Jorge Capestany, manager of the DeWitt Tennis Center at Hope College, has received the national 2015 Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year from the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA).
The award recognizes a member who, over a career, has demonstrated exemplary achievement in seven areas, including contributions to USPTA and the United States Tennis Association (USTA); as a teaching professional, player and coach; education, research and publications; organizational affiliations; and contributions to the community.
Capestany was honored during the annual awards ceremony at the USPTA World Conference at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in Louisiana on Friday, Sept. 25.
Dr. Kirk Brumels, professor of kinesiology and chairperson of the department at Hope, noted that the recognition is a tribute to Capestany’s passion, skill and leadership in teaching and promoting tennis at all levels and worldwide.
“This is an accolade that’s well-deserved,” Brumels said. “Jorge has a proven track record of exceptional leadership in tennis at the local, regional, national and international level. He’s well-known as a tireless advocate for the sport of tennis and certainly has been instrumental in teaching thousands of players. We’re so very fortunate to have him in West Michigan and at the DeWitt Tennis Center and involved in our community.”
In its news release announcing the award, the USPTA noted, “A USPTA Master Professional, Capestany is one of the most sought-after internationally recognized speakers in the world. It’s easy to see why with 33 years of experience as a tennis-teaching professional and many accomplishments and accolades to his name.”
In praising his service to the association specifically, the USPTA noted, “As a member of the USPTA for more than 28 years, Capestany has made indelible contributions to the association. He served on the USPTA Executive Committee and held multiple positions on the USPTA Midwest Division board of directors, including serving on multiple committees and as president twice.”
Capestany is one of only 10 people worldwide to both hold a Master Professional distinction with the USPTA and be an International Master Professional with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). He is also a certified Mental Toughness Specialist through the Human Performance Institute and holds a USTA Sports Science certification.
His playing career began at Grand Valley State University, where he led his team to a conference championship in 1981. He graduated in 1984 and pursued his passion to teach tennis.
Capestany has coached hundreds of ranked juniors, including three national champions. In his career, at Hope and previously, his programs have developed more than 185 high school state champions in Michigan, and he has had several students earn college scholarships totaling $5 million and two named All-Americans.
Among other ongoing service to the profession, he is a USTA faculty member conducting workshops for coaches and on two committees of the Western Michigan Tennis Association (WMTA), of which he is a past president, in addition to serving as a member of the Wilson Premiere Speakers Team and as a consultant to many clubs in the tennis industry.
Capestany has hosted many PTR and USPTA workshops and Midwest Conferences at DeWitt, where every teaching pro on the staff is certified. He has been published in numerous industry publications, including several articles in the PTR magazine “TennisPro” and the USPTA “ADDvantage” Magazine. His three books include the “PTR International Book of Drills,” and he originated PTRtennis.tv for the PTR.
He is also the founder of two prominent tennis industry websites: a coach’s website, www.TennisDrills.tv, which features more than 1,200 tennis drills and has subscribers in more than 65 countries; and a player’s website, www.JorgeCapestany.com, which features free tennis instruction. He has also been featured on three episodes of USPTA’s “On Court with USPTA,” which airs exclusively on the Tennis Channel.
Capestany has spoken at more than professional conferences all over the world, including the PTR International Tennis Symposium, the USPTA World Conference on Tennis; the USTA’s Tennis Teachers Conference at the US Open in New York; the PTR Asia Tennis Symposium in Shanghai, China; the ITF worldwide Coaches Conference in Cancun, Mexico; the Norwegian Tennis Conference in Oslo, Norway; the Canadian Tennis Federation Coaches Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and many regional and national conferences around the United States.
Capestany has been named the “Michigan Pro of the Year” six times by either USPTA or PTR. The Midwest Division of the USPTA has honored him multiple times through the years, including with induction into its Hall of Fame in 2012, twice as “Midwest Professional of the Year,” twice as “Facility Manager of the Year” and with its “Outstanding Education of the Year” award. In February 2012 he was named the PTR Member of the Year by “Racquet Sports Industry” magazine.
Other awards that he has received this year include the Karen Page Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association (MHSTeCA) in January; the PTR/TIA Commitment to the Industry Award from the PTR and Tennis Industry Association in February; and the 2015 Cap Leighton Award, for his role in promoting involvement in tennis, from the Midwest Section of the USTA in August
Manager of the DeWitt Tennis Center since 2003, Capestany also manages the college’s outdoor Vande Poel-Heeringa Stadium Courts, which since opening in 2012 have received national awards from both the USTA and the American Sports Builders Association. He also directs the college’s Summer Tennis Academy, and previously served as an assistant coach for the Hope women’s tennis team. He was named the ITA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015.
Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers nearly 70 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development.
The USPTA National Awards program is conducted annually. Nominations are submitted by the organization’s 17 divisions and by individuals. Recipients in each category are decided by the USPTA’s awards committee.