The DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships was recently honored as the 2015 USTA Southern Jim Russell Junior Tournament of the Year. The award to presented to Tournament Director Brandon Feusner at the 2015 USTA Southern Awards Luncheon in Atlanta, GA this past weekend. The award is presented annually to the USTA-sanctioned junior tournament in the Southern Section that best demonstrates the USTA and USTA Southern Section standards of organizing and conducting a sanctioned junior event. This award is given in honor of the late "Big" Jim Russell, legendary ITA & USTA Head Referee and USTA Southern and South Carolina Tennis Association President. Russell served as thetournament referee for the NCAA Division I Men's Championships, ITA Men's All-American Championships and the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. He was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, USTA Southern Hall of Fame, and the ITA College Tennis Hall of Fame. Tom Jacobs, Managing Director of Administration and Business Affairs for USTA reflected on "Big Jim" saying "What he meant to college tennis is immeasurable. He understood what college tennis was all about--the passion, the competition, the student-athlete. He had an unbelievable talent for diffusing potentially volatile situations with his Southern charm and quick wit. I don’t think there was a person who ever left a conversation with Big Jim without a smile on their face." Tournament Director Brandon Feusner said "I hope that one day people will look back on myself and say some of the same things that they have said about Jim Russell. The impact that he had on the game is truly immeasurable. Our event is truly honored to be the first event to receive this honor since it was named in honor of Jim Russell."
The USTA Southern award is the second honor for the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships which was also awarded the 2015 USTA Tennessee Junior Tournament of the Year. The honor marks the first time that a tournament from Tennessee has been named USTA Southern Junior Tournament of the Year. "This is such an honor not only for our event, but for USTA Tennessee, the city of Chattanooga and the High School Tennis community."