We are excited to announce several updates with the USA Pickleball Ambassadors and regions. The sport of pickleball continues to be one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. The number of participants playing is approaching 3.5 million in the latest 2020 SFIA report and USA Pickleball is almost 40,000 members, up from 4,000 members 7 years ago.
New 12th USA Pickleball Region
To manage the growth and prepare for the future, a new 12th Region, the North Mid-Atlantic Region is added to the USA Pickleball regional infrastructure. The size of the Mid-Atlantic Region grew very large due to the high growth in pickleball membership and resulting Ambassador team. “When USA Pickleball formed the 10 state Mid-Atlantic Region, it was because of membership. In the first year and a half this region grew from the last in membership to within 50 members of the top region and was managing 330 Ambassadors,” said Sharon MacKenzie, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. Sharon’s “Team” approach really took hold and the growth continues. A very, big thank you to Sharon and her team from the USA Pickleball Board and Staff for her tireless effort to promote and develop the sport of pickleball and lead the way to the new North Mid-Atlantic Region.
Ambassador Team Updates
Steve Stone, The Director of Ambassadors, effective October 12, 2020. Steve is a Des Moines, IA native and multi-sport enthusiast who was introduced to Pickleball in 2010, as the Iowa Senior Games was looking to add the Sport in their offerings. He searched to learn about the game, how it is played, how it began, the rules, and much, much more. Motivated to help others learn about the game, early in 2011, Steve would apply for and receive approval as an Ambassador for the official governing body, USA Pickleball Association. The initial area was Central Iowa however he found himself spreading the word about the game everywhere he went through his travels. Steve’s persistence in growing the game would ultimately result in his being appointed a USA Pickleball District Ambassador for the State of Iowa, which would eventually lead to his appointment as an USA Pickleball Regional Director for the Middle States Region (comprised of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin).
Motivated to spread the word, to help anyone and everyone understand or learn more about the game, from ages 6 to 100, Steve has been fortunate to have been actively involved with events, tournaments and competitions that include virtually all ages. Whether competitive play or recreational, Steve often notes that his greatest joys are those having fun along the way, and indeed the smiling faces at play.
Steve is taking over from Claudia Fontana, who led the Ambassador team during the significant Regional Championships participation growth and the during the challenges of the pandemic. We thank Claudia for all of her contributions to USA Pickleball, wish her the best of luck and look forward to seeing her on the pickleball court!
Jayne Mclaughlin, The new North Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. Jayne began playing pickleball and became an Ambassador in 2016. Having been a multisport athlete in high school and the goalie on Cornell University’s first women’s lacrosse team she was thrilled to once again be playing a fun, competitive sport with a wonderful community of people. Since then, Jayne’s son, husband, two of her sisters, a brother, and their families all learned to play. Now, pickleball is an essential component of all family gatherings!
In addition to pickleball Jayne enjoys hiking, biking, cross country skiing and travel and has visited 48 states and 5 continents. Jayne is also active on the Boards of several non-profit organizations. Jayne’s professional life included over 30 years with New York State Parks where she was privileged to live in and care for New York’s most beautiful and significant natural and cultural resources. Jayne’s capstone project was as team leader for the construction of Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, a $45 million public-private partnership.
“I am honored to have been selected for the role of Regional Director of the North Mid-Atlantic Region. I look forward to getting to know the USA Pickleball Board, professional staff, Regional Directors, Ambassadors, members, and sponsors. I am confident that, working together, we can build a cohesive and vibrant team in USA Pickleball’s newest region.”
Mike Fritsch, Great Lakes Regional Director, has been involved in pickleball for over 10 years as a player and community pickleball leader. Mike helped grow Fort Wayne Pickleball to a large organization of over 670 members. He then formed the organization into a non-profit to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities. Serving as Assistant Great Lakes Regional Director and now Regional Director, Mike is intimately aware of the details, requirements and needs of successfully running and growing the Great Lakes region. He has run 4 regional tournaments as tournament director and is a true fan and growth advocate for the sport.
In his work life, Mike is a high-profile Senior Executive qualified with 35+ years of success at managing and growing companies in the technology and software industries. Recognized as a true entrepreneur and technology thought leader, he has been successful at management and innovation at all levels; highly skilled at business development, proposal writing and grant acquisition; experienced at financing projects via Public-Private-Partnerships; and expert at managing projects and customers to achieve success and profit. Mike is a very visible member/leader of many industry, civic and university organizations and is a frequent public speaker.
Greg Guse, Mid-South Regional Director, has been involved with pickleball for 14 years in a variety of roles. Greg has hosted several large tournaments, is an avid pickleball player and dedicates his time to work closely with local municipalities to grow the game. He enjoys playing locally in the Dallas area, meeting players from all backgrounds and is excited to serve the region in his role as Regional Director.
For more information on the current Ambassador team, regions and to get involved to become an ambassador, check out these useful links
- Ambassadors and Regional Directors https://usapickleball.org/get-involved/usapa-ambassadors/
- Regional map and social media & website by region https://usapickleball.org/about-us/regions/
- Become an Ambassador https://usapickleball.org/get-involved/usapa-ambassadors/ambassadors-application/
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