A 60-year Rockville Centre resident was honored with the Eastern Tennis Lifetime Achievement Award for her longtime contribution to the sport. Nancy Gill McShea, who graduated from St. Agnes High School in 1956, received the recognition on Jan. 27 at the organization’s annual awards dinner in White Plains, N.Y.
McShea is the co-author of the book “Tennis in New York” and regularly posts archives and news on the Tennis in New York Facebook page. She joined the organized game in the early 1970s when she coached junior tennis teams at the Rockville Centre Recreation Center. She was later a junior tennis parent and coached the varsity team at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, where former professional tennis player Mary Carillo was a student.
When her daughter Colette earned a college tennis scholarship, McShea wrote a series of articles for World Tennis Magazine, including a satirical piece about the perils of the junior game. She was invited to discuss that topic as a guest on Ted Koppel’s Nightline television show with Nick Bollettieri, a renowned tennis coach who has helped develop stars such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters.
When the United States Tennis Association eastern division was looking for a public relations director, McShea joined the team, spending more than 30 years writing about people in the game. She has written more than 2,500 tennis articles, connecting with the sport’s legends throughout the country.
She was inducted into USTA Eastern’s 2012 Hall of Fame and received five other awards for her work as the public relations director, writer and editor for the USTA Eastern Section; the managing editor and writer for Eastern Roundup and Passing Shot magazines; a copy editor/ and columnist for Tennis Week magazine; a sectional reporter for Tennis USA and USTA; a columnist for Newsday; and as a staff writer for Port Washington’s College and Junior Tennis Magazine.
“Tennis is a family of hundreds of tennis veterans who deserve awards for spreading the word about this great game,” McShea said. “Their personal stories, with tennis as the backdrop, attract new players and fans.”
She added that everyone who earns a tennis ranking of any kind, or volunteers time to energize the game, deserves recognition. “Everybody has a story to tell,” she said, “and it has been my privilege to try and share those stories.”