Lou Welch holds a degree in Therapeutic Recreation from East Carolina University. Her first job entailed working with special populations in the Palm Beach area. After returning to Raleigh, Lou gained experience in sales and marketing as a pharmaceutical representative. She then took time away from the work force to focus on family. Lou and her husband, Jim, have two children, Carson and Cammy. She is an avid tennis player and is very involved in the local community. She looks forward to bringing her various experiences together to benefit the growth of Abilities Tennis in North Carolina.
President, Board of Directors
Cameron was elected to the board of directors in January of 2015. He is an avid tennis player within the Raleigh Pro League and serves as the Director of Business Development with Curi Capital. He is excited to share his love of the sport with Abilities Tennis, as well as the mission of the organization with the community. Cameron is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his business degree from the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is an active member of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, serves as a board member for StepUp Ministry & North Hills Club, and captains for several USTA teams. You can also catch him on the weekends with the 40 Love Band.
Board of Directors, VP of Marketing
Ken Smith earned his BA in Mass Communication from the University of South Florida and is an award-winning reporter currently with WRAL News in Raleigh. He has won the Mid-South Regional Emmy for best weekend newscast in 2008, the Mid-South Regional Emmy for Spot News in 2009, the Mid-South Regional Emmy for Breaking News in 2012, and earned a National Emmy nomination for Breaking News in 2012. Ken has also received two Georgia Associated Press awards for best spot news and best feature. He loves tennis, reading, hiking, jazz and calypso music, and is a self-proclaimed Foodie. He regularly volunteers with the Special Olympics of N.C. and Wake County schools.
Board of Directors, VP of Events
Wendy joined the Board the Directors in May 2015. As an active tennis player and a mom of a daughter with intellectual disabilities, joining the board of Abilities Tennis was a natural fit. Wendy graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Communications. Her career in medical equipment sales brought her to North Carolina in 1998 where she met her husband John. They have two daughters, Emma and Lily. Wendy looks forward to combining her love of tennis, the intellectually disabled community and community involvement to further the mission of Abilities Tennis.
Board of Directors, Member-At-Large
Elected to the Board of Directors in March, 2018, Duncan is a graduate of the University of Evansville where he played collegiate tennis for the Purple Aces. Duncan currently works in Business Development for a healthcare data analytics company, Prognos. Duncan continues to play USTA League tennis and is also a USTA-certified tennis official. He was first exposed to Abilities Tennis while working with his sons in 2016/17 to develop a fundraising tennis tournament in honor of Rhonda Blanchard, the former men's and women's tennis coach at Middle Creek High School. He is now very excited to expand his involvement in Abilities Tennis and to help grow and improve its programs in the future
Board of Directors
Alex is a graduate of Florida State University receiving a degree in International Business. While at FSU, he played on the varsity tennis team. After graduating he went to work at Wachovia Bank. He currently is a manager at Vision Indoor Tennis Center and is a managing member at Forsyth Holdings, LLC. Alex has held the positions of President of USTA North Carolina and President of the North Carolina Tennis Foundation, and is currently on the Board of both organizations. He, his wife Sara, and their son Charles live in Winston-Salem. The family loves to play tennis and snow ski.
Board of Directors, Raleigh Clinic Coordinator
John was elected to the Board of Directions in 2018. He has been playing tennis actively out of Seven Oaks Swim and Racquet Club in Raleigh since 2011 and began coaching ATANC clinics in 2015. John leads the Saturday Raleigh ATANC clinics at Millbrook Exchange Park (Spring/Fall) and the Raleigh Racquet Club (Winter) where we have around 16 athletes and 8-10 volunteer coaches attending these clinics. John is also part-time tennis instructor at Millbrook Exchange Park where he is a junior tennis coach and teaches introductory tennis classes to kids and adults. John has four children, three daughters and a son, who are all grown and just about through college. John is very grateful for all that tennis has brought into his life including the opportunity to be associated with ATANC, the abilities athletes, and their families. John holds a Computer Science degree from the University of Maryland and works in the software technology industry.
Wilmington Community Coordinator
A tennis player for 50 years, Billie Fitzsimons has dedicated her spare time to teaching her favorite sport at camps, public parks and private clubs. Eight years ago, Billie began coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities in the Wilmington area. Billie’s team was having so much fun on the court that they wanted to play tennis all year long. Billie hooked up with Abilities Tennis of North Carolina and began holding tennis clinics for her team every Thursday afternoon. If you stop by Empie Park between 4:40 and 6:00, year-round, you will see anywhere from 10 to 20 athletes practicing skills, short court, and full court doubles and singles, with lots of volunteers helping out. She also hosts a yearly tournament, Swing into Spring, at Empie Park. In order to raise funds for the athletes to travel to tournaments in North Carolina and other states, she hosts a fundraiser each October, the Great Pumpkin Smash held at Holly Tree.
Tennis Professional USPTA Elite Professional PPR Professional (Pickleball) PTR Certified including 10 & Under & High Performance Steve joined the Tennis Park as permanent staff in 2018, after working part-time since 2016. He brings a lifelong passion for tennis and coaching. Steve attended the University of Nebraska where he competed at the Division 1 level in gymnastics. He has transferred those disciplines into a successful coaching career, developing junior and adult tennis players. Steve likes developing all aspects of a tennis player, working on both the physical and mental abilities and uncovering the full potential of the player. He works not only with Academy Team, but Academy 1 and adult clinics as well. His energetic persona makes him a dynamic tennis coach!
Karen Holbrook lives in Southport, NC about 5 miles from the ocean and equidistant to Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC. She gets much joy and inspiration from working with Abilities Tennis athletes and helping them achieve their goals. Karen developed a Net Generation program linking middle school PE student helpers with Abilities Tennis high school players. She is safe-play certified and registered as a Provider with Net Generation.
Coach, Salem College Head Coach
Ed Steele has been coaching tennis for over three decades, all along the East coast. He began his coaching career in New Hampshire in 1978. Since that point, Steele has coached in New England, Florida, New Jersey and most recently North Carolina. He took over the Salem College tennis program in the spring of 2015 and helped the team to the Great South Athletic Conference Tournament. Since taking the helm of the Salem tennis program, Steele has guided the Spirits to at least five victories every year. Steele graduated from Georgetown College (Ky.) with a bachelor of science in zoology. From there he went to earn a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern (Fla.) in Teaching Speaking of Other Languages. He also holds a USPTA Level Two coaching license.
Greensboro Community Coordinator, Coach Greensboro Clinics
Jinni has been active in the tennis world, playing USTA leagues and playing at Gate City for over 15 years. She graduated Western Kentucky University with a major in Therapeutic Recreation and has worked with special needs athletes since high school. She is the Abilities Tennis and SO coach for Guilford/Greensboro area hosting clinics from August to May. She is a board member as well as merchandising chair for Racquets for a Cure (an annual tennis tournament to raise money for my local Komen Foundation). For two years she has worked diligently coordinating and promoting the fundraiser, Dancing on the Diamond, which benefits the ARC of Greensboro.
Chapel Hill Community Coordinator and Coach
Rich has enjoyed playing a lot of tennis growing up on Long Island, for the University of Vermont, and on USTA Teams in New York and North Carolina. Rich serves on the Special Olympics NC Tennis Sport Development Team, Coaches Special Olympics Orange County, and Trains and Certifies Special Olympics NC Tennis Coaches. The most fun he has had playing in a tennis tournament was partnering with Kevin Olin representing NC Abilities Tennis in the 2019 USTA National Adaptive Tournament in Orlando. Rich loves working with Abilities Tennis and Special Olympics, especially when athletes, families, and volunteers have so much fun being together at events and on the tennis court. In his other life he works for an investment company, plays Platform Tennis, and enjoys learning to play the Sitar.
Greensboro Community Coordinator and Coach
Charles is a tennis enthusiast who has been enjoying the sport for more than 50 years. He has played USTA League tennis and continues to play regularly, but finds his current role as tennis coach for Special Olympics of Forsyth County and Abilities Tennis most rewarding. He began coaching and playing unified doubles with his son, Justin in 2009 and joined Abilities Tennis at its beginning. "Just watching the growing success and confidence of my son and so many of our friends in Abilities Tennis has been an absolute joy! I have met some of the best people in the world through Abilities Tennis and look forward to its future of continuing to develop and celebrate their ABILITIES!”
Wake Forest Coach, Online Clinic Leader
Nancy started playing tennis when she was 12. She played junior tennis and she played on the high school team. I She started teaching at the local YMCA while she was in high school. She played lacrosse in college to get the team sport experience. She and her family moved to Raleigh from Atlanta in 2009. She started coaching for the City of Raleigh Parks and Rec in the spring of 2012. Later that fall, she was the head coach of the Endeavor Charter School Girls tennis team, a position she held for 2 years. She continued to coach for the city, and soon landed a position on the tennis teaching staff. Her years of taking lessons carried her into the position she now holds as Assistant tennis pro for the City of Raleigh. She teaches all ages and abilities in private/group/team lessons. She also works for Raleigh Tennis Association (RTA), as the expansion coordinator, as well as the Director of Tournaments. She is licensed as a cardio tennis professional. In her spare time, she plays tennis! She is a native of Ohio, and reside in the City of Raleigh with her husband Grant, daughter Elizabeth, son James and dog Tucker.
Coach, Raleigh and Wake Forest
David Marquina, is a tennis professional who moved from Venezuela to the United States at age 18 to play college tennis at Metropolitan State University of Denver and later, Barton College. David is Director of Junior Programs at Carolina Country Club. He’s a certified professional with the United Stated Professional Tennis Association, Registro de Tennis Profesional (Spain) and United States Professional Tennis Registry in which he holds a professional rating in: 10-under tennis, 11-17 year old tennis, high performance and adult development. In 2008, he was named “NC Professional of the Year.” David has been a head coach with Abilities Tennis for 3 years in Raleigh and currently in Wake Forest. He is an Adaptive Tennis Certified Professional through PTR. He also serves on the Board of Wheel Serve NC.
Coach Pinehurst Clinics, State-wide Volunteer Trainer
James Hunt has been in the tennis world as a player, coach, club manager, and tennis pro. He was a highly ranked junior state and regional competitor then played college tennis on scholarship in Georgia. This rise was cut short by a drunk-driver, unfortunately ending the competitive career of this "Freshman Phenom." His dedication to the sport found many other avenues. Several of his clinic attendees who were PTs and Speech therapists asked to bring their patients out to play because they loved his easy and encouraging manner. This lead him to found Atlanta's Adaptive Tennis Program which became the first Wheelchair Tennis program in the South. He has run tennis programs for wheelchair players, amputees, hearing-impaired, brain injured, and cancer survivors to name a few. When he is not running a tennis clinic for Special Olympics or Abilities Tennis, he travels the state training our volunteers.
Coach, Concord Clinics
Chad Oxendine is the owner and director of AMPTENNIS in Concord. Chad played college tennis at UNC Wilmington. His early career path took him to prestigious clubs such as Briar Club in Texas and Vicksburg Country Club in Mississippi. Chad is a USPTA professional and he has achieved USTA High Performance status. For several years, Chad has served as president of the Concord Community Tennis Association. Chad has been a head coach with Abilities Tennis since 2018. He is an Adaptive Tennis Certified Professional through PTR. Chad’s love of the game and his desire to serve others makes him an ideal coach for Abilities Tennis athletes.
Apex Community Coordinator, Coach
Jessica Rigney received her USPTA Recreational Tennis Coaches Certification in 2009 and has 4 years training in the LA84 and Quick Start tennis programs. She went on to develop and run Youth and Family tennis programs for the United States Navy’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department in San Diego, CA. After moving to Fuquay Varina in 2013, she took an Abilities Tennis Training and found ways to continue teaching tennis in surrounding towns. She has been running an Abilities Tennis Clinic in Apex since the summer of 2015.
Coach, Goldsboro Clinics
Russell Stephens has been with the City of Goldsboro for 14 years and currently serves as Interim Parks and Recreation Assistant Director. He believes that quality programming, along with community engagement is the key to building quality recreation services. Russell has received the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching Certification and specializes in adult, as well as youth programs. Russell truly believes that children are our future and wants to be a part of their overall growth in the community. For this reason, Russell currently serves as the Varsity Boys and Girls Tennis Coach at Goldsboro High School, so that he can be an asset in the school system as well as the community. He is the head coach for the Abilities Tennis clinics with the high school teams volunteering each week. Russell has a Bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from Mt. Olive College, where he was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame for Basketball and Baseball.