Bill Briggs, Founder

 

The Youth and Tennis Academy came into existence as the result of a single question asked by two eight-year-old boys in 1972.  They asked Bill Briggs if he could teach them how to play tennis.  He began coaching five young boys who came from homes without fathers.  The combination of teaching the sport of tennis and serving as a mentor to these youngsters became part of the mission of Youth and Tennis Academy.  As a result, one of the youngsters served as a coach for many years at the Academy.

Since 1972, the Academy has taught over 30,000 youths how to play tennis.  The program has grown to include not only tennis but to provide academic and social support services to children, adolescents and their families in our community.  The Youth and Tennis Academy seeks to encourage youths to become socially, emotionally and physically more competent, not only for competition in tennis but for competition in life.

Bill’s Professional Tennis Background

Bill started playing tennis out of a curiosity and desire to broaden and enhance his life.  Little did he realize that this desire would lead him to start a tennis academy.  He competed in tennis championships on the East Coast and many local amateur tournaments in New Jersey, Connecticut and winning the Masters Event in Queens, NY.  In addition to tennis awards, he has received numerous community awards: the Lions International, Rotary Club, York College Leadership Award, Citibank Citizenship Award, NAACP Community Service Award, Martin Luther King Leadership Award, and was inducted into the New England Tennis Association Hall of Fame for 30 years of service.

Arthur Ashe, who was the only male African American playing tennis in the late 1960s, inspired him to retire from tennis and concentrate on developing young people in the sport of tennis.  Arthur Ashe’s life off the court was inspirational in formalizing the program’s mission, “Striving for Greatness,” building strong character, and academic excellence.  Bill is a former medical laboratory technologist and a graduate of the School of Cytology, Sloan-Kettering/Cornell Medical Center.