of the Brownwood Lions tennis team before graduating in 2005, while Keeley, a junior, is the defending District 16-4A girls singles champion.

The Browns’ involvement with the Texas section and junior team tennis began when Sally stepped in to coach Taylor’s junior team when it earned the right to play at the 1998 AAU Junior Olympics in Norfolk, Va.

Sally also recruited both Mark to assist in coaching and Keeley to play.

After moving from Amarillo to Brownwood, the Browns started the first junior team tennis league in the area with roughly 80 players in the league. Since then, the Brown family has rarely missed either coaching, playing or running a junior team tennis sectional playoff.

Both Mark and Sally also serve on the junior recreation committee with Sally as its chairperson.

“We play the game because we love the sport, but we volunteer because we love the people,” Sally Brown said. “The reward is the relationships we have made along the way and the friendships we have developed.”

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States 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.

It owns and operates the U.S. Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the U.S. Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the U.S. Open.

A non-profit organization with 665,000 members, the USTA invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game.

In addition, the USTA owns 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games.