Bethel Park resident named Middle States Teaching Professional of the Year


Success as the founder and longtime head of the Upper St. Clair Tennis Development Program has earned Janice Irwin a prestigious regional award.

Irwin, 58, of Bethel Park was named the 2014 United States Tennis Association Middle States Teaching Professional of the Year.

One of the association's 17 sections, Middle States consists of Pennsylvania, Delaware, northwestern West Virginia and parts of New Jersey.

Irwin was honored at an awards dinner this month in Pine, where she also received the Allegheny Mountain District Teaching Professional of the Year Award.

Allegheny Mountain, which is composed of 24 Western Pennsylvania counties and four in northwestern West Virginia, is one of six districts in Middle States.

In more than 30 years as an instructor, Irwin said she has lost count of the youngsters she guided who have gone to compete for NCAA Division I schools and other colleges.

Former students include women's professional player Alison Riske, an ex-Peters Township High School standout who began training under Irwin at age 7.

Today, Irwin oversees 300 boys and girls, about 60 to 80 who are United States Tennis Association junior players.

Two of her players, Kristi Riley (girls 18 singles) and Lauren Carey (girls 14 doubles), ranked first among Allegheny Mountain District competitors last year.

Irwin said she was pleasantly surprised to be honored by the section as well as the district.

Middle States spokesman Michael Gladysz said Irwin was an easy choice for the section award.

"She's a great leader in the Pittsburgh tennis community (who) has really become an integral part of that area over the years," Gladysz said. (She) is so well respected amongst her peers."

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