Frank Hatten was inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame on March 9.
Every Bethesda Country Club tennis player knows the welcoming smile and hearty “Good Morning” from Director of Tennis Frank Hatten.
“Now, that’s what a player looks like,” “perfect” and “I like it,” are just a few of his encouraging missives as he drills and enlightens — working toward creating more skillful tennis players and in improving the overall tennis program at Bethesda Country Club.
“I want to help our players get maximum satisfaction and enjoyment from tennis, the sport and fitness program for a lifetime,” he said. Not only has Hatten been an influential force in making tennis better for tennis players at BCC, he has made a difference throughout Montgomery County by serving as president of the United States Professional Tennis Association, Mid-Atlantic Division, president of the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Foundation and president of the Montgomery County Tennis Association — and bringing about changes in the sport of tennis.
Hatten was inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame on March 9 at the annual convention in Charlottesville, Va. — an exceptionally fitting place for him to receive the award since he served as captain of the University of Virginia Varsity Tennis Team (and as their Number 1 singles player) from 1971 – 1975. He played on the 1972 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship team and was the West Virginia State Men’s Champion in 1975.
Rod Dulany, past president of the National USPTA and the Mid-Atlantic Professional Tennis Association as well as a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee presented Hatten to the audience and spoke of his work within the tennis community.
“I’m happy to be among the five tennis professionals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Hatten. “People need sports for many reasons. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the sport I love and to have the opportunity to make a difference as well as help influence others to become as excited as I am about tennis. I’m also proud to be able to give back to tennis. It is an honor to be recognized by my peers for my work with the industry. I have always felt a deep debt to the industry for all that tennis has done for me.
“I have always been proud of the work I did as president of Mid Atlantic Tennis and Education Foundation in securing a luxury suite at the US Open that provides $50,000 in revenues for summer and after school programs for at-risk youth in the region, working with the Montgomery County Tennis Association Board as president from 2003-08 to increase participation from 2,500 players to 6,000 players in 2008, and most importantly the privilege of working with the Board at Bethesda Country Club for 37 years to make the club’s tennis facility and tennis offerings one of the preeminent tennis programs on the East Coast. The magnificent new tennis house at Bethesda Country Club is testament to the first-class status that BCC tennis has attained.”
Hatten became a teaching pro at BCC in 1976 when the facility consisted of only five tennis courts with no club house or tennis bubble. He taught there for two summers — fully planning to attend law school. He loved teaching tennis so much that he decided to continue, but knew that he needed to find a way to make the position into a year-around occupation. Thus, he proposed, financed, owned and managed a tennis bubble that made the BCC tennis facility a year-round operation. He grew the tennis program from one part-time tennis pro (himself) to a comprehensive year-round program with six full-time pros on staff. He has instituted programs at BCC for adults, teens and children, including women’s and men’s teams, cardio tennis, World Team Tennis, youth tennis camps and more.
“Tennis has taken me to places I never thought I’d go,” he said. Born in Huntington, W.Va., Hatten was recruited as a high school student to attend the Phillips Exeter Academy — a New England boy’s boarding school. “That’s just one place — but the contacts and exposure for a boy from West Virginia were invaluable. Then I was fortunate to play at UVA and then move to Montgomery County.” He joined the staff of BCC, built the tennis program — and continues to encourage and excite others about the game he loves so much.
Hatten and his wife, Lauren reside in Potomac and have three children.