Gordon Smith, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Tennis Association, visits UGA to participate in the inauguration of the Coach Magill Professorship in Sports Communication.

U.S. Tennis Association CEO Inaugurates Coach Magill Professorship In Grady College

“Coach Dan Magill’s life and achievements were organically associated with the University of Georgia,” Gordon Smith, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Tennis Association, told a group of 60 students in mid April. “He left Athens only twice: once to fight the Japanese in the Second World War, and the second time to build the high school sports section at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.”

Smith, who has two degrees from the University of Georgia (ABJ ’75, JD ’78) and was a member of the UGA tennis team from 1972-75, was in Athens as a guest of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and participated in the inauguration of the Coach Magill Professorship in Sports Communication. The program was organized by the Office of Strategy and Engagement at Grady College, by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, and by the Athens Rotary Club.

The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“It is an extraordinary honor for our school to host this professorship,” said Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College. “We owe thanks to the generosity and love for Coach Magill from Gordon Smith, men's tennis coach Manny Diaz, Athletic Director Greg McGarity, Loran Smith, Tudor Vlad, Dick Hudson, Parker Middleton and other members of "the Coach Magill gang" who were committed that Grady join UGA to honor forever this legendary tennis coach, sportswriter, sports entreprenuer  and founder of the Bulldog Club who still inspires generations of players, leaders and citizens, from Gordon Smith to John Isner and all of us…”

In addition to the Grady College presentation, Gordon Smith spoke about Coach Magill’s legacy in the Athens Rotary Club, where he was awarded an honorary membership, and met with UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity.

Gordon Smith, the longest-tenured CEO and executive director in the USTA’s history, has led the Association to unprecedented growth and achievements during his time at the helm. Most notably was the launch of its new unified youth tennis initiative, Net Generation, as well as driving forward the complete digital overhaul of the USTA’s digital platforms and assets to make the digital experience for tennis players more modern and consumer friendly.

Smith also oversaw tremendous growth of the US Open. Gross revenue nearly doubled during his tenure and attendance of the event is at an all-time high. The US Open has also been at the forefront of tennis innovations, with electronic line calling and live match streaming available on all US Open courts, and the introduction of a serve and warm-up clock to the competition.

Smith stewarded the two largest infrastructure construction projects in USTA history. The first was the five-year, $600 million transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open. Smith also led the charge for the construction of the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida. This 64-acre, 100-court facility has now set the world standard for tennis facilities and is the center for training and innovation in the sport.