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17 September 2007

Tom Sweitzer, HACC tennis coach, to be inducted in USTA Middle States Hall of Fame

HACC Tennis Coach Tom Sweitzer, known as a tireless tennis promoter during his 30 years in the sport, will be inducted into the prestigious USTA Hall of Fame in Ephrata next month.

Sweitzer, who since 2001 has coached the coed tennis team at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, will join four fellow tennis ambassadors in receiving the designation on Oct. 26 at Doneckers. The inductees – who also include Howe Atwater, Charlotte Atwater Miller, J. Scott Calkins and John McGrath -- exemplify exceptional achievement in and contribution to tennis and are major fundraisers for the support of junior tennis programs.

“When I first got involved with tennis charity events, it was all about tennis,” recalls Sweitzer, 54, of Hummelstown who led HACC’s tennis team to the PCAA States Team Title in 2004.

He has enjoyed a long career in tennis as player and coach, becoming a Master Pro I in 1993, of which only about 1 percent of the more than 30,000 USPTA-certified teaching pros achieve. He also is an event producer, charity fundraiser and publicist through which he has created or participated in events and programs that have raised more than $7.5 million.

“As time went on, I got more involved with the many charity organizations that benefited from the tennis fundraisers, through which I gained an appreciation of each organization’s need and commitment to help those affected by illness or short comings,” he adds.

“I have learned so much and have been so motivated by the many wonderful volunteers who devote their time, energy and resources to help others,” Sweitzer continues. “If you go to the US Open, take a good look at the Arthur Ashe statue, as his quote says it all: ‘From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.’”

The numerous charity events in which Sweitzer has participated include the steering committee for the Virginia Slims tournament of Central PA from 1981-85 during which time he raised $75,000 to benefit the local Children’s Hospital; has been involved in the Hospice Golf & Tennis event since 1989; started the Cystic Fibrosis Black Tie Auction Ball & Tournament in 1989 and still plays a major role in acquiring gift packages, sponsorships and recruitment of tennis professionals who play in the tournament.

He also participates in The William Metzger PA State Clay Court Championship, held at four Harrisburg area country clubs, which draws 500 people per day. The event includes a pro-am, junior clinic, three pro exhibitions, live bands and sponsor parties.

Sweitzer was a committee member for the 2005 World Team Tennis Smash Hits that brought Billy Jean King, Andy Roddick, Anna Kournikova, Elton John, James Blake and Martina Hingis, among others, to the Hershey Giant Center court for exhibition play. The event raised $850,000 for The Elton John Aids Foundation, The National Aids Foundation and the Harrisburg Foundation.

“He is definitely a leader -- kind of like tennis’ answer to the Pied Piper of Hamlin,” says Bob Larsen, publisher of Daily Tennis News.

“When I was in the army, everyone in our group, everyday, had to face the group and repeat, ‘There are men in the ranks who will stay in the ranks.Why? I’ll tell you why; they don’t get things done.’ Tom Sweitzer gets things done,” Larsen says.

The Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and auction is hosted by the USTA Middle States and its fundraising arm, the USTA Middle States Patrons Foundation. Proceeds from the auction will go toward the development and support of junior tennis programs and activities in Middle States, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey (exclusive of a 35-mile radius around New York City) and northwestern West Virginia. The award was established in 1994.

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