Sugarbush Tennis director Mike Smookler is the New England USPTA Pro of the Year. Smookler received the honor during the United States Professional Tennis Association's annual New England convention held this past weekend in Cape Cod. The Lyndon State graduate was singled out of a collection of close to 1,000 tennis professionals in six states."I was completely surprised and honored," remarked Smookler upon learning of the award. "It was always a goal of mine to win this kind of recognition for Sugarbush, but I didn't think it would happen until much later in my career."
Tennis professionals throughout the region nominated the 36-year-old for the award. The USPTA/New England Board of Directors then voted to bestow the organization's highest honor to the Sugarbush pro.
The accolade recognizes Smookler's myriad efforts to promote the sport regionally, but more specifically it acknowledges his work to restore the tennis program at Sugarbush. Since coming to Sugarbush in 2003, Smookler has grown the junior program to include more than 100 children and has succeeded in making Sugarbush a regular stop for celebrity camps. Tennis legends Guillermo Vilas and Tim Mayotte will be returning this summer to conduct their respective clinics. Former Davis Cup coach and Andre Agassi mentor Tom Gullikson will also be teaching a seminar this July.
"Few individuals better embody the spirit of tennis than Mike," commented Sugarbush's vice president Adam Greshin. "He's been a terrific addition to the resort team and has made great contributions to The Valley's tennis community."
Smookler will attend the first half of the French Open as part of the teaching staff for Guillermo Vilas' 30th Anniversary Tour celebrating the Argentinean's Grand Slam victories in 1977. He then will be back at Sugarbush for Valley Tennis Week-the annual weeklong kick-off camp to the tennis season.
To find out how to be a part of Valley Tennis Week and for the latest Sugarbush information, stay tuned to sugarbush.com.