Clare "Bunnie" Lahey, PTR, Founder, Executive DirectorBunnie was recognized at the 2017 New England Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on June 10 in Newport, RI, with the USTA New England Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award, the highest honor an individual can receive from USTA/NE. It's given to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions to tennis in New England. Bunnie grew up in Arlington, VA, headquarters for the National Parks and Recreation Association, where she was introduced to tennis in the public parks program. She has been an advocate for equality in tennis and growing the game at the grassroots level ever since. In the early 70's, as chair of the Parks & Rec Commission in Westchester County, NY, she fought for women's rights to use the same courts as men. After coaching a coed team for a few years in the early 90's, she helped lead the fight to have a separate girls' tennis league in Berkshire County (with the help of Title IX, prohibiting "discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."). She coached a no-cut high school team for 10 years - giving the opportunity for all kids to be part of her teams. In 1985, she founded the Lee CTA, which serves affordable tennis to more than 100 kids and 200 adults each year throughout Berkshire County. In 1992, Bunnie received one her most meaningul awards, the National Eve Karaft Community Service Award, named after her mentor, who wrote the guidebook on how to form a CTA. Bunnie has been an active board member of USTA National, USTA/New England, and has served on the USTA/Western MA Board since 1991.
DeWitt Thomson, PTR , Adult Tennis Director
DeWitt has been involved with the Lee CTA for the past 15 years. He has been certified as a Professional Tennis Registry Instructor since 2007. A 40 year NYC Physical Education Teacher, he has worked with both the junior and adult programs as an instructor and coach. In his current position he communicates with the adult league members, runs instructional programs, and helps coordinate the adult leagues.
Cami Smachetti, Youth Tennis Director
We're looking forward having Cami in this position! A second year college student she has coached for the CTA for several years and follows our goal of moving our coaches up through the system. She's an enthusiastic leader who aims to develop both coaches and players to make sure everyone has a fun and rewarding experience in the Lee CTA's youth programs!
Daniel Shane Sullivan, Youth Competition Director
Shane is the coach of Pittsfield High Boys tennis and was awarded Boys Tennis Coach of the Year for 2018! He has been directing CTA programs as a volunteer member of our Board of Directors for the past few years. Shane is excited to bring new opportunities for youth players to engage in fun competitive events and improve their skills.
Norma Comalli, 14U JTT Director
Norma is the head coach of the Lee High girls tennis team, and was awarded Girls Tennis Coach of the year for 2018! She has been an important member of our JTT program for the past several years, leading all the teams in excellent practices and coaching teams where needed. She also assists with special events, such as Tennis PlayDay, Founders Day Tennis on the Street, etc. Our programs have grown due to her devoted attention and love of kids!
Wilson Tan, PTR Certified Pro
Wilson had to step down this year after 7 years as our Youth Tennis Director. Wilson played college tennis at Wheelock College where he earned a masters degree in social social work. He is putting that knowledge to work with the Bureau of Familes & Children. He will be coaching the USTA 18U JTT team and assisting with other more advanced programs.
Richard Butler (MS, USPTA) has been Head Varsity Tennis Coach at Miss Halls School since 2009. Richard began his coaching career in 1994 as a Volunteer Assistant for the Indiana University Women’s Tennis team while he earned his MS in Exercise Physiology. He then continued coaching in his native state of New York at Stamford Central School and Hudson Valley Community College where in 1998 the team won a NJCAA National Championship in Women’s Doubles. Richard is a USPTA certified tennis professional and in 2003 was certified by the NSCA as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He teaches tennis part time at the Canyon Ranch Health Resort while working full time as their Senior Exercise Physiologist.
Richard is joining us this year to help with the LeeCTA's JTT program!
2016-2017 Staff - a great group, which will be updated soon!
Bunnie Lahey, PTR, Founder, Executive Director
Bunnie founded the Lee CTA in 1985. She has maintained a Professional Tennis Registry Instructor certification since 1990. As the original board president, she successfully applied for MA Corporation 501(c) 3 (tax exempt) status for the organization. After establishing a solid board of directors, she resigned as president and continued as Tennis Director. Her current position involves developing and updating the website, accounting, fundraising, programming, communications with board and members, and developing independent contracts for the Youth Tennis Director and Adult Tennis Director. She is a 21 year United States Tennis Association Volunteer and has been recognized as a USTA National Community Service Volunteer. She has served on National USTA Community Development, Minority Participation, and National JR Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Committees and as an officer with USTA/New England, chair of USTA/WMA and currently serves as a member, reviewing grants for community programs in WMA and serves on the USTA/New England Nominating Committee. She developed and directed the Special Olympics Tennis Program for Berkshire County for over 10 years, retiring in 2013, in order to oversee the rapidly growing Youth Tennis Program. She is happy to be serving tennis to her local community and hopes the Lee CTA will continue serving the community for many years to come.
DeWitt Thomson, PTR, Adult Tennis Director
DeWitt has been involved with the Lee CTA for the past 10 years. He has been certified as a Professional Tennis Registry Instructor since 2007. A 40 year NYC Physical Education Teacher, he has worked with both the junior and adult programs as an instructor and coach. In his current position he communicates with the adult league members, runs instructional programs, and helps coordinate the adult leagues.
Wilson Tan, Spring/Summer Youth Tennis Director
Wilson is back with us for his fourth year and his third year as the Youth Tennis Director. He oversees all 3 sites, Lee, Lenox, and Stockbridge, as well as Directing the Tennis Academy and coaching the U14 Lenox JTT. In 2012, he was Site Director at Lenox & Stockbridge for U10 & U12 QuickStart Programs and Coach, U14 JR Team Tennis. Wilson is a 2011 graduate of Wheelock College and is completing his Masters Degree in Social Work/Counseling.. As an undergrad, Wilson played 4 years of tennis and 2 years of soccer. He was captain of both the tennis and soccer teams and was voted NECC Player of the League. He majored in Math/Science and Psychology, concentration in child development. Wilson played 4 years of high school tennis, singles & doubles, and during the summers was an assistant coach in the Lee CTA program. He coached community U10 soccer during his college years. When not coaching tennis, Wilson is helping out at the family restaurant, Flavors, in Pittsfield. His 11 yr. old sister, Suri Lee, a member of our U14 JTT is his #1 assistant and his mother, Sabrina, has run a gala fundraiser for us the past two summers. A true tennis family!
Samantha Blache, Past Spring Youth Tennis Director, Summer Lee Site Director
Samantha is on leave this year, due to an out-of-town work committment. We hope to see her return soon. Last year, Sam competently oversaw a staff of 5 coaches, all top Lee HS Tennis Team Members. She ran a Saturday morning program with 46 childrent playing, offering both U12, U10 QuickStart Tennis and U14 JR Team Tennis. Sam is a 2012 grad of UMA Framingham. She played singles for the 2008 Lee HS Girls' WMA Championship Team and during her high school summers, Sam coached for the Lee CTA tennis programs, where she had begun her tennis career at age 8, playing on the U14 JTT team at ages 10-14 yrs., and participating in the WMA Championships, the foundation for her 4 years of successful high school tennis. She has kept her tennis skills sharpened by playing summers in the Lee CTA World Team Tennis program. She began her reunion with the Lee CTA by coaching the 2011 Spring U10 QuickStart program. The summer of 2013, she was Site Director at Lee for U10 & U12 QuickStart Programs and Coach U14 JR Team Tennis. We know that Sam's love of tennis is passed on to all her players.
All the above, plus
Norma Comalli, Director, Tennis Academy; Coach U18 & U14 JR Team Tennis
Norma returns for the second year as the Director of the one week Tennis Academy. For the past several years, Norma has been the Assistant Coach for the Lee High School Girl's Tennis Team. She plays at the 4.0 level on a USTA League team, when not engaged in another favorite sport, long-distance cycling. Before her son, Michael, 11 yrs.old, was born, she was head coach for the Lee HS Girl's Tennis Team, leading them to two Western MA Championships. We're very lucky to have this vibrant woman coaching our developing kids and directing the Tennis Academy.
Rachel Cogswell, Lenox Site Director Rachel returns for the 3rd year, taking on new responsibilities as one of our 3 Site Directors. She has maintained her certification as a QuickStart Coach over the past 3 years. For the past 2 hears she has been an U10 QuickStart Coach in both Lee and Lenox. She plays on the WMA Championship Lenox HS Tennis Team, a State finalist in 2011 & 2012. She played 2nd Singles on the team this year. She will be entering Springfield College this fall.
Matthew Vaughan, Stockbridge Site Director We're happy to welcome Matt back. He returns after serving a college internship last summer in FL. In 2011, Matt was our Lee Site Director and U18 JTT Coach. He was Berkshire County's top player while on the Mt. Greylock HS Tennis Team.
Tanner DeVarennes, PTR, U18 JTT Coach Tanner was the top Berkshire County player in 2012 and 2nd in his SR year at Lee High School only to, Rohan Shastri (#1 U18 USTA New England), who returned to the Mt. Greylock team in 2013. Tanner hopes to lead his U18 JTT team to a USTA WMA Championship, eligible to play in the USTA New England playoffs - and then to Nationals? He will be a player/coach.