Brad Harris was a gymnast until an injury sidelined him when he was 18. Instead of moving on to something else, Harris, 41, moved into coaching. It became a full-time job.
Harris started working with gymnasts at the Tampa Bay Turners in St. Petersburg in 1994 and became an owner of the gym in 2000. In that time he has coached hundreds of gymnasts, but he and his club have never had as much success as this past season.
The competitive gymnasts at Tampa Bay Turners won eight of 11 levels at the Florida state meet, a record. Because of that success, Harris was named the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Coach of the Year.
"It's really an honor,'' Harris said. "They've only had this award for five years now. It's pretty slim company.''
Harris said there are between 800 and 1,000 kids who come through the Turners gymnastics and swimming program each week. There are about 100 kids who are in the competitive program. Harris works mainly with the competitive level gymnasts.
"It's a funny award,'' Harris said. "I'm named the national coach of the year, but it takes a huge amount of other people being involved. There's the other coaches and a very dedicated group of kids. And then the parents because it is a sport that demands a lot of dedication.''
The County Golf Association held an individual tournament Aug. 18 at Belleair Country Club. The regular division gross winner was John Lisenbee, who shot 72. The regular division net winner was Doug Laseter (65). The senior division gross winner was Greg Farrey (71). The senior net winner was Bo Whitley (60). The ladies net winner was Shirley Nesbitt (70).
• The West Coast Women's Golf Association held its bimonthly event at Feather Sound on Aug. 24. Flight AA winner was Sisi Hedges, who shot 72. Flight A winner was Robin Park (84). Flight B winner was Lyla Kinsel (85), and Flight C winners were Ivette Kotke and Jenni Marshall (95).
Members of the Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg are headed to the women's 4.0 national championships Sept. 23-25 in Tucson, Ariz. The team defeated Orange/Seminole 5-0 in the USTA Florida Adult League Championships in Daytona Beach. The team is captained by Sally Marshall and includes Katie Healy, Meredith Heineman-Van Vaals, Nancy Bahls, Tammy Trace, Allyson Hoffman, Brenda Bowman, Sandy Martin, Shelly Banks, Kathy Moll, Donna Dicus, Carolyn Davis, Marijan "MJ" Krista Lindsay, Ann Worthington, Janet Matthews and Leslie Godwin.
• The St. Petersburg Tennis Center Junior Super Series was Aug. 20-22. The boys 18 singles winner was Will Showers, 16 winner was Dan Stefan, 14 winner was Bailey Showers, 12 winner was Sebastian Korda and 10 winner was Chase Martin. The girls 18 singles winner was Star Makarome, 16 winner was Vanina Iordanova, 14 winner was Juliet Zhang, 12 winner was Shachaamah Brown and 10 winner was Sandra Swiderski.
• The Royal Racquet Club of Clearwater held the summer classic (designated)/state closed tournament Aug. 20-22. The women's open singles winner was Sherry Li and the 45 singles winner was Kim Cashman. The men's 45 singles winner was Terry O'Grady and the 55 winner was Robert Graham.
The Pinellas County high school league will hold tryouts this week for the upcoming season. Any high school student interested in bowling is asked to contact his or her local alley for tryout information. There are three leagues: boys varsity, girls varsity and coed junior varsity. Each lane provides coaches. Dunedin High School practices at Dunedin Lanes, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor; Countryside practices at Countryside Lanes; Clearwater practices at AMF Clearwater; Largo and Osceola practice at Twedts Lanes; Pinellas Park practices at Liberty Lanes, Seminole; Dixie Hollins practices at Seminole Lanes, Gibbs, St. Petersburg; Northeast practices at Ten Pin Lanes; and Boca Ciega and Lakewood practice at Ten Pin Lanes. Matches begin Sept. 8.
• Greg Waddell of St. Petersburg recently set the Seminole County (Orlando) record by rolling a 300-289-279–868 series. The previous record was 864.