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Jim Neal One of Nine National Finalists for the 2011 USTA Starfish Award

The United States Tennis Association today announced the nine national finalists for the 2011 USTA Starfish Award. The award honors exceptional high school coaches who have a profound impact on young people’s lives through a "No-Cut" policy for their high school tennis team.


A No-Cut policy essentially means every student who wishes to play is welcomed as a member of the team.  With more than 2,850 coaches nationwide implementing this initiative, some high school programs have more than 100 tennis team members.  The coaches of these teams serve as positive role models and make a difference by spending the extra time and effort to ensure that thousands of young players experience the fun of representing their high school tennis team. Following are the nine finalists for the 2011 Starfish Award:


·         Terri Cunningham of Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL

·         Kenneth Griffith of Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head, MD

·         Jim Neal of Niskayuna High School in Niskayuna, NY

·         Jim Solomon of Hall High School in West Hartford, CT

·         Donna Stauffer of Lafayette High School in Wildwood, MO

·         Roger Sunderman of Hastings High School in Hastings, NE

·         Don Tellefsen of Oak Creek High School in Oak Creek, WI

·         Marceil Whitney of Redmond High School in Redmond, WA

·         Matt Wiemers of McCook High School in McCook, NE


The USTA will recognize the two national winners at the Community Tennis Development Workshop held in New Orleans, La., from January 13th – 15th, 2012. The Starfish Award is in its seventh year of existence and has honored twelve winners since 2005.


To qualify as a Starfish Award winner, coaches must have implemented the No-Cut program at a high school and be nominated by USTA Section Coordinators.  Final winners are determined by a select panel of USTA committee members, staff, volunteers and career no-cut coaches.


All registered no-cut coaches have access to updates and tips from the No-Cut Coaches Advisory Team and an interactive coaches’ forum. Comprised of seasoned and successful no-cut high school coaches, the Advisory Team offers advice, guidance and resources to coaches who are challenged by the obstacles of working with such large teams.


To register as a no-cut coach or learn more about the program, visit www.usta.com/no-cut