One of the six managing partners at Universal Tennis Academy, Stewart Russell is originally from Northport, New York. Russell graduated from Roanoke College in Salem, Va. with a degree in Sociology.
As a USPTA Certified Level 1 Professional, who is working towards the completion of criteria to become a Master Professional next year. Students working under Stewart’s watchful eye grow tremendously both on and off the court. Stewart is a USTA National Junior Player Development coach and participates in Regional and National events hosted by the USTA.
He was the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia for 5 years and also Director of Tennis at Brookstone Country Club in Acworth, Ga., before beginning Universal Tennis Academy. He has a comprehensive and extensive background in teaching players of all ages and ability levels.
He is a member of both the Wilson Advisory Staff and the Nike Club Pro program. Stewart and his wife Penny have two children, Taylor, who played collegiate soccer at Armstrong Atlantic St. University and Justin, a local baseball standout. Taylor currently teaches elementary school in Savannah and Justin currently plays baseball at Abraham Baldwin college in Tifton, GA.
Hometown: Augusta, GA
Education: Georgia Southern
Chris attained a top 4 state, sectional, and national ranking as a junior in Georgia. He went on to earn a tennis scholarship to Georgia Southern where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. He is USPTA Certified and has been teaching for over 18 years, the last 10 in Atlanta. Chris has taught at clubs in Hilton Head Island and Charleston, SC. He was the Staff Pro at the Capital City Club 2000-2002, and became the Director of Tennis at Seven Oaks in Duluth between 2002-2006.
Chris is married to his wife Heather, and they have a daughter Avery, and 3 cats Chalupa, Henry J., and Lucy. He is a loyal and passionate fan of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta Hawks!
Cristalei Polk grew up in Powder Springs, Georgia. She played D-II college tennis at Georgia College, graduating with a BS degree in Physics. Cristalei has USPTR certification of Associate Instructor in Adult Development and has experience teaching children and adults since 2011.
Her sister also played tennis at Georgia College. In her spare time Cristalei loves to be outdoors and hanging out with friends. Cristalei enjoys teaching tennis to all ages and can be reached at email@example.com.
Eric Highsmith’s hometown is Marietta, Georgia. He received a B.S. in Economics/Finance from West Georgia University. Eric has been coaching fitness and tennis for 24 years and holds certifications in 10U, Adult Development and Advanced Doubles Training. He enjoys working with Juniors ages 3-18 and Adults (Doubles). In his free time, Eric is active in his church and neighborhood. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hill Marks hails from Chicago, Illinois. He attended The College of DuPage and his education from Eastern Illinois University is still in progress. Hill has coached the following: tennis (20 years), squash (11 years), fitness/golf/pickleball (4 years) and racquetball (5 years).
Hill enjoys games, toastmasters, reading and civic groups. He can be reached at email@example.com. He enjoys working with all ages-adults because there are more serious and children because you can see them grow in the Game.
Ryan Ferguson enters his first year with UTA as teaching professional and a part of UTA Teamworks Sales (Nike Team Sales). Ryan enjoys working with players of all levels.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ryan was a four year varsity athlete at CBC High School, lettering in Soccer and Tennis. He attended Michigan State University and Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where he was a captain, all-conference and four-year starter for the men's soccer teams. Prior to coming to UTA, Ryan played for the St. Louis Steamers (professional indoor soccer league) and spent several years as a sales professional.
Ryan is married to Kaitlin Ferguson. They have two young boys, Dylan, and Ryder and live in Woodstock , Georgia. In his spare time Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife & children, friends, playing golf, and following his beloved St. Louis Cardinals and Blues.
Tyler grew up in Kennesaw and began playing tennis at the age of 11. He is now a 24 year old with 13 years of tennis experience. Tyler was a JR academy student with extensive tournament play throughout his teen years. He began JR coaching at 17 and has now been with Cobb County for 6 years as a contract tennis professional.
Tyler graduated from KSU with honors and a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He holds USPTR-adult level 1 certification and Basic Life Support from the American Heart Association. Tyler loves tennis and is also very enthusiastic about the outdoors-biking, hiking and fishing. You can find Tyler at Lost Mountain Tennis Center and his email contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org. He coaches all ages but has a strong passion for working with youth tennis players.