The public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony honoring Lester Cowell.
An outdoor tennis court will be named after Cowell this Saturday at 10 a.m. The all-around athlete will receive Court 2 at the four-court David Dunlap Tennis Complex, located at Milner Recreation Center on Garfield Street.
“I thought if something was ever named after me, it would be an outhouse,” Cowell said with a chuckle. “I never thought something like this would ever happen to me. It’s a wonderful honour. I enjoy tennis, that’s for sure. I like to play with everyone and make a lot of friends.”
Cowell played baseball, basketball, and soccer in high school and attended UT-Martin on a soccer scholarship. He learned to play tennis in college, but only for fun. He didn’t choose tennis as a dedicated sport until he was in his late 40s or early 50s. Since then, he has played in countless tournaments in the Southeast. Most recently, he earned a bronze medal at the Tennessee Senior Olympics.
“Lester has been a big part of local tennis,” said Justin Scott, director of the McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department. “This recognition is a well-deserved honour. I am very excited for him and his family. I think this was a great idea.”
In an oversight, approval from the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen was not sought before the ceremony was announced. However, the city officials provided a last-minute rescue.
“Approvals have not been finalized yet, but the event will go ahead this weekend as planned,” said city governor Nolan Ming, who interviewed board members individually on Monday. “Given the impact Mr Cowell has had on the tennis game locally, he has unanimous support from the board, so the vote is essentially a formality.”
There will be drinks after the ceremony and the final games of the Dr Pepper tournament.