ABOVE: Tennis Legend Zina Garrison
The Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved legendary tennis player and native Houstonian Zina Garrison to be appointed to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority Board at their recent meeting.
Garrison, a Houston native who grew up in the Sunnyside neighborhood, was sworn in to serve a two-year term as the County Position 8 director. She replaces the Rev. Manson B. Johnson II, pastor of Holman Street Baptist Church, who served on the board for 18 years.
“I am honored to be on the board of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority,” said Garrison. “Serving my community is a big part of my life of service.”
Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis nominated the former tennis star to the board and was thrilled with the unanimous approval by his colleagues.
“Zina Garrison is a living legend in the Houston sports community and beyond,” said Commissioner Ellis. “She will be a great addition to the Sports Authority board. I have no doubt that she will strengthen community bonds through sports and help showcase our world-class city for future sporting events.”
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority has a total of 12 members of the board of directors – six appointed by the city and six appointed by the county. These board members include business owners, entrepreneurs, attorneys, civic leaders, as well as religious and community leaders. The board chairman is jointly appointed by the City of Houston and Harris County.
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority provides oversight to world-class, professional sports venues and promotes the region for sports-related events that enhance economic development and bring better quality of life to residents.
Garrison, who graduated from Sterling High School, started playing tennis at the age of 10 and entered her first tournament at 12 years old. She is widely known for her tremendous success as a tennis player, having won three grand slam doubles titles and an Olympic gold medal. In 1981, she won both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open Junior titles and was ranked the world’s No. 1 junior player.
But just as, if not more important than what she has accomplished on the world stage of athletics, is her philanthropy work right in the city of Houston.
Since retiring from tennis, Garrison has worked as a television commentator and maintained active roles in the community and in tennis. She founded the Zina Garrison Foundation for the Homeless in 1988 and the Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis program – which supports inner-city tennis in Houston – in 1992.