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Mark Manning

Mark Manning was a friend and colleague for 25 years. In 2007 USTA NorCal's Diversity committee selected Mark and I to co-coach a group of primarily inner-city youth on a trip to NYC to participate in the 90th annual ATA National Championships. Our group included former Stanford team member Natalie Dillon, reigning Oakland City Open men's singles champ Phil Graham, and numerous players who earned tennis scholarships to college, including; Brook and Beth Workeneh, Ariel Ellis and Myiesha Simmons. Our 23 player contingent took home 43 trophies from that event and made friends with countless players across the nation.

For thirty years, Mark Manning and Oakland tennis were synonymous. His broad and mischievious grin was completely infectious as he boomed out his greeting, "Marc Weinstein! My brotha from anotha motha!"

He is sorely missed.

Marc Weinstein
Director of Tennis
City of Oakland

To learn more about Mark Manning please click here to view a USTA article on his life or here for a KTVU video segment on his passing.

mark manningGreatness in this sport is measured in large part by titles and triumphs. Yet another kind of tennis hero, one whose legacy will be cemented in ways we may have yet to fully understand, has left us far too soon. There are no trophies that can measure the greatness of this man whose contributions were immeasurable.

Manning had all of the attributes we admire in our tennis icons--stamina, determination, perseverance, work ethic, and a focus to elevate his "game" to the next level. And boy, did he have game. Not so much in the form of the on-court variety, although his coaching skills are legendary and he was, in his own right, a standout high school player and USTA leagues and tournaments competitor. His true gift was having the unique ability to turn an industry on its ear by making it stand up and take notice of the dazzling brilliance that dared to emerge from his beloved community of East Oakland--a spot on the map often characterized as the epicenter of poverty, unemployment, crime and violence, rather than a bastion of scholars, leaders, and tennis champions. That he devoted his entire adult life to channeling those gifts in service to others speaks volumes about the man and the profound loss that marks his passing.

Whether it was through his work as founder and president of the Elmhurst District Youth Tennis Program, his quarter century as a USTA volunteer, his ceiling-shatter- ing ascent to the presidency of the USTA NorCal, his tireless work with the City of Oakland or the many unsung acts of kindness and generosity he performed far removed from the spotlight and scrutiny of the tennis establishment, Manning was a one- man tour-de-force. His dogged determination to ensure that every child, regardless of circumstance, had an opportunity to participate in the sport he so dearly loved was only the tip of the iceberg of this complex, driven man. Injustice, in any form, was simply not to be tolerated, particularly where young people were concerned. Through his sheer will and using tennis as a vehicle, he was able to break barriers that others hadn't a clue how to address. Education and access were at the top of his priority list and he financed from his own modest, and well-worn pockets everything from clothing and housing to equipment and books, to tutors and specialists, so that the hundreds he embraced as his own would not be among the next claimed by East Oakland's unrelenting streets.

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