Claude Okin, founder and CEO of SPORTIME, will serve as the coach of the NY Sportimes for the 2013 season, it was announced today. Okin, who has been an active force in the Sportimes’ success as the owner of the Mylan World TeamTennis squad since the 2003 WTT season, will take on the coaching duties for the first time. The Sportimes play their home matches at SEFCU Arena in Albany and at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island in Manhattan.
Claude purchased his first tennis club in 1981 at the age of 19, and founded SPORTIME in 1994. Okin played collegiately at Vassar College and at New York University and has coached hundreds of players at all levels of the game. In his role as CEO, he provides vision and leadership for all SPORTIME corporate directives, supervising SPORTIME’s Executive Management Team and managing relationships with SPORTIME’s Partners and funding sources.
During his run as the owner of the Sportimes the team has claimed one Mylan WTT Championship (2005) and one other Eastern Conference Championship (2010). The Sportimes advanced to the Mylan WTT playoffs last year with a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
“I am excited about the team we have put together for this year. I am looking forward to leading the Sportimes back to the playoffs and to a shot at the Championship,” said Okin, a familiar sight on the Sportimes bench each season. “With our captain Johnny Mac inspiring us, I think our 2013 team should be a great team to watch and to coach. This is a veteran team including long time Sportime players Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten on the men’s side and current top-10 doubles team Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke for our women. All of these folks know how to play and win in the TeamTennis format and I am looking forward to supporting them in my first season as coach.”
The Sportimes open the home schedule on July 9 vs. Springfield (featuring Andy Roddick) at SEFCU Arena in Albany, N.Y. New York will play four other matches in Albany, on July 12, 15 (featuring Sloane Stephens for Philadelphia), 16 and 18 (featuring McEnroe vs. Orange County) and two at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City (July 22 vs. Texas, 23 vs. Washington). McEnroe will be playing at Randall’s Island on July 22, and both matches at Randall’s Island will raise funds for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a charitable foundation established by McEnroe and Sportime to raise money to advance youth tennis in the NY Metropolitan area. Billie Jean King will also be on site to support the charity and as part of a year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the “Battle of the Sexes” match between King and Riggs, which took place on September 20, 1973, in Houston.
Conference championships are scheduled for Thursday, July 25, at the home court of the higher of the top two seeds in each conference, and the season concludes with the Mylan WTT Finals presented by GEICO, on Sunday, July 28, at the site of the Eastern Conference champions.