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Another 'Jim Russell Tournament of the Year' award in the South

January 28, 2016 02:00 PM

The late Jim Russell of Belton has been honored again posthumously.

USTA Southern, the largest USTA section in the country, has named its "Junior Tournament of the Year" award after Russell, the longtime referee of South Carolina's state championship, the Palmetto Championships. Russell died in 2012 at the age of 67.

The portrait of Jim Russell that hangs at the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in Belton.

For decades prior, he gave countless hours of his life to tennis. Among his accomplishments:

  • Referee of the Palmetto Championships in Belton for 36 years;
  • Tournament referee for the NCAA Division I men’s championship for 22 years;
  • Served a two-year term as president of the Belton Tennis Association;
  • Served on the board of the then S.C. Tennis Association, including a two-year term as president;
  • Helped establish the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame;
  • Served as president of the USTA Southern Section from 1993-94;
  • Served as USTA Southern delegate to the USTA for two years;
  • Served two-year term on USTA Board of Directors;
  • Received two highest volunteer service awards from USTA Southern: Jacobs Bowl in 1994 and the Charles B. Morris Award in 1999;
  • Inducted into three hall of fames: South Carolina Tennis; ITA Men’s Collegiate; and Southern Tennis.

The USTA South Carolina Board of Directors requested the name change to the USTA Southern awards committee, said Eleanora Mauritson, the Southern awards committee chairwoman. The committee approved the request and sent it to the USTA Southern Board of Directors, which also approved.

Now the "Junior Tournament of the Year" awards from both USTA South Carolina and USTA Southern bear Russell's name.

Below is what was shared earlier this month when the first USTA Southern "Jim Russell Junior Tournament of the Year" award was given.

"In December of 2015 the Southern Board approved naming this award in honor and memory of Jim Russell of South Carolina. He volunteered from the grassroots to the national level all his adult life. He served as president of the SC and Southern Board of Directors and was inducted into three tennis halls of fame. This list could go on and on, but based on his extensive work with youth tennis and his tremendous dedication to the Palmetto Championships in Belton, it was decided this award would be the most fitting tribute to his legacy and his decades of devotion to tennis."