The United States Tennis Association has announced a broad professional development initiative that will help prepare the next generation of tennis providers including tennis professionals, coaches, and administrators. Titled USTA University (USTAU), the program will offer curricula in tennis, management, hospitality and sport science. The program will offer online and in-classroom instruction as well as apprenticeships and experiential learning opportunities. The USTA has already developed relationships with five universities and colleges in the U.S. for the program’s launch.
Scott Schultz has been named to lead and oversee USTA University. Schultz’s new role will be based at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. In his previous 12 years at the USTA, he has managed several departments and initiatives including Coaching Education, Youth Tennis, Junior Competition, and Community Development.
Prior to joining the USTA, Schultz founded Ferris State University’s professional tennis management (PTM) program, the nation’s first bachelor degree program in tennis that achieved a 100 percent participant placement record upon graduation. He served as the program’s director from 1987-1998, and earned tenure and the rank of full professor in 1999 for PTM in Ferris State University’s College of Business where he served in that role until 2003.
“Scott Schultz’s unique background in college education and tennis will provide invaluable experience to lead our efforts in this new division,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director and chief operating officer. “USTA University will serve as a platform for aspiring students and professionals to pursue careers in the tennis industry, while strengthening how we deliver the sport as a whole.”
This year, the USTA partnered with two existing PTM programs, Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Mich.) and Methodist University (Fayetteville, N.C.). In 2016, the USTA will expand its efforts to five new programs, including the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.), Berry College (Mt. Berry, Ga.), and Grand Canyon University (Phoenix).
USTA’s Core Tennis Curriculum is being developed with subject matter experts in education and tennis, including working in collaboration with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and USTA Player Development. The curriculum will provide the necessary resources and skills to be successful on or off the tennis court.
To further enhance professional development for current tennis professionals and coaches, USTAU will provide continuing education through a digital resource center to access the latest educational and coaching resources. Additionally, the department will organize workshops and conferences to bring providers together for interactive on-court sessions and presentations.
Overall, USTAU aims to attract and foster talent for future generations.