Mel Phillips, Jr., a local tennis teaching pro, founded West Suburban Tennis Patrons (WSTP) as a summer "grassroots" tennis program for youth in 1990. He assembled a qualified staff, many of whom were residents of the main communities the program served (Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood, and Melrose Park):
Original Executive Board
- Kenneth M. Taylor, a Northwestern University graduate and local business leader, served as the first Vice President.
- Cynthia Richardson (Broughton), who was a Dean of Students for Proviso Township High Schools, volunteered as the first Secretary.
- Lamonte Jones, who worked for Household Finance Corporation, became the first Treasurer.
Original Court Staff
- Jim Pecilunas, a teacher at Proviso East High School and the varsity tennis team coach, came on board as the summer program
- Dr. Joyce Perry, executive assistant for the summer program, taught at Melrose Park Elementary School.
- Keith Scott volunteered as a conditioning trainer, providing his expertise as a USPTA Certified Teaching Pro and former National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) participant.
- Local Attorney Donald Montgomery volunteered his services and secured our IRS 501 (c)(3) status.
- Maywood native and NBA All-Star Glenn "Doc" Rivers visited the program. He donated much needed equipment and financial support.
In its first summer of existence, the WSTP performed the duties of an umbrella and primary supporter of the newly formed USTA-National Junior Tennis League's West Suburban Chicago Chapter. WSTP's founder Mel Phillips and Jim Pecilunas shared responsiblities as co-directors of our first grassroots tennis program held a Proviso East High School in Maywood, Ill. From leads obtained by local P.E. teachers, they went door-to-door to register participants and meet with their parents. The summer program lived up to its motto "Off the streets and onto the courts!" by teaching tennis to 101 registrants. Instructors were Ron Harper, Brian Howard, Joyce Perry, Dennis Kozelsky, and Joyce Baker. Tamon Green, Mike Lim, and Akeem Shittu led student groups. The program was held every Monday through Thursday from 9am to noon. Participants Akeem Shittu (Maywood, Ill.) who attended the University of Illinois at Champaign and Brian Howard (St. Charles, Ill.) who attended Pfeiffer College in North Carolina received $500 and $250 scholarships. Also, over 70 students competed in the NJTL Midwest Regional Rally in Effingham, Ill.
- Due to the input and involvement of Pete Kierulf, Sonny Kierulf, and Juliana Triana, enrollment increased to 174 students and the program expanded to afternoons within 2 years.
- Mel accompanied USTA Clinician Dianne McKonen to several assemblies in local elementary schools.
- Instituted free bus service for the indoor program.
- Celebrated 15th anniversary at Oak Park Tennis Center.
- Began publishing WSTP newsletter in 2006.
- Launched WSTP web site in 2008.