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Jerry Smith, of Irmo, SC, has been involved in South Carolina tennis the past 35 years. He has made contributions as a player, volunteer, coach and administrator. Jerry was one of three founders of the Junior Tennis League in Richland and Lexington Counties in 1974. He fully sponsored the first season and was instrumental in procuring the JTL Charter for the program. He served as chairman of JTL during its second year (1975). Jerry has seen the program grow from a small beginning with about 100 players to one of the premier grass roots youth leagues in the United States. Each summer, over 700 young people in the midlands are given an opportunity to participate in team tennis. Over 10,000 children have participated in JTL since its inception. Jerry and his wife Olivia have been instrumental in the growth and success of JTL every year of its 28 year existence. They have been involved as coaches, sponsors and members of the Board of Directors. They were selected for USTA/SC Community Service Award in 1994 in recognition of their 20 years of volunteer JTL leadership.

Jerry has held numerous offices and committee positions with the South Carolina Tennis Association. He was elected to the state board in the early 1980’s, and became a vice-president in 1984. He was elected president of SCTA in 1987, an office he held for two years. Jerry approached his presidency with a desire to grow grassroots programs for both juniors and adults. He added a business approach to growing membership, and he worked hard to see that dollars were spent for the benefit of all programs in the state. While serving as president, Jerry worked diligently to bring the Adult League Southern Sectional Championships to Columbia. His hard worked paid off when the event came to Columbia for the 1989 Championships. He organized volunteers, formed local committees and headed the administrative part of the event. He secured outside funding from companies and government programs. He was considered by everyone involved as the “leader at the helm.” If a problem came up, Jerry could get it fixed.

Following his 2-year term as USTA/SC president, he was elected chairman of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation. He served in this position in 1989 and 1990, and was instrumental in raising significant funds for the Patrons Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization expanded its support of the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame to numerous other programs and grants, supporting tennis at many different levels throughout the state. Jerry was responsible for initiating the Senior and Mixed Doubles Adult Leagues in the state. He supported their existence and growth by providing funds through USTA/SC, and set up the first Sectional Mixed Doubles Championships between South Carolina and Georgia. His strong support for all adult tennis league programs is largely responsible for the growth of these programs in the state and the south. He is also a top player, having been ranked in singles, doubles and mixed for over 15 years. He has played on three 4.5 Senior State Championship teams and played on the 1993 South Carolina Senior Cup Team.

Most recently, he was instrumental in the formation of the Lexington Area Tennis Association. He co-chaired a joint fundraising campaign with the Junior Tennis League, Lexington Area Tennis Association and the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission to build the new facility at the Lexington County Tennis Complex. His work led to the creation of a model public tennis center with 21 courts, a pro shop, and CTA offices.

Jerry is a graduate of Mercer University and founder and president of Transcon Trading Company which he established in 1979 to act as an export management company for a wide range of U.S. manufacturers. Transcon received the 2000 President’s “E” Award, the nation’s highest honor for exporting excellence.

Jerry remains active in community tennis, and currently is serving as a board member on both JTL and LATA.

 

 
 
 
 
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