Class of 2014
Contributions to Tennis
Jane Brown Grimes, of New York, N.Y., has selflessly dedicated her life to the growth of tennis around the world for more than 35 years. In particular, Brown Grimes has had a major impact on three leading industry organizations, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Women's Tennis Association, and the United States Tennis Association, having held leadership roles with all three. She has also been highly active with the International Tennis Federation, having served on the Junior Competitions Committee and the Rules of Tennis Committee. She is currently an active member of the Fed Cup Committee, and has served since 2004. From 2005 - 2008, Brown Grimes served on the Grand Slam Board, on behalf of the USTA.
A native New Yorker, Brown Grimes's tennis career has been centered around the city for more than four decades, having taken on roles ranging from generating sponsorship for women's tennis to leading one of the sport's most important events - the US Open. After more than four decades working in the tennis industry, Brown Grimes continues to remain active in the business side of the sport, through her roles on the International Tennis Hall of Fame Board, ITF Committees, and youth tennis programs. Most recently, Brown Grimes earned an M.B.A. from City University of New York - Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business.
In the 1970s, Brown Grimes was recruited by tennis greats Sarah Palfrey Danzig, Bill Talbert, and Joseph F. Cullman 3rd to take a leadership role at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She held the role of Tournament Director for ATP and WTA events (1977-1981), Executive Director (1981-1986), and President and Chief Executive Officer (1991-2000). She is currently President Emerita and actively serves on the Executive Committee. During her tenure, Brown Grimes helped build a solid foundation for the organization and oversaw a period of tremendous growth. Under Brown Grimes's leadership, the organization amassed a significant collection of important tennis memorabilia integral to preserving the sport's history, including major trophies, apparel, and gear from the greatest champions, videos, films, books, and more, all of which now reside in the extensive museum and Information Research Center. Brown Grimes was also responsible for oversight of a major restoration of the historic buildings and grounds, which were the site of the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships in 1881. The facility was restored to its original architectural splendor and has been named a National Historic Landmark.
In 1986, Brown Grimes was appointed Managing Director of the Women's Professional Tennis Council, now known as the WTA Tour Board. She presided over a pivotal time in the sport, effectively dealing with contradictory interests of players, tournaments, ITF, and the sponsor, Philip Morris. During Brown Grimes's tenure, she successfully negotiated the move away from the Virginia Slims tobacco sponsorship to General Foods, the non-tobacco division of Philip Morris. Brown Grimes was also responsible for guiding the age eligibility rule into effect and for generating unprecedented increases in prize money.
From January 2007 - December 2008, Brown Grimes served as Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA, following terms as Secretary, Treasurer, and First Vice President. During her term, the United States won the 2007 Davis Cup, and unprecedented growth of the US Open took place with numerous innovations and records in both in revenue and in fan attendance. Nationwide membership in the USTA exceeded 700,000 under her leadership. Brown Grimes took on several major initiatives during her term that have continued to be central to the organization's mission and programs. She helped launch USTA QuickStart Tennis, which was aimed at engaging kids ages 10 and under in the sport, an age group that has since seen significant growth. She also lead the completion of the multi-use Indoor Training Center at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, a state-of-the-art facility that has gone on to be a vital component of the facility. Brown Grimes was also instrumental in the USTA's purchase of the Cincinnati Masters, now one of the nation's premier tournaments.
In addition to her executive roles, Brown Grimes has utilized her love of the sport for important community works. She has served on the Board of Directors of USTA Serves, and she has been the longtime Chairman of the Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association, which is an inner-city, grassroots tennis program located in Wilmington, Del.