Each summer, one of the most exciting junior tennis tournaments travels across the country to host its unique circuit of sectional, national and international championships. Created by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCB), the “Little Mo” circuit unites some of the world’s best junior players, and this year will be a little extra special as MCB is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
“Five decades of faithful and astute operation of any successful business is extraordinary. Nancy Jeffett and my mother merged their passions for tennis and their desires to help future generations of promising junior tennis players by co-founding the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation in 1968,” said Cindy Brinker Simmons, President of MCB and daughter of Maureen Connolly Brinker. “They both wanted to give back to the grand sport of tennis by offering travel grants, conducting clinics and organizing tournaments and international programs that would not only be a platform for outstanding competition but would also encourage fair play, good sportsmanship, integrity, and kindness.”
The spirit of MCB came from the way people helped out Maureen Connolly on her way to a successful professional tennis career.
“When Maureen was starting out as a junior player, the San Diego Tennis Patrons Association saw she had potential and they were able to help her out financially to travel to tournaments outside of San Diego,” said Carol Weyman, Executive Vice President of MCB. “She started doing very well and the Patrons Association continued to support her for many years. Eventually, they financed her travel to the USTA Girls 18’s National Grass Court Championships in Philadelphia, and that was really the beginning of her successful tennis career.”
Maureen knew from that point that if she ever had the chance to help out young players the way she was helped out in her early years, she would do so. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 1966, she turned that dream into a reality with her friend Nancy Jeffett to found MCB in 1968. Maureen passed away the following year.
For more than two decades now, the “Little Mo” circuit has become the signature initiative of MCB, embodying all the qualities of the foundation and Maureen.
“As we complete the first 50 years of MCB, Mom would be thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to see the impact MCB has had on junior tennis,” added Brenda Brinker Bottom, MCB Vice President and daughter of Maureen Connolly Brinker. “Truly, we salute with tremendous thanks, the multitude of individuals who have helped propel MCB into the globally respected junior tennis foundation we have become in the last 50 years. Specifically, we acknowledge and appreciate Nancy’s daughter and our fellow Director Elizabeth Jeffett, as well as our exceptional Executive Vice President, Carol Weyman, who has overseen the distinguished work of MCB for 29 years and who has developed our signature “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” circuit and three international tournaments in California, New York and Florida.”
It will be a special summer for everyone involved with MCB. As always, one of the highlights of the summer here in New York will be the “Little Mo” Internationals held at the historic West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills from August 20-25. This year, there will be a special ceremony on Tuesday, August 21 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. where a five-foot tall bronze plaque, honoring Maureen Connolly Brinker’s Grand Slam feat and remarkable career, will be unveiled on the historic stadium court. If you would like to attend the plaque unveiling and dinner party to follow on the iconic grass courts in front of the clubhouse, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.