NEWPORT – Mark L. Stenning, longtime CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, will leave his post in September 2014, but will remain on the board of directors and stay on as a consultant.
After 35 years with the organization, Stenning announced his upcoming departure to the board of directors at a recent annual meeting. He became CEO in 2000 and prior to that held a variety of positions, including tournament director, executive vice president, and chief operating officer.
Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the hall of fame and museum, called Stenning a special leader who commanded respect worldwide.
“He has brought the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum to levels that our visionary founders never could have imagined,” Clouser said in a statement. “Thanks to the dedication and commitment Mark has always shown, a bright future lies ahead for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.”
Stenning has successfully directed world-class tennis events ranging from the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships to a Davis Cup tie, Clouser said. He has developed partnerships with other leading tennis industry organizations, including Wimbledon, the French Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia, among others, and has been “a diligent steward” of the historic buildings and grounds, and the one-of-a-kind museum collection, Clouser added.
During Stenning's tenure, the 7-acre property, which was built in 1880 and hosted the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships in 1881, has been restored to its original 19th century grandeur. In 1987, the facility was named a National Historic Landmark, and the organization maintains an active role in the historic preservation community, the organization said.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum has grown from a modest facility to a multi-faceted organization that serves as the officially sanctioned worldwide Hall of Fame for the sport, and includes one of the world’s premier sports museums and research centers, an ATP World Tour tournament and year-round indoor and outdoor tennis clubs.
Stenning has also overseen the Hall of Fame enshrinement for 128 of the sport’s greatest champions and contributors.
“On behalf of the board of directors, we thank him for his countless contributions to our work and commend the many significant accomplishments he has made possible,” Clouser said. “We are pleased he will stay active and involved with the organization for years to come.”
Stenning said he is proud of the team he’s helped develop.
“I know that I am leaving the organization in good hands,” Stenning said. “I remain as committed to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and our mission in the year ahead as I was 34 years ago, and I look forward to staying involved as a consultant and at the board level for the Hall of Fame after next September.”
Other major accomplishments under Stenning’s tenure include achieving accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums - making it the first sports hall of fame to receive this top honor for the museum industry - and launching a museum program granting free admission for all kids ages 16 and under. Since the program was instituted in 2010, more than 15,000 children have visited the museum free of charge to learn about the history of the sport.
A search for his replacement will begin later this fall.
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a nonprofit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide and enshrining tennis champions with the highest honor in the sport of tennis.