Bill O’Brien was inducted into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame during the 2023 APTA Nationals at the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois. O’Brien has been volunteering his time with the Hinsdale clubs and leagues for over 30 years, co-chairs the CPTC (5,000+ player Chicago men’s league), was an active APTA Board member twice over, and is a deep source of all things paddle.
BILL O’BRIEN ELECTED TO THE PLATFORM TENNIS HALL OF FAME
The APTA’s highest honor is bestowed only on individuals who have had the greatest achievements in the sport and/or the biggest impact on the growth and development of the game. Bill O’Brien, the 2023 inductee, contributed decades of volunteer leadership and greatly impacted the growth, development, and administration of the game at local, regional, and national levels. He continues to donate his time and expertise to the Chicago area paddle community. The induction ceremony will be held during the 2023 APTA Nationals in Chicago.
Over Three Decades of Commitment to the Sport
Bill O’Brien and his wife Betsy have resided in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale since 1985. The one constant over three decades of paddle tennis in Hinsdale is the presence and generosity of Bill O’Brien. For 32 years, Bill has offered and continues to offer free paddle lessons every week from September through March, representing a very conservative estimate of 10,000 volunteer hours to the Hinsdale community. Further, in 2021 Bill added Tuesday night lessons and drills every week in the spring and summer.
The exponential growth of paddle facilities and participation in the greater Hinsdale area is directly linked to Bill’s volunteer efforts. All the representatives who now lead Hinsdale Platform Tennis Association were introduced to paddle by Bill, as were the club representatives who currently lead paddle tennis programs at six private clubs in the area.
Hinsdale Community Impact
- - 1990: Burns Field courts donated – Bill O’Brien begins to offer free lessons to Hinsdale residents.
- - 1991: Hinsdale enters competitive teams in the Chicago/North Shore league, most players have attended Bill’s clinics and transitioned into league teams, captained by Bill (who is too advanced a player to compete on these teams).
- - 1990s: Bill O’Brien establishes the HPTA to support the growth of paddle in the Hinsdale area. Over the next three decades, the area grew over 500% in players and courts. Bill has been the common denominator behind all of the people dedicated to this growth.
- - In 2021, the Hinsdale Paddle Club hut is expanded, renovated, and dedicated as The Bill O’Brien Platform Tennis Center.
- - Bill co-chairs with Alan Graham to oversee the CPTC (Chicago Platform Tennis Charities). This is the largest platform tennis league in the country and a model for many other cities.
- - In 2016, Bill created and still manages the SW League, a subsidiary of CPTC. There are now 12 clubs, 115 teams, and 1,200 players in the SW League.
- - Bill ran for many years one of the largest paddle tournaments in the country —The Chicago Intermediate Series Tournament—raising over $20,000 in annual funding for Chicago area charities.
- - Bill is an ongoing expert resource to other clubs that are building paddle facilities and other municipalities establishing park district paddle programs.
- - Bill has served two six-year terms on the American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) Board of Directors, in 2005-2011 and 2013-2019.
- - Over that time, he has served as Interim President (2015), Vice President, (2014-18), and APTA Secretary (2008-11).
- - In 2011, Bill received the APTA Service Award.
Bill O’Brien is a role model, a tireless advocate of the game, a man with integrity, humility, and a wonderful sense of humor, and a leader with energy and foresight for quickly growing the sport of platform tennis—a most worthy recipient of the APTA’s highest honor, induction into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame.