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Bill and Nancy Flynn Family

By Terry Nielsen

In 1997, the SD Tennis Achievement Award was started by the SD Tennis Hall of Fame committee partly to honor families that made a significant difference in tennis in their community.  The Bill and Nancy Flynn family of Brookings fits perfectly into this category for 2022 recognition.

In Brookings, once the Johnsons, Holwerdas and Hatch families moved on, it was the Flynn family to the rescue, ensuring the rich tennis legacy of Brookings would continue to this day.

The entire family, starting with Bill and Nancy, along with children Kayla, Susan, Will (BJ) and Mike have all played a part in keeping tennis alive in Brookings, each in their own way.

Today, Bill carries the biggest torch as president for many years of the Brookings Tennis Association, and tournament director for the past 12 years of the Brookings Open (along with running men’s leagues).

Growing  up in Minnesota, Bill learned the game on the courts of Redwood Falls, the same concrete courts they used for roller skating and skate boarding! He said from then on, it was lots of recreational tennis until his mid 30’s.  “Sandy Lindersmith got me playing  in Brookings,” said Bill, “and Sherwood Hatch sold me my first real racquet to get me started again.”“  

“I could tell that Sherwood had a firm belief that good players come from families that actually play the sport.  To that end, my kids played high school tennis, bringing their various skills to the game.”

“When the USTA required the Brookings tournament to be online, daughter Kayla took over helping me run it the last 15 years or so,” said Bill.  No surprise, Nancy works in the background at the sites, cleaning and making the grounds look nice.

Bill considers himself a “net crasher” and has had lots of fun and success playing the SD circuit of tournaments. 

Bill is a graduate of St John’s University in MN and retired after a 37-year career as an engineer with 3M in Brookings.  Nancy is a Bemidji State (MN) graduate.

Kayla (40) lives in Minneapolis and works for Target Corp, just recently, but for many years worked for Lifetime, running the desk and scheduling UTR tournaments.

Susan (37) lives in north Minneapolis (Andover) and is an ICU nurse, as well as a tri-athlete and mother of daughters Collin (8) and Allison (5). 

Will (BJ) is 34 and spent several years in Florida where he started teaching and coaching tennis professionally.  Now he  teaches tennis  for Lifetime in Minneapolis, as well as refinishes hardwood floors for older homes.

Mike (29) lives in Whitefish, Montana, works in property management, but loves his spare time biking, hiking, hunting and skiing all over the mountains of west Glacier.

For many years, with something special donated by Volin’s Raquet in Sioux Falls, the Brookings tournament has held raffles for tennis equipment.  The Brookings Tennis Association would match the proceeds and donate it to the betterment of the SD Tennis Hall of Fame, which used it for Love Serving Tennis grants.

Billl and Nancy love to travel and Bill has played tennis in Ireland, Nambia nd now Florida, where they enjoy the winters.  To no surprise, this year Bill even started a junior tournament at their housing development in Florida!