2019 Hall of Fame Inductee James (Jamie) Oscar Bell III
2019 MISSISSIPPI TENNIS FOUNDATION HALL OF FAME
JAMES OSCAR BELL III (JAMIE)
The Tennis Foundation of Mississippi is pleased to announce that James O. Bell III (Jamie) of Greenville is the 2019 inductee into the Tennis Foundation of Mississippi Hall of Fame. The inductees into the Tennis Hall of Fame have long been associated with tennis in the state and through their play, support, and generosity have left an unmistakable imprint on Mississippi tennis.
Jamie, currently the head pro and Tennis Director at the Greenville Golf and Country Club, began playing tennis in the late 1960s at the Deer Creek Racquet Club in Leland. He was a quick learner and talented athlete who won many titles in the local singles and doubles contests. He played collegiate tennis at Mississippi Delta Community College and was the runner-up in the junior college state championship in 1976 and 1977. He played in the intramural league at Mississippi State, winning the doubles title in 1979. After working at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch and in other tennis related jobs for about ten years, he came home to be the head pro and manager of Cypress Hills Tennis Club in Greenville. In 2002 he started his current job at the Greenville Golf and Country Club. He is in his fortieth year in the tennis industry. Through those years Jamie served as a USTA tournament official, tennis volunteer for numerous benefit tournaments as well as directing and refereeing numerous MTA/USTA sanctioned and non-sanctioned events such as the Ole Miss/State Tennis Tournament, the Delta Cotton Belles tournament, Make-a-Wish Foundation tournament, and the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital Tennis Benefit. He has also coached the Washington School boys’ and girls’ tennis teams for 28 years. In recognition of his success at Washington School, the MAIS named him Class AAA Boys Coach of the Year in 2011-2012 and Girls Coach of the Year in 2015-2016.
Since his return to Mississippi, Jamie has been actively involved in all aspects of tennis.
During his tenure as president of the Miss. Professional Tennis Association (MPTA), he organized and conducted workshops for high school coaches. He started a yearly A to Z beginners program to get women to participate in leagues and tournaments. Hundreds of women in the Delta started playing in this program and are still playing today. Jamie has been generous with his time in helping his club and others save money by repairing, resurfacing, and overseeing construction of new tennis courts and viewing stands. Greenville CC has hosted numerous state league championships, most especially +40, +55, Tri-Level, and Mixed. Jamie has been MTA’s Pro of the Year two times, as well as USPTA Pro of the Year. The Southern Association has also singled out his events as Special Event of the Year and Charity Event of the Year. He has served on the MTA Board of Directors, the Southern Board, and the Delta CTA Board. Somehow he also finds time to play tennis himself and has been a member of the Southern Senior Cup team. Currently, he has over 100 juniors in his year-round tennis programs, along with the many adults actively taking lessons and drills. On a personal level, Jamie is also a long-time member of the Leland Presbyterian Church and is an elder on the church session and a former Sunday school teacher. HeJamie and his wife Marla have four children and one grandchild.
Coach Bell will be inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame at a banquet to be held in his honor at the Country Club of Jackson on January 11, 2020. For ticket information, call the MTA office at 601-981-4421 or 1-800-349-1683.