Director of Enrichment Programs & Summer Camp
Ms. Houston leads all of our academic and social enrichment programs including summer camp. Ms. Houston works in Special Education in the Newton public schools working closely with children, parents and teachers. At Sportsmen’s she has developed gender specific programs for both boys and girls as well as led the growth of our academic and camp programs. She also hires and supervises Boston Youth working at Sportsmen’s through several programs including Boston Youth Fund and the MLK Scholars. A long time Boston resident, Ms. Houston is a gifted educator and mentor of young people.
Tia Lites, M.Ed, Academic & Curriculum Advisor, HEY Sister Lead
Tia Lites is a Dorchester native and a graduate of the Newton Public School system through the METCO Program. She received her Bachelors of Arts from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC, a Historically Black University. At JCSU, she was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu National Honors Society in Spring of 2005. Post undergrad, she continued her education at Cambridge College where she obtained her Masters of Management in 2008. In 2012, Tia completed her Masters of Education at Lesley University. She is currently attending Northeastern University working towards her Doctorate in Education concentrating on Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership. She is employed at KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter School Network and serves on the Regional Staff as the High School Placement and Alumni Services Counselor. She also holds her position as the Academic Advisor at The Learning Center located at Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester.
Thuan Nguyen, Math & Science Academic Coordinator
Joellen Persad, ELA Academic Coordinator
Jessica Maxwell, Peer Mentor & Tutor
Jessica has been a part of the Sportsmen’s family since the age of ten. For several years, she has volunteered in numerous programs and events and then started working at Sportsmen’s at the age of fifteen. She has been working here now for three years in both “Ready Position” and “HEY Sister.” She helps children with their homework, improves their tennis game, and most importantly, serves as their mentor. Jessica is now in high school at Boston Collegiate Charter School.
Staff | Coaching Staff
Sportsmen’s Tennis Coaches: All of our coaches enroll in ongoing professional development that gives them the experience and knowledge to develop as individual coaches and as part of our coaching team.
Marton Balla, Director of Tennis
Despite the 25 years of sweat and work Marton has put in on the court, if you google his name you will find an article about his wedding (and maybe a picture of his pregnant wife) before digging up all of his tennis results. In 2000, while escaping the mandatory Hungarian military service, he landed at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He spent 4 years loving life, studying, and playing tennis on the beach. He was ranked in the top 10 in division II, and was awarded several recognitions from both his college and the conference such as Athlete of the Year. After graduation he was not ready to give up the sunshine, so he got into coaching in the Tampa Bay area. While coaching, Marton was mentored by some of the tour level coaches, and he was privileged to work and travel around the world with some of the top ITF juniors. During his 3 years at the Saddlebrook International Tennis Academy, he helped the preparation of numerous WTA and ATP players, however he devoted most of his time to Alex Domijan who became #1 on NCAA. When Marton was ready for a change of scenery he moved to India with his wife, Kate. After some crazy adventures and wild tennis stories (ask me about the “Psycho”) they decided to settle in Boston where their daughter was born in 2013. It was then when they realized that the craziness and the wild stories had just begun.
Harshana Godamanna, Assistant Director of Tennis
Harshana held an ATP World Tour ranking of 811 in singles and 846 in doubles as of October 2008. He has been the Men’s National Champion of Sri Lanka in singles and doubles for 6 years. He has been representing Sri Lanka in the Davis Cup since 2002. Harshana holds the highest win-loss record (62-24) by any Sri Lankan in the Davis Cup competition. He was the former Assistant Varsity Tennis Coach of the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston with a BS in International Management. He currently holds certifications from PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) for the following: 10 and Under, 11-17 age group and Performance.
Jelani Haynes, Director of Community Outreach, Deuce Lead
Jelani is from Boston and a product of Sportsmen’s, where he played as a Junior before heading to Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. He has been instrumental in building our Community Tennis Programs from a reach of about 600 students 2 years ago to over 1500 today. His efforts include the Volley Against Violence program, which runs in conjunction with the Boston Police Department. Coach Jelani continues to explore and execute community partnerships that allow us to bring tennis into the lives of youth and families that might not have a clear path to participate in our traditional tennis programs. He also works in our 10-&-Under tennis program and coaches our adult teams.
Andrew “Andy” Crane, Tournament Director
Andy is a former journalist, lawyer, government official and longtime youth development leader who, since 2012, has been our USTA New England Tournament Director. Andy began his relationship with Sportsmen’s in 1996, when then Executive Director Les Smith agreed to support BLAST, a new high school tennis training program Andy initiated with parents of Boston Latin School students. Over the years, BLAST provided off-season training for hundreds of Boston-area students who aspired to play high school tennis. Andy has been a volunteer for USTA New England in many capacities, including Chairperson of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Grievance Committee, the Eastern Mass Committee, and member of the USTA New England Board of Directors. Andy was Program Director, then Summer Program Director, for Tenacity from 1999 to 2010, and has coached high school tennis at Latin Academy since 2009.
Renaud has been playing and enjoying Tennis since 1999. He played high school tennis for the Brighton/BLA tennis team. Renaud has been working with youth since high school and finds it very gratifying. His future goal is to be a personal trainer/nutritionist. email@example.com
Originally from Ghana, Robert has represented his country in Davis Cup competition. He holds his certification from the ITF and PTR (Professional Tennis Registry), and has been living in the US for 10 years. Robert works primarily with our Tournament Tennis program.
Mr. Banks has a long history at Sportsmen’s and currently works in our 10-&-Under and Community Tennis programs. He has extensive experience teaching sports and athletics to children in the Boston area, and is a member of the USPTA.
Hajji has been coaching and teaching at the Sportsmen’s for 18 years. He has been the Director of Tennis at the Charlestown Community Center for the past 7-9 years. He coaches part–time in the weekend programs while also teaching private lessons at Sportsmen’s. He played collegiate tennis for the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Hajji is USPTA and USPTR certified.
Marcel is from Charlotte, NC and started playing the game of tennis at 15 years old. He took well to the game playing at T.A.P. Tennis with top level coaching and juniors players. After three years of high school tennis and two conference championships, he continued playing tennis with academic and athletic scholarship at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC. He played the #1 position for all three years achieving MVP and Coaches Award from his teammates and fellow competitors. After graduation, he coached at T.A.P. Tennis coaching from beginners to high performance juniors. He was also an Assistant Coach under Head Coach Calvin Davis at Charlotte Country Day School where he helped lead both boys’ and girls’ teams to State finalist two years in a row.
W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Fitness Trainer
(CSCS) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
RPCV Burkina Faso
Jimmy has been part of Sportsmen’s for many years and works primarily in our Community Tennis programs. He has also served as a high school coach and coordinated tennis programs at Carter Playground.
Mark-Anthony grew up here in Dorchester and has been a member of the Sportsmen’s community for nearly twenty years. Throughout his tennis career he has developed his skills on the court with the help of many coaches on his journey around the country at some of the most prestigious tennis programs and academies. At Whittier College, Mark-Anthony helped the Poets to reach their best conference finish of all time. Recently Mark-Anthony earned a certification from the Professional Tennis Registry for coaching players 10 and under. The knowledge he has acquired through diligent work on and off court over the past sixteen years is what makes him one of our more experienced coaches, not to mention the youngest of the group. Mark-Anthony’s enthusiasm and love for the game is always evident when on court with the juniors and his commitment to their success is unmatched.
Paul has been a tennis enthusiast for many years, and is currently coaching in the Match Point Community Tennis Program. He has served at the Hennigan School, Lee School, and Haynes Early Childhood Center over the past five years. He spent several of his early school years growing up in Jamaica Plain. As a former teacher and administrator, he has been working with children for over 30 years.
Mary is a native Bostonian who transitioned from basketball to tennis in 1990. She is USPTA certified who was recognized in 2010 for 5 years of service. She is returning to Sportsmen’s after departing in 2005 where she developed an after school tennis program in Brookline, MA. While at Sportsmen’s, Mary coached many youth and adults and is excited to return to the community. Mary’s professional background is in accounting and she holds certificates in Internet marketing and website development.