Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Media Advisory: NBA Hall of Famer Leads Celebration and Local Tennis Pro Honored at Dedication of Tennis and Basketball Courts

Media Advisory from San Diego Unified School District (Please forward to sports editors/reporters as well.)


Contact: Cynthia Reed-Porter, 619-546-3378 (mobile)

WHAT:  San Diego Unified School District's Roosevelt International Baccalaureate Middle School, the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council, the Junior Seau Foundation and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton will celebrate the school's newly renovated tennis and basketball courts. And, UNBEKNOWNST to him, a local tennis pro will be honored with a ceremony naming the tennis center after him on the same day as his 89th birthday (Friday).

WHEN:  Friday, May 31, starting at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Roosevelt Middle School, 3366 Park Blvd., SD 92103
School phone: 619-293-4450 School website:
Media parking available adjacent to ceremony and tennis/basketball facility (map available)

VISUALS: Unveiling banner bearing new name of the tennis center, Roosevelt MS cheerleaders performing, students playing on tennis and basketball courts, display boards of namesake for new tennis center, participants singing Happy Birthday to namesake (accompanied by Helix Charter HS band), presentation of proclamation from board of education, Roosevelt MS student speaker, Bill Walton as master of ceremonies, and guest speakers

GUEST SPEAKERS/INTERVIEWS: Principal Arturo Cabello (welcome), Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Fame inductee and Junior Seau Foundation board member; Lilian Shallow, Roosevelt MS seventh-grader; tennis center namesake and alumnus of Roosevelt MS (see info below); Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified board trustee; Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council president; Franklin Johnson, U.S. Tennis Association past president and Roosevelt MS alumnus. (Interviews available in Spanish.)

TENNIS CENTER NAMESAKE: EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:30 A.M. MAY 31 The recently renovated tennis/basketball courts are named in honor of Ben Press, a 1939 graduate of then Roosevelt Junior High School. After leaving Roosevelt, Press went on to have a long and highly respected career in tennis earning 10 national titles from the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). As a player, Ben was a top ranking junior as well as a senior standout. His name is on the prestigious "champions list" of the 1951 La Jolla Tournament. He claimed three U.S. Tennis Assoc. (USTA) senior national doubles titles and represented the United States four times in the Gordon Cup, an international competition. Often referred to as "Mr. Tennis," Ben has been teaching tennis for 60 years (Kona Kai, Hotel Del Coronado and San Diego Hilton). He is credited for teaching San Diego's only Wimbledon champions, Maureen Connolly and Karen Hantze Susman. Other notable former students were: Brian Teacher, Marita Redondo, Kristeen Kemmer, Angelica Gavaldon, Steve Avoyer, Randy Thomas, and Alexandra Stevenson. Ben served two terms as president of both the San Diego District Tennis Association and. USPTA. Finally, he is recognized as the first San Diegan to be awarded the National Community Service Award from both the USTA and the USPTA.

TENNIS/BASKETBALL COURTS PROJECT: The renovation project included removing the former basketball and tennis structures, and replacing it with eight new basketball and tennis courts. All of the courts were converted from asphalt to a state-of-the-art hard court surface.  Metal tennis nets were replaced by conventional nets; and the basketball post and goals were upgraded to high performance levels. The total project cost was approximately $60,000, which came from a variety of foundations and private donors. The school used $10,000 of its Proposition S Site Discretionary funds for the project.

# # #

Cynthia Reed-Porter, Communications Supervisor | Communications Office | San Diego Unified School District
Office: 858-637-3607 | Mobile: 619-546-3378 | E-mail:

You are a subscriber to the news release mailing list for the San Diego Unified School District. To unsubscribe, send a message to "media@lists-sandi-net" with the word "unsubscribe" in the body of the message. For an archive of these releases, go to