Oglethorpe head tennis coach Peter Howell was inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Southern Division Hall of Fame last week in Isle of Palms, S.C., for his lifelong contributions to the organization and to the game of tennis in the South.
In 1971, Coach Howell founded the Georgia Professional Tennis Association (GPTA) after realizing the need for an organization of that type while working as a tennis pro at the Atlanta Athletic Club. That organization is now in its 35th year and holds over 100 members.
In 1983, he became the director of the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, spearheading the first program of its kind. During that time, he directed the Men's USTA Clay 40s, developing 64 league teams under the program. The Bitsy Grant Tennis Center was chosen by Tennis Magazine as one of the top 10 tennis centers in the country. Twenty years later, he became president of the Bitsy Grant Tennis Association and set about restoring the facility to its former glory. He helped raise $3.3 million towards the refurbishment of the center.
As Oglethorpe's head tennis coach for the last 12 years, he has led an up-and-coming program. His teams have consistently improved over the years, and the men's team has been ranked in the Atlantic South region in six of the last eight years, including a high-water mark of seventh during the 2011 season.
"I am very honored to be recognized by my peers as having made a significant contribution to the sport of tennis and the tennis community throughout my lifetime," says Coach Howell. "I am fortunate that through tennis, I have been able to teach and continue to teach 'Life’s Lessons Thru Sport' to the many, many players who have passed through my gates in the past 40-plus years."