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Chattanooga Rotary: Mary Cook - The First Lady of Tennis

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Chattanooga Rotary Tennis: Mary Cook - The First Lady of Chattanooga Tennis

The Lord in heaven is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent

In laymen’s terms – all powerful, all-knowing and everywhere at once.

Signal Mountain resident and tennis tourney worker extraordinaire Mary Cook is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but many folks in Chattanooga area tennis circles feel she is close to being omnipresent.

A wife, mother and City High and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grad from the mid-1960s, Cook is the first lady of organizing, court assigning, bracket upkeep, welcoming players and more.  

And all with her big, contagious smile along with a sincere “how are you and great to see you again.”

Girls Prep School tennis coach Sue Bartlett said, “I think the best things about Mary working the Rotary tournament desk are 1) she cares about the players and tries to get to know them 2) from a coaches’ point of view she tries to keep our players on courts somewhat close together so it is easier to coach.”

While she is in her eighth year of working this weekend’s Rotary Tennis Tourney, she also can be found helping the TVOC in June and The City Championship in July as well as a handful of junior events scattered throughout the calendar year.

If Cook is not at the tournament desk, it’s like a tennis tourney without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters, a Super Bowl without Tom Brady and Olympic downhill skiing without Lindsey Vonn.

“Mary is one of the best tournament directors that I have ever been associated with,” said Chattanooga Rotary co-director Jack Webb.

“She is incredibly dedicated to making the ‘tennis tournament experience’ positive for all of the players & coaches, and she is always very well organized & prepared. Mary is a great ‘team player’ in terms of her willingness to do whatever is necessary to run a good tournament, and she always has a great attitude about getting it done.”

A tournament without the friendly and caring Cook is comparable to a seminary course on preaching without researching the life of the late Rev. Billy Graham or studying the finer points of ceiling painting without following the plans of Michelangelo.

Knox Webb coach Jimmy Pitkanen said, “Mary has an amazing gift. Her gift of hospitality is nothing short of heaven sent. I have never seen a person who is able to make kids of any age or ability feel like they were the most important person going on the court. Then win or lose she has the most natural gracious way of saying kind and encouraging words. It always makes the weekend of Rotary special when my kids encounter Mary. She is a wonderful server to our kids.”

contact B.B. Branton at [email protected]

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