Bridge City resident, Sheila McInnis, was honored Saturday, Feb. 9, in Austin. The Unites States Tennis Association Texas Section presented its annual awards at the 2007 Texas Tennis Hall of Fame Recognition and USTA-USPTA Awards Banquet in Grapevine.

 “If every organization or city running a tennis tournament had a clone of this award winner, tennis tournament life would be perfect. She is a  master at organizing and directing tennis tournaments at all levels,” was how the nomination speach started.
Nominated by Ron Westbrooks, McInnis received the USTA Texas Section Community Service Award.

Talking about how she got involved in the Community Service end of the sport, she said, “I went to a Labor Day tournament and asked if I could help. ‘Sure,’ they said, and it steamrolled from there. That was about ten years ago.” Now she “volunteers to be tournament director for virtually all tennis events in Southeast Texas,” according to the nomination.

She also organizes a series of six one-day events known as the Summer Grand Prix, which encourages year-round play for high school and middle school players. That is just a small example of her participation in the sport.
“I do what I do because I love tennis. I love to be around all the kids,” she said. “The high school tournaments are special to me.”

McInnis did not play tennis in school, “but I was always athletic,” she said. In fact, her tennis career was not started intentionally.

 “A friend said ‘let’s go play,’ and I did.” “Once you play, your hooked,” said McInnis.
Not wanting to boast, McInnis admitted that she and her partner did win just about all the tournaments they entered back then, “but I don’t want to make a big deal of that,” she said.

 “I’ve played in leagues in Beaumont and Orange. They say it’s a sport for life, and it is.”
McInnis is not the only one involved in sports in her family. Her husband, Jerry is a big part of Bridge City Little League, one of the fields was named after him last year. Both Sheila and Jerry are involved in most youth sports and activities in the area. Jerry is currently serving on the Bridge City Independent School District Board.

The USTA Texas Section is the governing body for the sport of tennis in Texas and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. For more information on the USTA Texas Section, log on to