Dante Brown of Harlem, N.Y. was named USTA Eastern’s Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year for his contribution to tennis as a teacher, director and community advocate. Brown will receive his award at USTA Eastern’s Tennis Conference on Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Renaissance Hotel in White Plains, N.Y.
Brown is currently the program director at the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program (HJTEP), where he handles all programming including, scheduling children on-court, staffing, helping with workshops and managing the facility. Brown, who has held the title of program director since 1995, also works as the facility’s tournament director and is a USPTA-certified teaching professional.
Brown, born and raised in Harlem, N.Y., never strayed from his original surroundings. He started playing tennis at 10-years-old and entered HJTEP as a student when he was 12-years-old. Following his time in HJTEP, Brown attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on a tennis scholarship.
“I am fortunate to recognize what HJTEP did for me as a kid,” Brown said. “Most kids who come out of the program want to come back and have an impact on kids after them.”
Brown continues to provide opportunities for children at HJTEP in the community in which he takes a great deal of pride.
“HJTEP is located in one of the world’s widest-known communities,” Brown said. “We are the only entity in Harlem that teaches a non-traditional sport … tennis. We provide tennis to children who may not have the opportunity to play the sport otherwise.”