PTM interviews past APTA President John Horine

John Horine, APTA President 1998-2004
John Horine, APTA President 1998-2004

John Horine

Age: 48
Family: Wife: Paige; Daughters: Devon, Amelia
Residence: Baltimore, MD
APTA President: 1998-2004

John Horine was the President of the American Platform Tennis Association from 1998 through 2004. His presidency will always be associated with improving communications between the APTA Board and its Members

During his tenure, John was responsible for contracting with Dollard Publishing to bring the APTA members Platform Tennis Magazine in 1999. He also was instrumental in getting the Board of Directors to create an official website The site, has gone through a few revisions over the past few years, and has evolved to be a great source for current and archived news and information.

We sat down with John Horine to catch up on his thoughts on the new directions taken by the APTA.

Can you tell our readers what you have been doing on and off the court since your term as APTA President expired in 2004?

“Off the courts, I’ve been coaching my older daughter Devon’s soccer team. I’ve immersed myself in my daughters’ activities. I’d been running the business, I’d always had — a retirement home — and I started a home-care business. On the court, I’m still playing some tournaments and running the Maryland State Men’s Division, as I have for the past 22 years.”

You appointed the last APTA president, Mark Fischl, and his legacy will certainly involve his initiatives to grow the game in the south through clinics, exhibitions and grant funding. Do you, or any other past presidents, consult with current board members or the APTA president about new initiatives?

“I talked with Mark for the first six months, until the season got started. Once the season got started in October and November, he was off and running. He knew what he wanted to do. Past presidents don’t get together formally It would be great if we did. It would keep some history in the game. History is important. Personally, I look to Bob Brown to keep history in the game, and I don’t want to forget the past. That’s why I pushed for a bricks and mortar hall of fame ”

How have you seen the role of the APTA change over the past 15 years and what directions would you like to see the APTA take moving forward?

“Not having been involved in the last five years, I know they’ve done a lot of promotion and building of the game in the south and other areas, which is great. In the last 15 years, we worked with the magazine, and we did a lot of things with the professional teaching association, which brought around qualified umpires. The website took off, and the office has moved from the New York/New Jersey area to Pittsburgh. That’s great If I could improve one thing, I’d like to see more done to gain national sponsorship. I tried to take advantage of the fact that Wilson and John Embree were active in the sport, and to use their names to build credibility and get sponsorship in other markets. I’d like to see the APTA somehow use its clout to help tournaments secure sponsors in any way. National type sponsors. Marsh was there for a little bit. But I also understand that that’s almost a full time job in itself to go after these people. Having the APTA’s assistance [for smaller tournaments] should come down from the top, and I’d like to see
the APTA secure sponsorship money for national and local tournaments ”

Every five years, the APTA elects a new President. Other Board Members can rotate in and out, serving up to two three-year terms. With the current structure of Directors coming and going so often, do you see this as an opportunity for equal representation across the regions or as not enough time for a Board to unite to work together?

“When it was instituted, I was president, and we talked about [term length]. Some decisions were made after I went off the board. It was difficult, because there was no succession plan for the presidency. I loved it, but after six years, I had to step back and there was no plan. Having members on the board, the first year, you’re sitting there and taking it all in. It doesn’t give whoever’s being president much time with getting a grip with what’s going on and implementing what they want to do. Having said that, it makes regions shuffle the deck and get some new ideas in there. I think there needs to be time. On a board that meets two or three times a year, it’s hard to get things done on a national level in just a couple of years ”

What qualities make for a successful APTA Board of Directors?
“Activity in the game and knowing the players on the local level. Know your own region and parts of the region, not just its nationally ranked players and so forth. The thoughts of the guys that play twice a week and the guys who play in the club mean as much as the nationally ranked players . I want to hear what they have to say. Be in touch
with the local, not just the tournament players ”

The new APTA president, Tim McAvoy is a friend of yours from your region, Region III. He is well-liked in the region, as well as all across the APTA men’s tournament circuit. As decisions are made, people develop strong opinions about new policies and those who make them. What advice do you have for the Tim?
“I guess it depends on what he’s proposing. My advice to him would be to just stand behind anything you implement. Be sure of the decisions you’re making and don’t take any flack because there will always be people who don’t agree Tim’s a strong guy People may be critical, but he’s very diplomatic. I’ve known him for 25 years, and seen him in lots of situations and he’s very sharp. He’ll be fine”

Do you have any regrets from your term as President or wish that you could have done something more?
“I think I was very fortunate in having a a lot of things that were controversial But the Board was supportive, so we got a lot of things done. I don’t look back and say, ‘Gosh, I wish we could have done this’.I had an agenda, got it done, and turned it over to someone new who could put their own touches on it ”

Source: Platform Tennis Magazine, Vol. 11, Issue 3, January, 2010