2018 PIONEER AWARD WINNER - CHUCK FLANAGAN
Chuck has been playing PB for about 12 years…after learning about the game by playing in an RV parking lot. He has been a USAPA ambassador for four years and promotes the game as well as anyone I know. He has participated in many local, regional, and national tournaments…and trained referees for many of these events.
He has participated in the USAPA Nationals, the NSGA Nationals, TX SOG, LA SOG, along with other tournaments in AR, OK, NM, and has traveled and played in WI, IN, MO, San Juan Island Indian Reservation (WA), and Harrowsmith, Ontario, Canada.
He just plain LOVES the game of PB. He is the first one to greet new folks who wander by the courts, no matter where he is playing. He conducts training clinics for novice, intermediate, and advanced players, and does it happily (and free of charge). He also spends a great deal of time training referees. There is NOTHING that he likes more than a good rules question! He is a District Ambassador and is always willing to pitch in and do whatever is needed for the game of PB. He is always a great sport while playing and people seek his advice on the court. His enthusiasm for the sport we all love is contagious.
BTW, he is also the Assistant Director for the Mid-South Region.
2017 Pionner Award Winner Michael Morgan
Mike has been an ambassador for approximately ten years principally serving the Memphis/Shelby County Metropolitan Area. During this time he has made significant contributions to the advancement of Pickleball not only in Memphis but also in Tennessee and elsewhere.
When he became an ambassador, there was only one place to play in the Memphis area. Today, there are currently twenty listed on the USAPA web site and two additional locations have requested not to be listed. This has been accomplished through demos and on site meetings with venue staff, all of which Mike has coordinated.
Mike led a small group of approximately 20 players to Nashville eight years ago and gave a pickleball demo for the State Sr. Olympics staff and participants in other sports. This demo resulted in pickleball being added to the Sports played in the TN Sr. Olympics. Almost every year since, the number of participants at the State level has increased about fifty percent each year and over 160 played in 2016 using three venues. He has been the sports chair/rule advisor for pickleball in the Memphis District and at the State level since the introduction of pickleball in the TN Sr. Olympics. He runs the District tournament preparing the brackets and coordinating the daily schedule.
He has also supported and assisted with the league play and tournaments held at the Bartlett Rec Center and Racquet Club.
Mike is the USAPA District Ambassador for TN and recently became a TN Sr. Olympics Board Member representing all athletes in all sports from the Memphis Sr. Olympics District which encompasses three counties.
Mike has worked with USAPA officials developing the relationship with St Jude Research Hospital. He along with five other players recently performed a demo on the St Jude campus introducing pickleball to the St Jude/ALSAC team. He has helped introduce pickleball in the Olive Branch Mississippi, Dyersberg and Covington Tennessee areas through clinics.
Mike contributions have been extraordinary. He brings to the table not only playing ability but strong administrative, organizational and communication skills. His interactions with others have definitely led to the development of pickleball in TN as well as other locales.