The Winston-Salem Open presented the Lash Southern Awards on Sunday, August 18 as part of opening weekend festivities. This year’s Lash Southern Awards were given to Bill Hayes and Tom Peatross.
The Lash Southern Awards are presented annually in honor of David Lash and Mildred Southern, two sports and tennis pioneers from Winston-Salem who devoted much of their professional and personal lives to tennis and those who enjoying playing it.
Lash began his 32-year coaching career in 1941 in Caswell County and later coached a combination of tennis, basketball and football at Winston-Salem’s Carver High School, Atkins High School and East Forsyth High School. He was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997.
Southern became the driving force behind tennis in Winston-Salem in the 1960s, including the creation of the Young Folks Tennis Program, widely respected as one of the leading grassroots tennis programs in America. She was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1982.
"When our tournament began three years ago, the board of directors of Winston-Salem Tennis wanted to pay tribute to the heritage, community service and good sportsmanship of David Lash and Mildred Southern by presenting two Lash Southern Awards each August as part of the Winston-Salem Open," Winston-Salem Open tournament director Bill Oakes said. "The objective of the Lash Southern Awards is to recognize individuals who foster a love of tennis or sports and support general community-based initiatives in the Piedmont Triad."
To qualify for the Lash Southern Award, candidates must have a strong track record of community volunteer leadership and exhibit a wide range of personal, volunteer and/or professional characteristics that are supportive of diversity and inclusion within the community. Award recipients also must have demonstrated the use of their community leadership roles to drive a love of tennis, sports and/or general community-based initiatives.
Background on Bill Hayes
Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics William "Bill" Hayes is a pioneer and trendsetter in the world of athletics and far beyond. In the early 70’s he integrated the coaching ranks of the ACC as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University, and his journey to help others began to spread its roots far beyond Winston-Salem.
Hayes has worked in a number of athletic departments including, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and Florida A&M. When he finally hung up his coaching whistle after 27 seasons on the sidelines, he was the coach with the most wins in the history of North Carolina.
Since his return to Winston-Salem State University, his influence has help guide the Rams to fourteen CIAA championships, and the football team to a National Championship game appearance in 2012.
Hayes has been inducted into four halls of fame, including the North Carolina Central University Alex M. Rivera Athletic Hall of Fame, the Winston-Salem State University Clarence E. "Big House" Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame, the North Carolina A&T State University Sports Hall of Fame and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association John B. McLendon, Jr. Hall of Fame.
He is a true fundraising visionary, but some of his greatest work has come with his passion to help others. Hayes is a member of the Southern Region Boy Scouts executive board, and his exemplary efforts earned him the Boy Scouts’ highest local honor, the Silver Beaver Award. Following his Silver Beaver Award, Hayes earned the Silver Antelope Award in May of 2001, the highest regional award that can be bestowed upon a Boy Scout volunteer.
He is married to the former Carolyn Pratt of Durham, NC, and they have a son, William, Jr., and a daughter, Sherri Walker.
Background on Tom Peatross
Tom Peatross has volunteered for virtually every tennis tournament that has been held in Winston-Salem in recent decades. Tom’s involvement with tournament tennis began in 1970 when he volunteered for the NC Tar Heel Qualifier. Gary Avram and John Peddycord co-chaired the event at that time. In 1971 Tom took over as chairman of the Tar Heel Qualifier and has continued for the last 38 years.
From 1979 to 1981 and again from 1985 to 1987, Peatross was chairman of the USTA Boys twelve Clay Court National Championships in Winston-Salem. Many future stars played the event, including Malvai Washington, Patrick McEnroe, the Williams sisters, prior to the USTA ceased the series.
Peatross was heavily involved in running the "Edgar B." Pro Invitational (Edgar Broyhill), which was held at Tanglewood Park. This was a hugely successful professional that also drew many "big name" tennis players. Peatross later assisted with The Flow Motors Invitational on the campus of Wake Forest University, again holding a pivotal role with the event for several years. Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, Ginepri, and many more big name pros competed in The Flow Motors Invitational.
Peatross has been a guiding force in Winston-Salem Tennis, Inc. for nearly four decades, including serving as the organization’s treasurer. He also has volunteered with the Young Folks program, both serving as treasurer and as tournament director of many Young Folks events.
In addition to his local work, Peatross served as the treasurer of the North Carolina Tennis Association, a Board member and a member of the NCTA Management Committee for 15 years. He began his service in 1991 and continued until the end of 2005. He saw the NCTA budget expand from around $100,000 to more than a million when he left.
He also served on the NCTF/NCTA Strategic Planning Committee from 2000-2005 and was chair of the Budget Review Committee 2004-2005. Peatross and his wife Sue were awarded the Senior Tennis Council Award in 1994. He was awarded the 2002 NCTA President’s Award and the 2003 USTA League Volunteer Service Award.