VIDEO: Brevard’s Mark Harrison Has 16 United States Tennis Association National Titles
By Charles Parker // April 26, 2015
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Among the roomful of awards Mark Harrison has received are 16 United States Tennis Association national championships, the All-American Award from Palm Beach State College, the South Florida Championship and the United States Professional Tennis Association’s National Player of the Year.
MARK HARRISON – 2015 INDUCTEE
• 16 USTA Championships
• USPTA National Player of Year
• Holy Trinity Tennis Director
MEL-HIGH TEAM CAPTAIN
As the legendary sports phrase goes, “baseball has been very, very good to me.”
Forget baseball. Tennis has been extremely nice to Mark Harrison.
Thanks to a sport that chases a springy, fuzzy yellow ball over a net, Harrison has traveled the globe, hobnobbed with the famous and worked at enviable locations.
“Tennis has taken me all over the world,” said Harrison.
He can’t prove it, but Harrison believes he was born with a tiny tennis racket in his hand.
His early training came from Ian Crookenden, Gus Palafox, Norman Holmes, the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and the Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Captain of the Melbourne High School tennis team, Harrison went on to captain Palm Beach State University’s tennis team.
“It was ranked number one in the nation,” said Harrison.
After college, he didn’t have to leave Palm Beach, for his first tennis job was as assistant professional at Frenchmen’s Creek Country Club in that South Florida playground of the rich and famous.
In 1991, Harrison turned pro, playing on the men’s international satellite circuit, where competitions took him to Egypt, Israel, Italy, France, Thailand and Portugal, among others, but also took a toll on Harrison.
“It was lonely in the middle,” said Harrison.
He decided to strike out on his own, establishing the Harrison Tennis Academy in Melbourne in 1993.
The school provides programs for adults and juniors of all skill levels.
He has coached more than 300 women’s teams competing in the Space Coast Tennis League and has trained elite level juniors as they progress through tournaments.
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy tapped him for a position as director of the school’s tennis program and as head coach of the boys’ and girls’ teams.
“In the last couple of years, the program has grown exponentially,” said Harrison, who has helped lead Holy Trinity to more than 100 wins.
Harrison is also the assistant coach of the women’s team at Eastern Florida State College.
During the summers of 2005 through 2013, Harrison would head to the storied Hamptons, where he was head pro at the East Hampton Tennis Club.
In 2013, he accepted the position of director of tennis during the summer season at the Bridge Golf and Tennis Court in Bridgehampton, New York.
Among the roomful of awards he has received are 16 United States Tennis Association national championships, the All-American Award from Palm Beach State College, the South Florida Championship and the United States Professional Tennis Association’s National Player of the Year.
In the past 10 years, he has represented the United States for the USIC in international competition.
Since 2005, he also has played for his country in the Amigos Cup competition against Mexico.
In 2014, he played at the Monte Carlo Tennis Club as a member of the championship President’s Cup team.
At home in Melbourne, his private tennis court affords him the opportunity to play tennis whenever he wants, which is often.
“I eat, sleep and breathe tennis,” said Harrison.”
THE 2015 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 8.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2015 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction Dinner, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com