Longtime tennis industry veteran and industry pioneer Jim Baugh will become the ninth inductee into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, during the TIA Tennis Forum and Tennis Show at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
As the sole inductee for 2014, Baugh will join tennis legends Billie Jean King, Nick Bollettieri and Dennis Van der Meer, who received this honor in previous years. Plaques of Tennis Industry Hall of Fame inductees are on permanent display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
A resident of Jupiter, Fla., Baugh’s career in tennis began nearly four decades ago when he became an area sales representative for Converse. Since then, he has progressed to be one of the most recognized leaders in the industry.
Throughout his career, Baugh has taken pride in a commitment to growing the game. When tennis saw participation numbers dwindle in the late 1990s, Baugh—then head of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA)—launched several new programs to recruit players to tennis. In just over a decade, the sport grew participation by 36 percent.
As president of Wilson Sporting Goods, Baugh helped increase the company’s market share from 14 to 52 percent. He was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2011.
“I’ve always been careful to focus on the bigger picture; working to improve not only my company’s business, but also the tennis and sports industries as a whole,” says Baugh. “This meant being an advocate for staying active by creating new and innovative programs to get people hooked on the game.”
This mindset inspired him to create PHIT America in January 2013. “Currently more than 28 percent of Americans are totally sedentary—a number that has grown from 25 percent only five years ago,” says Baugh. “I founded PHIT America because I knew curbing the inactivity epidemic was vital for the health of the sporting goods industry and America as a whole.”
Now in its second year, PHIT America works with more than 150 top companies and organizations to share the importance of regular physical activity.
PHIT America also supports two pieces of legislation crucial to combating the country’s “inactivity pandemic.” When passed, the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) will allow people to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses. The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a 12-year Federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education for schools to rebuild health and fitness programs.