Board of Directors; Coordinator, Raleigh Clinics
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.
Coach, Wilmington Clinics
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 the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex (Empie Park) between 4:30 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 the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex. In order to raise funds for the athletes to travel to tournaments in North Carolina and other states, Billie also hosts a fundraiser tournament called the Great Pumpkin Smash each October at Holly Tree Racquet Club.
Hickory Community Coordinator; Coach, Hickory Clinics
Hani Nassar began playing tennis in his birth country of Lebanon and has been an avid tennis player for over 50 years. He is currently in his third year as president of the Greater Hickory Tennis Association and serves as a board member for USTA-NC. In addition to his role as a coach and coordinator for Abilities Tennis, Hani also coaches with Special Olympics North Carolina. Hani enjoys competing in USTA tennis leagues and has captained tennis teams annually for the last thirty years. “Tennis is a way of life for me and a healthy and safe way to alleviate daily stress,” Hani said.
Coach, Wake Forest Clinics
Maggie Payne grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she found her love for tennis. She played competitively as a junior before attending college. Maggie now teaches tennis at North Hills Club and is the head coach for Abilities Tennis in Wake Forrest. Maggie continues to enjoy playing tennis competitively and recreationally.
Coach, Clayton Clinics
Dawn Kitner is the owner and teaching pro at the Neuse River Racquet Club in Clayton, NC. An accomplished NTRP 5.0 rated player, Dawn received a full scholarship to attend St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY, where she played #1 singles for all four years. She is a certified Special Olympics Partner and Unified Doubles Partner with Abilities Tennis. Outside of ATANC, Dawn stays active and competitive playing USTA tennis, and her local 5.0 ladies has been local champions for the last 5+ years.
Coach, Cary Clinics
Tennis Professional USPTA Elite Professional, PPR Professional (Pickleball), PTL Certified including 10 & Under & High Performance Steve joined the Cary 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. Steve 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!
Coach, Southport Clinics
Karen Holbrook lives in Southport, NC, about five 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 (FL) 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 from 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 Special Olympics coach for Guilford/Greensboro area where she hosts clinics from August to May. Jinni is a board member as well as merchandising chair for Racquets for a Cure (an annual tennis tournament to raise money for the local Komen Foundation). Jinni has also worked diligently to coordinate and promote the fundraiser, Dancing on the Diamond, which benefits the ARC of Greensboro.
Chapel Hill Community Coordinator and Coach
Rich 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 in Orange County, and trains and certifies Special Olympics NC Tennis Coaches. The most fun Rich has had playing in a tennis tournament was when he partnered with Kevin Olin to represent NC Abilities Tennis in the 2019 USTA National Adaptive Tournament in Orlando, Florida. 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, Rich works for an investment company, plays Platform Tennis, and enjoys learning to play the Sitar.
Coach, Mt. Jubilee Clinics
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. Charles 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!”
Coach, Mt. Jubilee Clinics
Justin Hunsucker lives in Winston-Salem and has been competing in the top division of Special Olympics tennis for Forsyth County for over 12 years. He has competed in singles as well as unified doubles with his dad and coach, Charles. Justin is a current gold medalist in singles for the state of North Carolina. He has also won the gold medal at the North American Special Olympics Tennis Championships held in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Justin enjoys traveling and competing in adaptive tennis tournaments throughout the south. Justin also enjoys playing sports video games and following almost all college and professional sports. He is an avid Wake Forest University fan and has had the opportunity to work out with some of the WFU players, including a national singles champion and one of the coaches. Even while playing at places like the University of Virginia or N.C. State University, Justin can be seen proudly wearing his Wake Forest University cap!
Coach, Raleigh Clinics
Nancy started playing tennis when she was twelve years old. She played junior and high school tennis and started teaching at the local YMCA while she was in high school. In college, Nancy played lacrosse to get the team sport experience. In 2009, Nancy and her family moved from Atlanta to Raleigh, and she started coaching for the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation in the spring of 2012. Later that fall, she became the head coach of the Endeavor Charter School Girls tennis team, a position she held for two years. She continued to coach for the city and soon landed a position on the tennis teaching staff. Nancy's 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 both Expansion Coordinator and Director of Tournaments. Nancy is licensed as a cardio tennis professional. A native of Ohio, Nancy lives in Raleigh with her husband Grant, daughter Elizabeth, son James, and dog Tucker. In her spare time, she plays tennis!
Coach, Raleigh and Wake Forest Clinics
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 is a certified professional with the United States Professional Tennis Association, Registro de Tennis Professional (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, David was named “North Carolina Professional of the Year.” David has been a head coach with Abilities Tennis for three years in Raleigh and currently in Wake Forest. He is an Adaptive Tennis Certified Professional through PTR and also serves on the board of Wheel Serve NC.
Coach, Pinehurst Clinics; Statewide 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 before playing 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, NC. Chad played college tennis at UNC Wilmington. His early career path took him to many prestigious clubs such as the Briar Club in Texas and Vicksburg Country Club in Mississippi. Chad is a USPTA professional and has achieved USTA High Performance status. For several years, Chad has served as president of the Concord Community Tennis Association. Chad is an Adaptive Tennis Certified Professional through PTR and has been a head coach with Abilities Tennis since 2018. Chad’s love of the game and his desire to serve others make him an ideal coach for Abilities Tennis athletes.
Coach, Goldsboro Clinics
Russell Stephens has been with the City of Goldsboro for 14 years where he serves as Athletic Director/Supervisor for Goldsboro Parks and Recreation. He believes that quality programming and community engagement are the keys 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 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.