By Joseph Phillips
With over 25 years of teaching and playing experience, prominent tennis pro and executive Tyrone Mason has been widely recognized for his contribution to the game through community outreach, and his impact on the youth of Chicago.
Mason established ACE (Athletes Committed to Education) in 1996. The organization maintains a year-round community-based, skilled fitness center, and academic programs for today’s youth on Chicago’s south side. The facility at 1301 E. 47th Street houses a program that seeks to create a system of innovative physical activities, services, and support for children, families, and senior citizens.
As a certified United States Registered Tennis professional, Mason has creatively molded all levels of tennis players, from ages as young as five, to the likes of touring professionals such as Katrina Adams, current president of the national governing body of tennis, the United States Tennis Association.
In addition to his position as a head coach and tennis professional, Mason has also taught over 1,000 adults and over 2,000 youth to master the game of tennis. One third of his school age students have received tennis-based scholarship/tuition funding for college.
Mason was recently nominated to participate as a committee member on the USTA’s Junior Teams/Junior Recreation Committee.
Tyrone Mason’s son, Le’Trone Mason, as a young player was a standout at Division 1 Florida A&M and was a two-time All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection for the Rattlers. He was the team’s No. 1 player in singles during his junior and senior years and the team’s No. 1 doubles player during his sophomore and senior seasons.
Le’Trone took his college playing skills into the workplace, parlaying his talent into more than 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, ranging from junior college to the Division I level. His experience was evident from the beginning, and he made an immediate impact.
A former coach of the Clayton State University’s women’s tennis team, Le’Trone led their Lakers to two NCAA Division II National Championships appearances, including a berth in the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2011.
In his first year there, Le’Trone paced Clayton State to its best season in program history. The Lakers finished 18-8 overall and advanced to the NCAA Division II “Final Four” for the first time in program history. Le’Trone Mason produced two ITA Division II All-Americans and Clayton State finished its season with the highest ever Division II national ranking – finishing seventh in the nation.
In 2012, despite being ravaged with injuries to key players, Le’Trone and the Lakers ranked in the Division II Top 15 for much of the season. They were slowed by injury yet again in 2013, but the squad battled through the adversity, advancing to the NCAA Division II Championships for the 10th time in program history. The Lakers finished the season ranked eighth in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region and among the top teams in the country.
Le’Trone arguably had his best coaching success as the women’s head coach at Broward Community College in Davie, Fla., from 2004 to 2007. His 2005 squad at Broward finished third in the nation at the NJCAA level, and his 2006 team won the NJCAA National Championship.
While at Broward, Le’Trone coach-ed seven first team NJCAA All-Americans and two second team All-Americans in singles, plus three first team doubles All-Americans and one second team selection. In addition, he coached one NJCAA “Freshman of the Year” and one NJCAA “Player of the Year.”
He was also named “Coach of the Year” for Florida Community College Association in 2005 and 2006. And named “Coach of the Tournament” in 2006 for winning the National Tournament.
In addition to his success at Broward, Le’Trone also served one season at Division I Chicago State University as the men’s and women’s teams head coach, where his Cougar women’s team won the 2009 National Independent Tennis Championship.
Le’Trone Mason earned USTA teaching certification in 2000, making the duo a dynamic tennis tandem.