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Dennis Butler Highlight Story

One of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of the tennis ecosystem is the role of volunteers. Volunteers play a crucial role in the USTA, as they make up the committees and Board of Directors that govern, oversee, and manage the direction of the organization. The local level also features volunteers who captain teams, fundraise, and coach beginner players.

Dennis Butler of Vicksburg is one such volunteer, as he got the “tennis bug” as an adult, and turned from an avid player into giving back to the sport. After starting to play the sport as an adult through the influence of mentors Arthur Spiller, Eddie McBride, Leroy Johnson, and Brenda Currie; Butler quickly became hooked on the sport. Before long, he was not only playing multiple times a week but was also captaining a host of adult league teams.

“What started out as me trying to fill the void of the previous sports I played growing up, quickly became a passion and an obsession,” Butler said.

That passion and obsession has now led Butler to make many friends and important memories in the sport, such as playing in state and sectional league championships, attending the Miami Open and US Open, and even being recognized in recent years as the Adult League Captain of the Year. Like many others that started in adulthood, Butler can’t imagine his life without the sport.

“Tennis has impacted my life, it’s my passion, obsession, and now my purpose,” Butler said.

“The social aspect of the sport is unrivaled, I’ve bonded with so many local players, and the Vicksburg tennis community supports and assists one another. I’ve also met others beyond Vicksburg who share that same passion, as I’ve interacted with others such as the Battlefield community whose passion exceeded my own. Being able to meet and interact with Hall of Famers like Cleon McKnight and Henry Harris has been great.”

After playing and captaining, Butler asked to start volunteering in the sport. After talking with Lindsey Brashier, Butler started to volunteer on USTA committees and is now serving on the Adult League Committee at the State and Section level, Grievance Committees, and the Sanction and Schedule Committee. Butler has also gotten more and more into coaching in previous years and gets great satisfaction in teaching beginner players how to learn to enjoy the sport the same way he has. Butler’s interest in coaching has led him to get certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), and is a member of the National Federation of High School Coaches. He’s also a program director of a nonprofit organization called Tennis4Life whose mission is to promote the game of tennis as a means to promote health and fitness. Butler summarizes his love for the game by saying, “Health-wise, tennis is the sport of a lifetime, something you can play in every phase of your life… So why not tennis?”

Adult Programs

The 2024 Mississippi Rock & Roll Wheelchair Tournament, a Level 3 USTA Sanctioned Tournament, is set to take place April 26-28!