2012 Honorees | ICON Awards | Schedule | 2013 US Open Official Site - A USTA Event | USTA

The 2012 ICON Awards, taking place Tuesday, Sept. 4, will serve to honor three true social & cultural pioneers in the world of sports, both amateur and professional: Former University of Tennessee women's basketball coach & author Pat Summitt, late wheelchair tennis pioneer Randy Snow and the late Lee Hamilton, former USTA Executive Director and the founder of the USTA’s Diversity and Inclusion department.

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Pat Summitt
Women’s Sports Pioneer and Coaching Legend
 
A towering figure in the history of women’s sports, Pat Summitt played a pivotal role in elevating women’s basketball onto the national stage. She is the all-time winningest men’s and women’s coach in NCAA history, having compiled a 1,098-208 record during 38 seasons as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. There she won an unparalleled eight national championships, led the Lady Vols to the SEC Championship and SEC Tournament title 16 times each, and was named SEC Coach of the Year eight times and NCAA Coach of the Year in seven seasons. In 1984, she served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team that captured the gold medal.  
 
Before her coaching career began, Summitt was an outstanding basketball player. She earned All-American honors while playing at the University of Tennessee at Martin from 1970 to 1974, and she co-captained the first U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team to a silver medal in 1976.  
 
By then, Summitt had already begun to establish her coaching credentials. She was working as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1974 when she was elevated to the position of head basketball coach after the previous coach took a sabbatical. At age 22, Summitt was younger than some of the players on her team; yet that did not prevent her from starting what was to become a remarkable string of success: Under her direction, the Lady Vols never experienced a losing season. When she started coaching, the NCAA was eight years away from holding a national championship for women’s Division I basketball. During her nearly four decades at Tennessee, she worked tirelessly to lift up the sport and bring women’s basketball to the forefront in college athletics.
 
Over the years, Summitt has received many honors, including being elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, in her first year of eligibility, and being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2011. This May, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House. In July, she received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards.
 
At the end of the 2012 basketball season, Summitt officially stepped down as head coach after nearly four decades—and Tennessee promptly named her head coach emeritus. "I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players," she said after the announcement, "and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.
 
"If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that’s not going to change."

 

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Randy Snow
Wheelchair Tennis Legend
 
The life of Thomas Randall ("Randy") Snow exemplified inclusion, especially when it came to sports.  A champion wheelchair tennis player, he believed that tennis transcended ability and diversity and committed himself to promoting tennis to all—especially those who might not otherwise be embraced as a result of their being physically challenged.  He made sure to include everyone, and everyone he came across responded to his encouragement and enthusiasm and his vision of their potential.  
 
In addition to his being an influential leader in developing the sport of wheelchair tennis and a tireless advocate for improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, Snow is only the second wheelchair tennis player in history to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  He entered the Hall of Fame this year, joining Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of the sport, who was inducted two years earlier.
 
As a teenager, Snow was a state-ranked tennis player in Texas.  He had aspirations of being a varsity athlete in tennis at the University of Texas.  But during the summer of 1975, when he was 16 and working on a farm, a half-ton bale of hay dislodged from his loader and crushed his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic.
 
Utilizing a wheelchair for mobility, Snow continued to dream and push forward while readjusting his athletic goals.  He committed himself to wheelchair sports—and to inspiring athletes worldwide—and became a dominant international champion, competing in more than 25 countries.  A three-time Paralympic medalist, he won 22 major tournament titles during his career and achieved world rankings of No. 2 in singles and No. 1 in doubles.  He was named ITF Wheelchair Tennis Player of the Year in 1991 and USA Wheelchair Athlete of the Year in 2000, and was a member of the U.S. Men’s World Cup team during the late 1980s and early 1990s.  He is the only Olympic or Paralympic athlete to medal in three different sports (track, tennis and basketball) in one Olympic Games (1984) and two Paralympic Games (1992 and 1996).  In 2004, he became the first Paralympian to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.  In 2011, he was accorded the Paralympic Order of Honor.
 
In addition to his achievements on the tennis court, Snow set U.S. records in wheelchair track in the early to mid-1980s in the 200m, 400m, 1500m and 5000m, and played on the U.S. National Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
Snow’s influence on wheelchair tennis far exceeded his success as a champion player.  He traveled around the world to teach the game, help standardize training programs, develop the USPTA certification for wheelchair tennis and introduce the sport to others.  From 1987 to 2005, he initiated and developed the curriculum and directed the Quickie/Randy Snow Wheelchair Tennis Camps, held in more than two dozen states across the U.S.  In 1994, he co-authored the first major wheelchair tennis instruction book, Wheelchair Tennis: Myth to Reality, with Bal Moore, and in 1995 he authored 102 Wheelchair Tennis Drills.
 
Snow passed away on November 19, 2009, at the age of 50, while volunteering at a wheelchair tennis camp in El Salvador.
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David Lee Hamilton
Champion of Growing the Game for Everyone
 
A pioneer of diversity and inclusion in tennis, David Lee Hamilton (known to friends and family as "Lee") worked tirelessly to help make tennis more inclusive and more accessible to more people, and played a leading role in the growth of the game and the health and vitality of the USTA. Under his direction as USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, the USTA became one of the first organizations in the sports industry to enact a diversity plan, establish a Diversity and Inclusion Department, and make multicultural participation a top strategic priority.
 
Hamilton promoted the understanding that the sport must be inclusive in order to grow beginning with his early days as a tennis volunteer. Indeed, he proved to be an extraordinarily passionate volunteer for the game and brought to bear his great vision and remarkable consensus-building skills at every level of volunteerism. Following a successful career in the oil industry with Exxon, he became a tennis volunteer and started serving in a variety of roles at the community and USTA section levels. He steadily worked his way up the volunteer chain,  first serving as president of Community Tennis Associations in Houston and Dallas before joining the board of the USTA Texas Section and eventually becoming its President.  
 
By the time Hamilton was asked to take on a key national volunteer role as Division Council Chair in the early 2000s, his first-hand knowledge of the grass-roots game and his consummate skills as a business executive enabled him to help the USTA national staff, section staff and volunteers work more effectively together. He continued to put his voice of reason and expert skills as a facilitator to good use when he became USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, a position he held from 2003 to 2007. Throughout his tenure as a tennis executive, he was especially proud of his efforts to increase the USTA’s commitment to making diversity and multicultural participation an embedded part of the USTA culture, by increasing multicultural participation in both the sport of tennis and the USTA itself. In fact, after he stepped down as Executive Director, he continued to focus on diversity and inclusion by serving as chair of the newly formed USTA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
 
In recognition of his many contributions to the game, Hamilton was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also a member of the USTA’s Major Wingfield Society.  
 
A gifted tennis player, Hamilton was nationally ranked in various age groups into his 70s. He passed away on June 16, 2012, at the age of 75.
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Past Honorees:
2011
  • Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center - Boston, Mass., 50th Anniversary
  • Rick Welts, Former CEO & President of the NBA's Phoenix Suns
  • The Honorable David Dinkins, 106th Mayor of New York City

2010

  • Judy Levering, First Female President of the USTA
  • Ralph de la Vega, corporate & civic champion – CEO & President of AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets
  • Hank Aaron, Major League Baseball Legend
2009
  • National Junior Tennis & Learning – 40th Anniversary
  • Founders - Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder