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2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

2019 USTA Alabma Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2019 USTA Alabama Foundation Hall of Fame Induction will be held at Vestavia Country Club on
February 16th with ceremony beginning at 5:30 pm. Cost for Hall of Fame is $55. Click below to
register and pay for the Hall of Fame. Deadline to register is February 4th.
Register here.


Richard Harris, a native of Birmingham, grew up playing tournament tennis at the Mountain
Brook Club under the coaching of Tim Vann. Later, played the first position for Mountain
Brook High School tennis team, helping them win High School State Championships. Richard
played collegiate tennis at Southern Methodist University for four years, as a “walk on” rather
than a scholarship player. Richard played 4 years playing ahead of many scholarship players.
After receiving a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Alabama,
Richard has spent the last 20 years, as a tennis professional in the Birmingham area,
spreading his love of tennis to juniors and adults. He has coached Junior Davis Cup (now
known as the Southern Cup) for USTA Alabama when asked, Represented the state in Senior
Cup, and has had numerous junior players play collegiate tennis. He has juniors who have
played at Rhodes, Birmingham Southern, University of Alabama, Jacksonville State, Samford
University, Methodist University, and Duke. Richard other volunteer work includes coaching
the Shades Valley High School girls varsity for two years, and the boys varsity for one year. He
has volunteered as an instructor for the Exceptional Foundation where he organized and
directed tennis clinics for adults with special needs. Way to go Richard!



James “Joc” Simmons, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, grew up playing tennis, qualifying
for the nationals in 12s, 16s, & 18s. Joc, is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where he
was the 1994 NCAA Doubles Champion, and received All American Status in Singles. Joc
played in the main draw of the US Open in 1994, and was ranked 690 on the APT tour. In
2005, Joc moved to Huntsville, Al. to direct the tennis program at the new Huntsville Tennis
Center, where he and his family remain Under Joc’s direction, the Huntsville Tennis Center
has been awarded the Alabama Tournament of the year in 2007,2010,& 2013. The USTA
Alabama Special Event of the Year for its “Spring Break Camp”. Huntsville Tennis Center has
hosted the USTA Southern Senior Cup 2016, 17, & 18.



John Pickens, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, born in 1945. Lived in Tuscaloosa until
high school graduation in 1963, learned tennis at the Tuscaloosa Racquet Club under the
coaching of Jack Evans and later Jason Morton. John was granted a full scholarship to play
for Rice University, where he played the number one position most of the time his junior and
senior years. In 1965, Rice went to the NCAA tournament, John reached the quarter finals
losing to Arthur Ashe. In 1966 as a result of his play in the NCAA tournament, losing to Stan
Smith, John was named an All American, placed on the Junior Davis Cup Team, qualified and
played in Wimbledon, the Italian Open, and the qualifying for the French Open. John’s
competitive tennis career ended in 1968 following the collegiate NCAA tournament in San
Antonio, where Rice came in second place behind The University of Southern California. John
enrolled in Law School at Vanderbilt University, and practiced Law in Atlanta, Ga. John is
currently retired and a resident of Montgomery, AL. A quote from one of many letters of
recommendation sent on John’s behalf.
“In the case of John Pickens nomination, the Committee is presented with a candidate who
embodies the best of what we aspire to, exceptional accomplishments on the court, only to
be exceeded by an exceptional life of service to others”



Gus Adair
The Hubert Kessler Inspiration Cup is an award given to a person in
the state of Alabama who volunteers for tennis in their community,
and whom otherwise might not be recognized as an asset for USTA
Alabama. This year’s award, goes to Gus Adair from Auburn,
Alabama. Gus has proven himself to be a tireless volunteer, in the
past year alone he has volunteered to help with
USTA National 14’s Intersectional, USTA Alabama League
Championships for 3.5 & 4.5 levels, USTA Southern 55 & over
Combo, as well as USTA Southern Tennis on Campus. Gus also
supports tennis as a very honorable competitor.