Tennis tournament benefiting Bill Autry scholarship taking place Saturday

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – A tennis tournament for a special cause will take place this weekend in the Queen City.

The first “Bill Autry Memorial Scholarship Tennis Tournament” will be held Saturday at the Northeast Park tennis courts in Meridian. The format of the tournament is mystery doubles, which means participants will be randomly paired together.

All proceeds from the tournament will be put towards the Bill Autry Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. The scholarship was established in honor of former MCC tennis player and longtime area tennis coach Bill Autry, who passed away from a heart attack in April 2020.

“This is the first time we are having this tournament but hopefully we can keep this going every year,” Northeast Park tennis pro Pete Mazella said. “It’s an honor to do this. Bill touched so many lives out there on the tennis court and this is a way we can keep his memory alive.”

Autry served as tennis coach at Lamar School for more than a decade, leading the girls team to a state championship in spring 2019. He was also the tennis pro at Northeast Park where he taught numerous players private lessons throughout the years.

Prior to the tournament, Mazella and others will hold a special dedication ceremony to name the tennis courts at Northeast Park after Autry.

“Every day I hear something good about Bill,” Mazella said. “He taught generations like parents and their kids who all have stories about him. He was also a mentor to me when I first got into teaching.”

Mazella encourages people of all ages and skills to come out and participate in Saturday’s tournament or even drop by and donate.

“Anybody with any skill level should come out and play,” Mazella said. “Even folks that were connected to Bill in ways other than tennis can come hangout and donate.”

Registration for the tournament is set to begin at 9 am. For more information, call Pete Mazella at 601-720-5574 or Jenny Bryan at 601-917-4994.

Copyright 2021 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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