RTA Community Spotlight: Keisha Price, Junior Coordinator, Ebony Racquet Club
Keisha was first introduced to tennis at age three by her mother, Queen Hargrove, and her father, Johnnie Hargrove. At that time, there were no other kids that looked like her on the courts that she played on, just adults.
Tennis has now taken her life full circle. She grew up playing at Ebony Racquet Club (“ERC”), based at Biltmore Hills Park, and she is now their Junior Coordinator (which not many people realize is a volunteer position). It is also worth noting that Biltmore Hills Park has a rich history. The park was the first facility to house an all African-American tennis club, Ebony Racquet Club, in the 1970's. The ERC was the first Black tennis club that competed on a local level in Raleigh.
In her role as Ebony Racquet Club Junior Coordinator, Keisha leverages the RTA’s vast amount of resources that aid their junior players and their facility. ERC also hosts RTA Try Tennis sessions, bringing tennis to new players into both the ERC and Raleigh tennis communities.
But Keisha is much more than just ERC’s Junior Coordinator. Keisha is a beloved coach and mentor. She is very dedicated to Junior Team Tennis ("JTT"), her programs, and developing her young players into well-rounded, competitive players. Keisha, along with other ERC coaches, have led many JTT teams to state championships. She is admired and respected by everyone in the JTT program.
Keisha credits a lot of her success in coaching to others. Throughout her tennis career she was encouraged by Cy King (Raleigh Parks & Rec/USTA Retiree) and John Smith (Community Leader). They still encourage and support her to this day!
When it comes to her tennis accomplishments, Keisha is most excited about passing tennis, a family sport, on to her children. She recently watched her daughter, Nija Price, receive a tennis scholarship with pride.
Aside from passing tennis on to her children, her greatest tennis achievement was receiving the 2017 USTA North Carolina Mary Milam Lifetime Achievement Award for encouraging Ebony Racquet Club junior players to use tennis and academics as a segue to go to college. What an honor!
Keisha’s tennis philosophy is one that resonates with us all:
“Tennis transcends...it is a sport that can bridge people of all races together. We just have to open our hearts and practice being inclusive.”