The following was announced by Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman and President, on November 8.
Long-time Southern California fixture Hollis Smith of Indio, Calif., has died.
Mr. Smith began playing tennis in the early 1960s at the Rancho Cienega Tennis Club, and ultimately became President of the club. He became involved with the Los Angeles Municipal Tennis Association, which gave him the opportunity to learn more about tennis in the public parks. In 1971, Mr. Smith began working with a group of local teaching professionals to organize an NJTL chapter, now run by USTA Southern California. An avid player himself, he was ranked in the top 10 for most of his senior years, and won various national championships.
Not only did Hollis Smith introduce our sport to countless people, he built bridges across the racial divide. During a time when tennis was thought of as reserved for the elite few, Mr. Smith broke through that stereotype and invited players of all colors and creeds to participate and was truly a visionary in his own right. He was the recipient of the inaugural Hollis Smith Sportsmanship Award in 2002, sponsored by the National Public Parks Tennis Association and the USTA. The name of the award was later changed to the Hollis Smith Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Mr. Smith was awarded the Eve Kraft Community Service Award at the 2017 Tennis Development Workshop.
A celebration of life is being planned for a later date at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.