Seegraves Honored by USTA
Longtime Mohawk tennis coach Paul Seegraves received a prestigious honor at the recent United States Tennis Association Arkansas Awards Ceremony, and Hall of Fame Induction. Seegraves, a native of Rector and an RHS grad, was recipient of the Barbara Brewer Community Service Award. Each year the award is handed out by the USTA to an individual in recognition of outstanding contributions and dedication in the development and promotion of tennis in Arkansas communities.
As coach of the PHS tennis team since its inception in the early 1990s, Seegraves has developed dozens of talented players. His teams have also become perennial favorites, and regularly qualify players for the state tournament. The program also boasts one of only a handful of state championships for the school district, as the boy's team took top honors in 2012.
In addition to his duties for the school district, Seegraves has spent countless hours promoting the sport in the Piggott area. He conducts free clinics and summer tournaments at the municipal courts, and gives tennis lessons. His work has afforded hundreds of young people the chance to play, and learn about, the sport.
"I am deeply honored to receive the Barbara Brewer Community Service Award," he noted in his acceptance speech. "Barbara Brewer gave many years of her life to the development of tennis. After learning of her passing, it became even more special to me. My wife, Heather, and my children, Emilee and Shawn-Hudson, have also worked with me through the years promoting tennis in our rural community."
Seegraves also pointed to his family background as a key to his development.
"At a young age I learned the values of giving from my Christian faith, family and others close to me," he explained. "My Dad introduced me to tennis at age 10, in 1976. Fast forward to 1992, I was approached on coaching high school tennis at Piggott High School. Since then I have been fortunate to be a part of 17 District Championships, 15 District Runner-Ups, one State Championship and two State Runner-Ups combined for both programs."
He also outlined the community efforts which led to the recognition.
"Since the early 2000s, I have provided summer lessons for kids of all ages. I also run a July summer league for players in four divisions, ranging from first to 12th grades," he noted. "The last six years I have provided a free tennis clinic in June for students in grades first through fourth. I am proud that I was able to enroll approximately 25 students aged 10 and under for the free USTA membership."
"I hope I have led by example by showing the importance of giving back to the sports and the community," he surmised. "It is true that it is "better to give than to receive."
The award is named for former USTA President Barbara Brewer, who also served as USTA Arkansas president during more than two decades of service. A resident of South Carolina at the time of her death last fall, she spent 12 years in Arkansas active in the USTA at both the state and national level.
The presentation was made at the USTA state ceremony, held Friday, Jan. 9, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Little Rock.