2019 PIONEER AWARD WINNER - LARRY HONEYCUTT
Larry first played pickleball in early 2006 in a Canyon Lake gymnasium with no air conditioning, concrete floors and PVC pipes set in concrete to hold the nets. The first day he played and despite tearing a meniscus in his knee, he knew this was the sport for him. He became an ambassador for Canyon Lake in 2007 and took 14 people to the Texas Senior Games in Temple TX in 2008 and would attend all but one Texas Senior Games in the future. He worked with Canyon Lake Recreation Center and helped design custom courts and get air conditioning by 2009. All this time he would train and work with new converts to help make them better at the sport they all loved. He strongly believes that an Ambassador in there to create interest, grow the sport and support USAPA and he is one of the longest serving Ambassadors in the region.
Larry Has attended several USAPA Nationals and Huntsman World Senior Games, all NSGA championships since 2011, and all mis south regionals, numerous LSOG and Arkansas games, Ambassador retreats in California and Florida, Pickleball Adventures to Costa Rica, Cancun, and Dominican Republic and other tournaments across the nation.
I cannot think of anyone in Texas that has done more for pickleball than Larry has. He has served as tournament director at Texas Senior Games and Kissing Tree Invitational and as Referee coordinator for several other tournaments. He has helped in several tournaments even though he was not playing in them. He has conducted referee clinics for potential certified referees as well as those just interested in learning more about the rules. Larry was the first President and original board member of the Greater Austin Pickleball Club. He created and maintained the first mid-south website and helped to automate the pioneer award process. He was a voting member of the pioneer award process for many years.
Above all, Larry loves to introduce and teach the game of pickleball to anyone with an interest. He has a level 1 ITTPA member and currently he is teaching 4 hour fundamentals classes to brand new players at the Kissing Tree community and managing the popular ladder league. The numbers of players is growing rapidly as Larry continues to teach and help the residents learn the joy of the game that he learned 13 years ago.
I believe if you ask him of his success, he would give credit to all these players from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma who have helped him become close friends throughout the years. He feels lucky to have discovered the sport and the people.
It is with great pleasure to introduce the 2019 Mid South USAPA Pioneer Award winner , Larry Honeycutt.
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.
2013 Tom Burkhart
2009 Mid-South Winner - Mo Armstrong CLICK HERE