» News

USTA Eastern Section Honors Long Islanders

The USTA Eastern Section honored seven Long Islanders at its 2012 Awards Dinner. They are:
   Ed Wolfarth, Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year
   Sunny Fishkind, Clinician of the Year
   Michael Pavlides, Virginia and Chuck Landis High School Coach of the Year
   Jacki Binder, Press Service Award
   Lori D'Antonio, Special Service Award
   Melanie Rubin, Long Island Regional Volunteer of the Year
   Darius Yaraghi, Ron Smyth Parent Sportsmanship Award
Ed Wolfarth, the 2012 Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year, didn’t learn to play tennis until he was 28, when he was teaching physical education at Queens College and asked to add tennis to the curriculum. He later became a top-ranked tournament player, a winning high school coach and a highly regarded teaching pro. Wolfarth was a top 10 player in the USTA Eastern Men’s 35s and the Tennis Director at Old Westbury Country Club. In the fall of 1994, he coached the Cold Spring High School girls’ to the Nassau County Championship. The following spring, he led the Roslyn High School boys’ team to a county title. Last year, he and a team of Eastern players won the Atlantic Coast 65 Cup in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., defeating teams from USTA Mid-Atlantic, Middle States and New England. Wolfarth currently teaches physical education and sport science at Queens College and Hofstra University, and is the tennis director at Meadowbrook Pointe Athletic Club & Spa. In 2012 he received the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement in Tennis Award from the USTA Eastern Section Long Island Region.

Sunny Fishkind, Clinician of the Year has had a long and outstanding career as a tennis clinician. For more than 25 years, she coached tennis at Bethpage High School, earning recognition as the High School Coach of the Year from the USTA Eastern Section and its Long Island region. She also has brought her knowledge and experience to colleges on Long Island, teaching tennis at Long Island University and serving as an assistant coach at Hofstra University. During the summer, Fishkind has taught tennis at summer camps including at Hofstra. She also volunteers at the US Open in Queens. When she is not on the courts, she serves on the USTA Long Island Regional board, helping promote tennis throughout the region.

Michael Pavlides, Virginia and Chuck Landis High School Coach of the Year, has been coaching boys’ and girls’ tennis at Massapequa High School for 15 years, during which time he has helped his players improve and worked hard to grow the game.  Since he started coaching, he has had a no-cut policy on his team. Pavlides’ passion for giving everyone a chance to enjoy team tennis led to the development of a JV Girls team at the high school in 2008. In 2011, Pavlides led both the Massapequa boys’ and girls’ teams to win the conference championship – representing just a few of his 242 career victories as a coach. In addition to coaching, he runs the Nassau County High School Tennis Championships for both boys and girls, and teaches adult tennis in Massapequa.  In 2010, he was named the USTA’s Long Island Region Adult Volunteer of the Year.

Jacki Binder, recipient of the Press Service Award, is not a tennis player but a dedicated tennis volunteer. She serves as Public Relations Chair of the USTA’s Long Island Regional Board, where she has significantly increased awareness and raised the profile of the region in newspapers and local media. She conducts extensive publicity work to support the Region’s Annual Awards Dinner each year and has coordinated internal communications between the Regional Board and member organizations, including tennis clubs and facilities, community organizations, schools and teams. When not volunteering, Binder is a tennis parent, taking her two children to lessons, tournaments and summer camps.
Lori D’Antonio, Special Service Awardee, works behind the scenes to promote tennis on Long Island. Over the years, she has designed numerous flyers and posters, helping market events for the Long Island Region. At the Long Beach Tennis Center, where she works, she has helped coordinate 10 and Under Tennis programs, including free introductory sessions and play days. Through tennis, she has also helped raise funds for Cure Mommy’s Breast Cancer, an organization that supports families of women facing the deadly disease.
Melanie Rubin, Long Island Regional Volunteer of the Year, is the community outreach coordinator for the Long Island Regional Board, working hard to bring 10 and Under Tennis to street fairs and community events. In 2012, she coordinated the Region's participation in the Merrick Street Fair, the Bellmore Family Festival, Robbie's Run, the Bellmore Merrick Relay for Life and the Town of Hempstead Family Festival by the Sea. Whether it’s organizing volunteers or providing information to the public, Rubin has played a huge role in growing tennis participation on Long Island. When she is not volunteering to grow tennis, she is supporting her children, Noah, a top-ranked junior player, and Jessie, who plays for Binghamton University’s tennis team.
Darius Yaraghi, Ron Smyth Parent Sportsmanship Award