International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty was honored at the Tennis Industry Association Tennis Forum in New York on Aug. 28 with induction into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame.
Haggerty, who was introduced to the Forum audience by longtime friend and colleague Kevin Kempin, became the 13th inductee into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of the likes of Howard Head, Dennis Van der Meer, Alan Schwartz, Billie Jean King, Nick Bollettieri, Jim Baugh, Peter Burwash, Eve Kraft and Gene Scott.
Haggerty’s decades of experience in sport has brought him in contact with nearly all segments of the tennis industry—recreational play, college tennis, tennis teaching professional, retail, national and international governing bodies, and professional tennis. He used the platform at the Tennis Forum to urge the various organizations in tennis to work together to grow the game.
“Too often, tennis acts unilaterally, doing what each body thinks is best for them without thinking about what is best for the sport, the fans and the industries that support tennis,” he said, adding on behalf of the ITF: “You have our commitment to work together. While there are challenges, there are opportunities, too. We need to do everything we can to grow this sport. You all are here to give something back to this sport we love.”
Haggerty played tennis internationally as a junior, then received a tennis scholarship to play for George Washington University. He competed as a professional player before transitioning to the business side of the sport, where he worked for tennis equipment manufacturers, dealing closely with retailers, teaching pros and facilities. Throughout it all, he volunteered ceaselessly at the grassroots, sectional and national levels.
In 2010, Haggerty retired from business to devote himself full time to tennis as a volunteer, serving as vice president on the USTA Board of Directors before becoming USTA chairman and president in 2013. The two-year position allowed him to develop relationships with the pro tours, Grand Slams and players. In September 2015, he was elected president of the ITF.
“Dave continues to build on a successful leadership career in tennis, and continues to bring positive change to this sport,” says TIA President Jeff Williams. “We are thrilled to induct Dave into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame this year.”
Haggerty joined Prince Sports Group in 1980, eventually becoming general manager and an owner of the company. He became president of Dunlop Sports in 1994, then in 1998 joined Head/Penn, where he became chairman, CEO and president. He also was the TIA president from 2006 to 2008.
“Dave has been a leader in every aspect of this industry and is widely respected,” says current USTA Chairman, CEO and President Katrina Adams. “I proudly served as his first vice president in the USTA, and during that time, I learned how to navigate the business of communication and identifying areas of weakness to build a consensus. He’s a great listener, motivator, innovator and leader, and he strives to provide the very best opportunities our sport has to offer.”
“When I hired Dave at Prince in 1980, I knew he had ‘it.’ All he needed was the opportunity,” says Jim Baugh, a former sports manufacturing executive who now consults in sports and is the founder of PHIT America. “He's been amazing in his career and has been successful in managing both major businesses as well as leading major governing bodies in the sport of tennis.”
“Dave is a calm and steady force in the industry and has been instrumental in the Tennis Industry Association’s direction and development,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to work directly with him when he was president, and admire his ongoing engagement and accessibility. He has the vision and passion to move this sport forward.”
From left: Head USA President and CEO Kevin Kempin, ITF President David Haggerty, and TIA President Jeff Williams
photo courtesy Tennis Industry Association/David Kenas