Durham News: Sports

TGA youth tennis program expanding in Durham

TGA programs help kids develop their motor skills in a competitive, but fun and controlled environment.
TGA programs help kids develop their motor skills in a competitive, but fun and controlled environment.

The Bull City is about to get a new youth sports tennis program.

Former television and radio producer Stefan Gabler plans to launch the TGA of Durham County under the umbrella of TGA Premier Youth Tennis, a partner with the U.S. Tennis Association. Gabler, a certified USPTA tennis instructor, picked the TGA because of its impact on youth.

“Building my own business in the sport I am most passionate about is very exciting,” he said. “TGA provides a proven business model and teaching methods that are receiving strong recognition within communities for how it is impacting youth and families of all demographics.”

The TGA (Teach, Grow, Achieve) has 35 chapters across the country that serves over 600 schools and 40,000 youth from ages 5-13.

Gabler plans to start the program in elementary and middle schools. Students will learn to develop their motor skills in a competitive, but fun and controlled environment. He also plans to create curriculums for special needs children.

“Our emphasis in Durham is to offer TGA programs to elementary and middle schools, leaving no child behind when it comes to impacting them through our unique tennis curriculums,” he said.

For more information, visit www.playtga.com.

NCCU honors former student-athlete

Richard A. Miller played on the first N.C. College (now N.C. Central) men’s basketball team to win a CIAA Tournament in 1946. Seventy years later, Miller is honored with a campus lab named in his memory.

The Academic Support and Computer Lab has been renamed the Richard A. Miller Student Success Lab in McDougald-McLendon Arena. Miller’s bequest provided $351,000 to fund the initiative, the largest individual gift from an alumnus.

Miller played basketball under legendary coach John McLendon. He served in the U.S. Army after graduation before embarking on a 50-year teaching career in public school. He was inducted into the 1984 NCCU Athletics Hall of Fame and died March 18, 2013, at age 86.

“I am a true advocate for ensuring our rich athletics history is not only preserved, but also shared so that their legacy lives on,” Athletics Director Ingrid Wicker McCree said during the dedication. “It is important for our current student-athletes, coaches and administrators to learn, understand and be proud of the efforts and success of our former student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

Flying Eagle

Former Eagles defensive end Ryan Smith made the most of his opportunity at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. The recent graduate impressed the NFL scouts so much that he was listed among the “Top Performers” in six of his seven workout observations.

“It’s a long process, and I took full advantage of it,” said Smith, who will participate in the NCCU pro day on March 23. “All in all, it was a very humbling experience, and I was grateful for the opportunity.”

Smith (2012-15) broke the school record for solo tackles with 168 and finished sixth in career tackles with 263. He was named MEAC all-conference last season as both a defensive back and a return specialist. He graduated in December with a degree in criminal justice.

Dane Brugler, senior NFL Draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, wrote that Smith “is one of my favorite sleepers in this class. Has NFL traits worth developing.”

And speaking of football, the Eagles began spring practice last week. The team is off this week for spring break but will return to the grind Monday.

NCCU is coming off back-to-back MEAC co-championships. Last season’s 8-3 record is the most wins as a Division I-FCS program.

“We will emphasize a lot more detail and execution,” coach Jerry Mack said. “We have had successes here the last two years, but there is always room for improvement.”

The annual spring game is April 8 at 7 p.m.