Jon Vegosen, of Chicago, Illinois, Chairman of the Board of the ITA. Vegosen is a founding member of 35-year-old Chicago corporate and litigation law firm, Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. A long-time volunteer, leader, advocate, fundraiser and connector for tennis at all levels, Vegosen served as the 2011-2012 Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association, and Chairman of the US Open. He has served on other tennis boards, including the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the USTA Foundation. Vegosen has a passion for collegiate tennis and education. During his USTA Presidency, he created the Tennis and Higher Education Task Force to promote the importance of every American youngster obtaining a college education – and that tennis is the sport of opportunity for achieving this goal. Vegosen played tennis at Northwestern University. He was captain his junior and senior years, selected to the All Big-Ten Team, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Vegosen attended Northwestern University School of Law, graduating Cum Laude. He has been inducted into the following Halls of Fame: ITA Men’s Collegiate, Northwestern University Athletics, USTA/Midwest Section, and Chicago Tennis.
ITA Member Coaches
Steve Bickham is men’s head tennis coach at Pomona & Pitzer Colleges. Bickham has completed five seasons as the head coach of men’s tennis at Pomona-Pitzer, and in that time has lifted the program to new heights. The program has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the ITA National poll and climbed as high as No. 3 in the national ranking in 2015. Under Bickham’s guidance, the Sagehens have also claimed nine individual All American honors. In 2015, Bickham was recognized as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region Coach of the Year and in 2014 the program received the USTA Sectional Community Outreach Award in Southern California. Bickham arrived at Pomona-Pitzer in the summer of 2013 with over 25 years of experience in the tennis industry, as a player and coach, in private industry, and in the non-profit sector. His most recent position was that of Executive Director for the USTA Idaho District where he helped bring the 2013 Davis Cup Quarter-final tie (USA vs Serbia) to Boise, Idaho. He has also held coaching stints at Northern Arizona University as the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach, and at Arizona State University as Men’s Assistant Tennis Coach. Bickham is a 1987 ITA Division I All American and in 2016 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Tennis Hall of Fame.
Grant Chen, named the new men’s tennis head coach at SMU on June 5, 2018, Chen joins SMU after serving as Associate Head Coach for UCLA men’s tennis. He was Director of Operations for the Bruins’ men’s tennis team for five seasons prior to being named assistant coach. In his first year as associate head coach, the Bruins swept the singles and doubles titles at the 2016 NCAA Tennis Championships. Mackenzie McDonald won the singles crown and then paired with Martin Redlicki to take home the doubles championship. UCLA has reached the national semifinals twice (2012 and 2014) and the final once (2013) in his tenure as Billy Martin’s top assistant. UCLA has won the Pac-12 Conference regular-season title four times and Pac-12 Tournament title three times since Chen joined the coaching staff. In his spare time, Chen has organized several tennis charity events around the country. On the coaching side, Chen served as head coach of the UCLA Club Tennis Team from 2007-10. He coached the team to a pair of Southern California Regional Championships in 2007 and 2008, including a third-place national finish in 2010. Chen was a member of the club tennis team from 2005-2006, winning both the Fall and Spring Intramural events at UCLA while leading the team to a regional title and a top 5 finish at nationals. Chen coached Team USA at World University Games in August 2017 helping Hart/Staggs win bronze medal in mix doubles. Chen has also coached many USTA Southern California team functions and currently serves on the Board of Directors for USTA Southern California.
Lauren Conching is the head women’s tennis coach and assistant athletic director at Hawaii Pacific University. As head coach, Conching holds an overall record of 131-37 with six trips to the NCAA National Championships, including four semifinal appearances and an additional quarterfinal berth. She has had five players named ITA All-Americans. In her first season, Conching guided the then-Sea Warriors to a final ITA ranking of No. 6 in the country after an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA National Championships. Conching was named ITA/Wilson Women’s Tennis National Coach of the Year in 2013 as she steered the Sea Warriors to a 19-2 record and a semifinal finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships. In 2014, the Sharks went 20-7, falling to eventual champion, Barry University in the semifinals. Prior to becoming head coach, Conching spent five seasons as an assistant at HPU under Stefan Pampulov. In all five of those seasons, HPU reached the NCAA National Championships. In 2010, she was named the ITA National Assistant Coach of the year. Conching also works for the HPU athletics department as the Assistant Athletics Director. She is in charge of apparel and branding for the department, marketing and promotional materials for the various athletics teams and assisting throughout multiple facets within the department. Conching attended Collin County College in Plano, Texas, where she lettered in tennis. There she won the 2001 National Junior College doubles title and placed second at NJCAA nationals with her team. In 2002, Conching transferred to Stony Brook University in New York where she finished her eligibility and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and journalism. Upon graduation, she remained in New York and worked for CBS Sports until 2006, when she decided to return home to Hawaii. Her husband, Hendrik Bode, is the head coach of the men’s tennis team at Hawai´i Pacific, and they have a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter named Lana. Both serve as members of the inaugural ITA Division II Operating Committee in 2017-18. In addition, Conching sits on the NCAA Coaches Commission, the ITA West Regional Ranking Committee, the ITA West Regional Award Committee, and the ITA Ethics Committee.
Danielle Lund McNamara is the head women’s tennis coach Yale University. She has led the Bulldogs to four Ivy League, ECAC Championships and NCAA Championships appearances. She was named the ITA Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2013. As a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, McNamara’s collegiate career was highlighted by being named All-Big Ten in 1998 and the conference’s 1999 Sportswoman of the Year. She was a two-time team captain (1998-2000), and was nationally ranked as high as No. 28 in singles and No. 8 in doubles. McNamara holds the distinction of becoming the first Michigan player to play in all three national championships (All-American, National Indoors, NCAA Championships) and a member of the program’s first Big Ten Championship team (1997). Among her other accomplishments, McNamara won one gold and one bronze ball in national USTA events. She was also selected to coach the USTA Girl’s 18 New England national team at the National Team Championships in 2008 and 2009. McNamara has served as a member of the ITA Board of Directors, Division I Operating Committee and the USTA New England Collegiate Committee. She was the co-chair of the 2009 ITA National Indoor Championships tournament committee and the chair of the 2009 ITA Northeast Regionals tournament committee.
Billy Pate is in his 25th season as a collegiate, including his eighth as the head coach of the Princeton men’s tennis team. He is regarded as one of the most respected and influential leaders in college tennis, underscored by his long history of instilling character-based values to his players. Through his first seven seasons, Pate guided the Tigers to 114 dual-match victories and matched Princeton against 74 ITA-ranked opponents. Princeton has been ranked as high as 23 in February and March of 2015, the program’s highest ranking since 1980. Pate was named the 2007 ITA South Region Coach of the Year and SEC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Alabama to a No. 9 national ranking. In 2002, he was tabbed the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year after helping Notre Dame to a No. 4 national ranking. He spent five seasons (1996-2000) as head coach at Georgia Perimeter College, winning NJCAA national championships in his final three seasons and earning National Junior College Coach of the Year and USPTA National Coach of the Year each season. He has served as co-chair of the ITA Operating Committee and ITA Executive/Budget Committee in addition to serving on the ITA Board of Directors. Pate also served on the USTA Collegiate Committee. A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Pate played collegiately at Mississippi State where the Bulldogs advanced to the SEC final in 1991 and a round of 16 appearance in the NCAA Championships. After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Pate worked with the Atlanta Thunder of the World Team Tennis, earning his master’s degree in sports administration in 1995 from Georgia State University. At Georgia State, Pate served as president of the Sports Administration Club and as Graduate Assistant to the Director of Athletics. He was named to the ITA Board of Directors in 2019.
Roland Thornqvist enters his 19th year as head coach of the Florida women’s tennis team in 2019. He has compiled an impressive head coaching career record of 507-117 in 23 years, including a 433-71 mark at Florida. In 2019, Thornqvist guided the Gators to their 32nd-straight NCAA Tennis Championship appearance and 37th in the program’s 38-year history. A five-time SEC Coach of the Year, Thornqvist has been honored as the ITA National Coach of the Year (2011), the ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year (2010 & 2012) and the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year (2004, 2006, 2010, 2013 & 2016). In 18 years with Thornqvist on the sidelines, some of Florida’s more significant highlights include four NCAA Team Championships (2003, 2011, 2012, & 2017), as well as 11 SEC regular-season titles (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 & 2016) and 10 SEC Tournament crowns (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2016). He has guided Florida to 11 NCAA ‘final four’ appearances, with four culminating in titles and two as national runner-up (2002 & 2010). In the classroom, 12 of his Gator squads have earned ITA All-Academic Team honors by compiling a minimum cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale). Thornqvist held previously coaching assignments at the University of North Carolina and Kansas where each team advanced to the NCAA Championships. Thornqvist played collegiately at North Carolina where he was named 1993 ACC Player of the Year and a two-time All-American. He captured the 1993 Rolex National Indoor Singles Championship as a senior. In both 1992 and 1993, he won the ITA’s Rafael Osuna National Sportsmanship Award. He is the only college player in history to win that award twice. Thornqvist was the No. 4-ranked collegiate singles player in the country his senior year. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Thornqvist received his bachelor’s degree in economics from UNC in 1996. He played for the Tar Heels from 1990-93, transferring from Elon College, where he played one year and won the NAIA singles and doubles championships as a freshman in 1990. He also led Elon to the NAIA team championship that year.
Dr. Tommy Valentini is in his 11th year as head coach of the Gustavus men’s tennis team in 2019-20. Valentini, who had been an assistant coach for the Gusties from 2006 to 2009, replaced Steve Wilkinson who retired after serving as the head coach for the 39 years prior. He has guided Gustavus Adolphus to nine consecutive MIAC championships. Valentini is also a professor in the school’s philosophy department where he teaches a sports ethics class. A 2002 Gustavus graduate and four-year letter winner on the tennis team. Valentini earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology where his research focused on moral education in and through sport. In 2013, Valentini was named the Steve Wilkinson Endowed Professor of Tennis and Sports Ethics. Valentini also serves as Assistant Director of Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus where he directs the tennis program and staff training. He was named the 2001 ITA Arthur Ashe Award winner for excellence in tennis, academics, and humanitarian efforts.
Ray Anderson is the Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director at Arizona State University. Anderson was named Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director on January 9, 2014 and has quickly redefined the collegiate athletics landscape over the course of his tenure at ASU. Anderson was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Minorities in Sports in February 2016, noting that he had “helped position the Sun Devils as one of the most innovative brands in college sports.” Highly influential in the world of collegiate athletics, Anderson is a board member of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame, a member of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee, Chair of the new Ad Hoc NCAA Competition Committee, and most recently the Green Sports Alliance. While national trends lean toward downsizing athletics departments and eliminating non-revenue generating sporting programs, Anderson has made it his mission to not only add NCAA Division I sports at Arizona State but also expand educational and scholarship opportunities for future Sun Devil student-athletes. In May 2016, Sun Devil Athletics announced the reinstatement of the men’s tennis program at Arizona State – an act made possible through a $1M lead gift from Anderson himself and his wife, Buffie. The donation came just a month after Sun Devil Athletics announced a strategic alliance with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) to leverage the resources of a research-based University to grow the sport of tennis locally, nationally, and globally. Anderson joined the Sun Devil Family after serving as the executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League (NFL) since August 2006. A Los Angeles, California native, Anderson earned a BA in political science from Stanford in 1976 and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1979. He was an all-league high school quarterback and shortstop, and a three-year football letterman and two-year baseball letterman at Stanford. Anderson co-founded the sports law practice at Heller, Ehrman, a prominent San Francisco firm, in 1980 and entered the sports agency business in 1984 when he opened the West Coast office for Sports Advisors Group. In 1987, he launched his own agency, AR Sports, specializing in the representation of NFL coaches and players and later adding Major League Baseball players. Anderson merged his agency with Octagon in 2001. From May 2002 to July 2006, Anderson served as executive vice president of administration for the Atlanta Falcons, prior to his move to the NFL headquarters in August 2006
Judy Van Horn Executive Associate Athletics Director for Sport and Risk Management (SWA), has been an integral part of the athletics department senior staff since January 2011. She is chair of the department’s Sport Management Group, and primary sport administrator for several intercollegiate programs including volleyball, beach volleyball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis. Van Horn serves as the Title IX Deputy Coordinator and athletics department liaison to the Office of Equal Opportunity Program. She handles multiple internal responsibilities including oversight for human resources, departmental policies and participates on various University committees such as the Sexual Assault Policy Group, President’s Athletics Community Advisory Committee and the University Athletics Advisory Committee. In her role as senior woman administrator (SWA), Van Horn participates in SEC governance. She sits on the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis and Women’s Tennis Committee. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the NCAA Committee on Institutional Performance where she chaired the Inclusion Subcommittee and lead efforts to develop new metrics to assist NCAA Division I institutions in assessing their athletics programs, including best practices. Van Horn was a member of the 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Beach Volleyball Selection Committee. Van Horn came to South Carolina after a nine-year tenure at the University of Michigan. As Associate Director of Athletics/SWA, Van Horn oversaw the University’s athletics compliance program. She had a primary role addressing a major infractions case involving the football program as well as the high profile “Fab Five” men’s basketball case. She also served on the steering committee for the President’s Ethics in Public Life Initiative. Van Horn worked on various Big Ten committees including Legislative Review, Drug Testing Review, and Compliance and Reinstatement. Prior to her tenure at Michigan, Van Horn spent four years in the Department of Athletics at Michigan State University where she rose to Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance with oversight for NCAA compliance efforts and taught a course, “Ethics in Sport.” Van Horn began her athletics administration career at her alma mater, Central Michigan University, working there 8 years. Van Horn served a two-year term as President of the National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) during which she led a major restructuring of the organization. NAAC honored her with the 2010 Frank Kara Leadership Award, the premier award bestowed to a member of the compliance profession, and in 2005 the Outstanding Achievement Award. Van Horn holds a master’s degree in sport administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University. She and her husband, Dave, have three adult children and six grandchildren.
Business, Professional, Sports Media
Stephen Butzlaff is a highly experienced tennis volunteer at the district, section and national levels. As President of the Chicago District Tennis Association, Chicago Tennis Patrons Board and, later, the USTA/Midwest Section and Midwest Youth Tennis and Education Foundation, he was responsible for fundraising, innovation, and growth of the game. His leadership then extended to the National level, including Council Chair, USTA Board Budget Committee, Nomination Task Force, Vice Chairman of Section Presidents, Membership Innovation Study Group, Membership and Marketing Committee. He currently serves the USTA Midwest Section as a Team Lead for Team Management Division and as Chair of the USTA Midwest Foundation Building Committee. Steve also serves on the board of The Highland Park Art Center — a non-profit community education center and gallery. He is especially proud of his efforts at introducing the Green Dot Ball into tournament play. One of his most rewarding projects was to co-found the Shoreline Tennis Association CTA, located in Waukegan IL. Shoreline built two tennis courts in a reclaimed park and has introduced over 1600 students under the age of 16 to tennis – all without incurring any salary or administration costs. Butzlaff’s son William was formally a nationally ranked junior who played tennis at Gustavus Adolphus. Butzlaff’s numerous awards include Family of the Year (CDTA), Paul Dean Volunteer of the Year (CDTA), Chicago Hall of Fame and the Mel Bergman Award (Midwest).
William (“Bill”) Dutton has been playing tennis for over 50 years, including four years of college tennis at Princeton University, where he was captain of the team in 1975 and 1976. He has had a 35-year career in the investment industry as a securities analyst, portfolio manager, and business owner. A Registered Certified Public Accountant, Bill is currently a Partner and Senior Advisor at Skyline Asset Management, L.P. in Chicago. Skyline manages a small cap equity mutual fund called AMG Managers Skyline Special Equities Fund and also manages separate equity portfolios for institutional investors. Dutton is a tremendous supporter of the ITA and other tennis causes.
Molly Fletcher is the founder and CEO of The Molly Fletcher Company. Fletcher, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University while captaining the tennis team, is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. A popular author and motivational speaker, she shares the unconventional techniques that helped her thrive as one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur. As president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Fletcher recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. She’s been featured in ESPN, Fast Company, Forbes and Sports Illustrated and has inspired audiences around the world with her keynote speeches. Fletcher also shares her proven approach to negotiating in her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops. She is the author of four books: Fearless at Work; A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; The Business of Being the Best; and, The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career.
Jill Fonte enjoyed a 35 year career in the tennis industry. She was the owner/Executive Director of the United States Racquet Stringers Association – a 7,000 member world-wide trade association for tennis retailers – before divesting the organization in 2000. She is the former National Chair of the USTA’s Tennis Innovation Committee, former President of the USTA’s Middle States section, and former Chief Operating Officer of the USTA’s Eastern section. During her tenure as President, the Middle States section was named “Section of the Year” by the USTA. Likewise, during her tenure as Chief Operating Officer, the Eastern section was named “Section of the Year”. Fonte is a former member of the Tennis Industry Association’s Board of Directors, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s Racquet Sports Committee, and the Advisory Board for Ferris State University’s Professional Tennis Management Program. She was a successful public speaker, executive coach and organizational development consultant for ten years – training and motivating individuals and teams to reach their goals. Clients included the Human Performance Institute, Merrill Lynch, Rambus and many other organizations. Jill received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Simmons College in Boston where she played four years of varsity tennis. She also holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine. Jill is still an avid, frequent, competitive tennis player who serves her community in many ways – including as President of her Homeowner’s Association and Chair of the Disaster Preparedness Committee for Rancho La Quinta. Jill lives in La Quinta, CA with her husband Doug Fonte.
Neel Grover is the founder and CEO of Indi.com, Chairman of the Board Bluefly.com and The SWI Group, and the former CEO of Rakuten.com and Buy.com. Talented and seasoned e-commerce, mobile and social media entrepreneur and executive, Grover brings a highly relevant skill set to the ITA Board. Grover attended UC Irvine, where he was captain of the men’s tennis team. He received his J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School. Grover was Captain of the 2013 US National Men’s 40s National Team and participated in the World Championships in Turkey. A talented competitive tennis player, Grover has won several national championships.
Shaheen Ladhani manages portfolios for private clients as well as for several nonprofits and foundations. He previously served as director of alumni, corporate and foundation relations at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Ladhani enjoyed an eight-year tenure as assistant men’s tennis coach at Rice where he was named 2004 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year. Ladhani had a stint coaching several tennis players on the pro tour, while simultaneously serving as a sport psychology consultant for athletes in a variety of team and individual sports. He served as chair of the Investment Committee for The Center for Adults With Disabilities in Houston. Ladhani earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and managerial studies from Rice University while competing on the men’s tennis team before earning a master’s degree in sport psychology and an MBA from Rice University.
Dr. Ann Lebedeff has held the position of professor and head women’s tennis coach at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges since 1998. She began her coaching career at the University of Arizona (1977-84). In 1985 she was honored as the Western Collegiate Coach of the Year. Dr. Lebedeff coached the Cal Poly Pomona (1989-98) men’s and women’s tennis teams to national championships, with the women claiming back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992 and the men capturing a doubles national championship in 1993. Since taking the reins at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, Dr. Lebedeff has guided her program to NCAA Division III quarterfinals seven times, including a semifinals appearance in 2008. She is a five-time Wilson Coach of the Year (1990, 1992, 2001, 2008, 2016) and Wilson Coach of the Decade (1990s) and received the 1999 International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Educational Merit Award and Rolex Meritorious Service Award presented by the ITA. Dr. Lebedeff honors also included the 2005 “Doc” Counsilman Award recipient bestowed upon an individual by the U.S. Olympic Committee for a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and equipment in her coaching methods and 2015 ITA Conant Meritorious Leadership Award recipient. Billie Jean King endowed the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award in 2017, an award that honors a recent college graduate who played college tennis and demonstrated excellence and leadership on and off the court. Dr. Lebedeff is scheduled to be inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in September 2019. She is also a member of the San Diego State and Cal Poly Pomona Athletics Halls of Fame. Dr. Lebedeff earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from San Diego State and Ph.D. degree in physical education for the University of Southern California. She was a nationally-ranked junior and collegiate player and won U.S. Amateur Clay and Grass Courts Doubles titles in 1972, and 1974 USTA National Women’s Intercollegiate Doubles and 1970 New Zealand Women’s Doubles titles.
William McGugin is President and CEO of Iroquois Capital Group, Inc. He is also Chairman/President/CEO of REIT Investment Group, LLC, and President and CEO of Iroquois Captive Services, LLC, which are both portfolio companies of Iroquois Capital Group. McGugin was previously with Covenant Capital Group, a real estate private equity firm with $300 million of equity invested in apartment projects. He holds his Series 7, Series 24, Series 27, Series 63 and Series 79 licenses. In addition to his successful business career, McGugin is an active and selfless volunteer for tennis, having served as President of USTA-Tennessee (2016-2017) and currently serving on the USTA’s national Collegiate Varsity Committee and the USTA-Southern’s Budget Committee. Bill played four years of college tennis, graduating from Vanderbilt University (BA in 2000 and M.Ed in 2003) and remains an active adult competitor having won multiple USTA gold balls over the past 10 years.