Racquet Sports Industry Magazine Names 2007 'Champions of Tennis'
George Napier, the chief executive officer of Prince Sports, has been named “Person of the Year” by Racquet Sports Industry magazine in the publication’s November/December 2007 issue. Napier led off the magazine’s seventh annual “Champions of Tennis Awards,” which honors people and organizations dedicated to improving the sport and business of tennis.
Napier, who has been involved in the management of sports and recreation companies for 30 years, joined Prince as president and CEO in 2001, when the company was owned by Benetton Group of Italy. In May 2003, Napier formed Prince Sports Inc., a new company that acquired the rights to the brand from Benetton Group. Prince Sports then relocated from Italy to Bordentown, N.J., where it is currently headquartered.
“Since Napier formed Prince Sports in 2003, he has led the resurgence of the brand within the tennis industry,” says Peter Francesconi, the editorial director for Racquet Sports Industry (RSI) magazine. “Under Napier’s leadership, the company has had a string of successes—launching new racquets and new racquet technology that have helped both recreational and pro tennis players enjoy success on the court, and consistently gaining market share along the way.”
In particular, Prince says its “O3 technology,” which transforms traditional string holes in racquet frames into giant “O-ports,” has enhanced players’ games by enlarging the racquet’s “sweetspot.” Tennis racquets featuring this technology have consistently topped the list as best-sellers for the last three years. Napier is also leading Prince’s charge back into the tennis apparel market, launching “Aerotech” clothing in the coming months.
Napier’s understanding and support of the tennis specialty retail market also wins praise from retailers. “I have great respect for George in business and personally,” says tennis retailer Dale Queen, president of Your Serve Tennis, which has seven locations in the metro Atlanta area. “He’s great at gathering all the information and making committed decisions based on the facts. He doesn’t have a problem taking a chance on new, innovative concepts and technology.”
RSI (www.racquetsportsindustry.com), the world’s largest magazine geared toward the tennis industry, also named winners in 16 other categories for its 2007 Champions of Tennis Awards:
* Private Facility of the Year: Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness, Lakewood, Colo.
* Stringer of the Year: Tim Strawn, Roanoke, Va.
* Builder/Contractor of the Year: Sportsline Inc., Villanova, Pa.
* Tennis Sales Rep of the Year: Hunter Hines, HEAD Penn Racquet Sports, Marietta, Ga.
* Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of the Year: The Sports Authority, Englewood, Colo.
* Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year: Michael Lynne’s Tennis Shop, Minneapolis, Minn.
* Junior Development Champion of the Year: Craig Jones, Martinez, Ga.
* Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Dan Vonk, Kingsland, Ga.
* Municipal Facility of the Year: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year: Jason Harnett, Mission Viejo, Calif.
* Public Park of the Year: Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Park and Rec
* Community Tennis Association of the Year: Grants Pass (Ore.) CTA
* PTR Member of the Year: Luke Jensen, Syracuse, N.Y.
* USPTA Member of the Year: Mike Van Zutphen, Mesa, Ariz.
* High School Coach of the Year: Marian DeWane, Boise, Idaho
* USTA Section of the Year: Florida
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