Sea Colony’s Johnston joining Delaware District USTA board
Now with six indoor courts, after a $3 million renovation project, it’s no wonder why the tennis program at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach has long been considered one of the best in the area. Another major factor in the program’s success has been Director of Tennis Thomas Johnston — who will now have an opportunity to further expand the program and community involvement in the sport as he joins the USTA Delaware District Board of Directors.
“It is definitely an honor, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Johnston said of his new position. “When you’re on a board like this, you get much more involved with the game. I want as many people to play as possible — it’s a great avenue to help further that goal.”
Serving as the tennis director for Sea Colony for the past four years, Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge of the sport to the board and has excelled not only as a program director but as a player and a coach, as well.
Before landing in the Bethany Beach area, he served as the director for a similar resort community in Virginia. When the job opened up at Sea Colony, it was actually recommended to him by a friend.
“A friend of mine suggested I look into the job, and it turned out it was a good fit,” he explained of how he ended up in Delaware.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Johnston went on to play college tennis at Pitzer College in California, where he was named a Division III All-American. He continued his tennis career after graduating, playing on the tour for a year and a half, before eventually deciding he wanted to be a college professor and enrolling at the University of Virginia. It was while attending UVA that he discovered his passion for coaching.
“I just fell in love with coaching. I love being out on the court,” he said.
During his five-year tenure coaching both men’s and women’s tennis for the Cavaliers, Johnston was able to take the program from 95th in the country all the way to a Top 15 ranking.
“We went from 95 to 45 in about four months,” he recalled of the initial rapid turnaround.
As a member of the USTA district board, Johnston plans on continuing the longstanding tradition of excellence exhibited by the Sea Colony program, while at the same time branching out into the community and surrounding areas to further the brand and the sport in general.
“I’ll be helping lead a committee — probably a junior tennis committee or task team, to help promote and coordinate junior tennis in Delaware,” he said of his expectations. “I’ll work with other people on the board and in our community to raise awareness of all tennis and, more specifically, junior tennis.”
With Sea Colony named U.S. Facility of the Year in 2012, Johnston believes that his new position will only further better an already stellar program.
“It’ll raise more awareness for the program,” he predicted. “It will also be a great way of promoting our brand throughout the area and the middle-states section. It’s also an opportunity for me to network with other tennis pros and the U.S. Tennis Association.”