Four members of the tennis community were honored with national awards as part of the USOC Coaching Recognition Program. Manuel Diaz of Athens, Ga., head coach of the University of Georgia’s men’s tennis team was named the 2008 USOC National Coach of the Year for Tennis, Frank Salazar of Chevy Chase, Md., Director of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., was named USOC Developmental Coach of the Year for Tennis, and Rita Gladstone of Port Orange, Fla., was named USOC Volunteer Coach of the Year for Tennis. All three become nominee for the USOC’s national award in the respective categories. In addition, the USTA nominated Anne Smith, Ph.D. of Dallas, for the “Doc” Counsilman Science Award for her contributions in the areas of sports psychology and mental training.
Diaz is currently in his 21st year as the head men’s tennis coach at the University of Georgia, and has led the Bulldogs to four NCAA championships, including its second consecutive title in 2008. The team has reached the NCAA final on seven other occasions under Diaz. He has also led his team to 12 SEC regular season titles and seven SEC Tournament titles, and owns a career winning percentage of .828 (463–96) entering the 2009 season. Diaz is a three-time winner of the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year award, and has coached 27 All-Americans, including four-time All-American John Isner, currently ranked No. 139 on the ATP World Tour.