If you played tennis in the Bradenton, Fla. area over the past 30 years, you likely crossed paths with Brian McAllister. He was a hero to those involved in Manatee County youth sports.
To commemorate McAllister, who died of cancer last year at the far-too-young age of 47, the first annual Brian McAllister Memorial Tennis Tournament will be held this week.
It takes place May 4-7 at the United Tennis Academy and Club at El Conquistador in Bradenton, Florida. The celebration party is Thursday evening, 5:30 – 8 p.m., in the clubhouse.
If you cannot attend and wish to donate to the Panda Foundation, “Teaching Tennis, Changing Lives” in his memory, click on this link.
Player gives back as a coach
McAllister originally moved to the area to train with the legendary Nick Bollettieri at what is now IMG Academy. He never left. McAllister played on three straight Florida High School Championship teams. He then moved on to play Division I college tennis at the University of Tennessee and the University of South Florida.
After graduation, McAllister began a 19-year run as head tennis coach at Manatee High School. He coached the boys for eight years, then the girls for 11 years. McAllister also served as a line judge for the football team.
All of that was pure giving back; all the while, McAllister maintained a successful career as an insurance executive.
But then, neck cancer got the best of him. He was a presence all the way to the end as he fought what turned out to be a losing battle, and passed away Feb. 27, 2016.
Last summer, the city of Bradenton passed a motion to rename the newly renovated courts located at King Middle School in Bradenton, where Manatee High School trains. They are now called the Brian P. McAllister Tennis Courts.