Galveston’s Manuel Moreno Jr. is the recipient of the United States Tennis Association-Texas Section’s Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award for 2020.
The award is presented annually to an individual who exhibits outstanding abilities at a professional level in building stronger junior tennis at all levels of skill while making significant contributions to promote the game of tennis in the section.
Moreno, the head tennis coach at Pasadena ISD’s J. Frank Dobie High School, has coached youth tennis for 47 years, including the last 22 with the Dobie Longhorns.
“Seeing all those who have received the award before me, this is, indeed, quite humbling,” said Moreno, whose coaching stints also included two years as an assistant at Lamar University, where he played collegiately, 13 at O’Connell High School in Galveston, his alma mater, and two more at Clear Lake High School.
Moreno also has been an instructor/director of the city of Galveston Parks & Recreation Department’s summer youth tennis program since 1974.
The Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award, established in 1973 to emphasize the word “educational” and the importance of developing junior tennis in Texas, was first presented to Clarence Mabry and the next year to Bob Mapes, two giants in the building of youth tennis in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, respectively.
“To be listed alongside names like coach Mabry and coach Mapes makes this award that more special because they did so much for their tennis communities,” Moreno said, quickly adding, “My coach at Lamar, Ron Wesbrooks, also won the award (in 1986), so that certainly adds to the honor.”
The Houston Tennis Association nominated Moreno, who is a longtime tennis columnist and sports correspondent for the Galveston County Daily News.
Criteria included Moreno’s lengthy involvement with the USTA-Texas Section, where he serves as a member of the sportsmanship committee after serving on the state high school committee, and his college, high school and local tennis community contributions over the years.
Moreno, who recently was recognized by the Texas Tennis Coaches Association as its first-ever Holly Ford Sportsmanship Award winner, also is a member of the USTA’s national high school committee, now in his fourth two-year term.
“Receipt of this prestigious award is quite an achievement, and all of USTA-Texas is proud of you and thankful for all you did and do to be selected for such an honor,” USTA-Texas awards committee chairperson Paul Rider told Moreno in his congratulatory letter and announcement.
The Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award presentation was supposed to be made at the USTA-Texas Section’s annual meeting in Frisco on Friday and Saturday but will be presented virtually at a later date.
“This award is a tribute to all the tennis kids I’ve had the privilege of coaching all these years,” Moreno said. “It’s an award I share with all of them because they truly are the reason why I’m receiving it.”