© Lindsay Hitte

Chip Brooks, a long-time Director of Tennis at IMG Academy, who started working with Nick Bollettieri in the mid 1970s, has passed away.

Chip Brooks, Original Bollettieri Academy Coach, Dies Aged 67

Dedicated family man and award-winning fisherman

Chip Brooks, one of Nick Bollettieri’s original coaches at IMG Academy, passed away on Thursday aged 67. With a distinctive southern twang, he worked with 10 ATP and WTA No. 1-ranked players in Bradenton, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic.

Brooks began working alongside David Brewer, a future US Open Tournament Director (2012-19), at one of Bollettieri’s summer camps in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, as a sophomore for $60 per week. He would earn his college degree in General Studies in 1976 at Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, close to the place of his birth.

Brooks and Brewer then joined Bollettieri at the Colony Beach Hotel, on Longboat Key in Sarasota, where they were part of a six-person team. For the next three years, Brooks didn’t have a day off as the academy dream became a reality, first at the DePalmer-Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978 at West Bradenton. Thereafter, a tomato field became available in 1980 and Bollettieri’s operation fast expanded to become IMG Academy.

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Barring four years as Director at the Lexington Tennis Club in Kentucky, which provided a different perspective on business management, Brooks worked as one of Bollettieri’s finest coaches for 40 years as Director Of Tennis. He always had a kind and positive word to motivate junior players.

Courier told ATPTour.com, "Chip was one of the beloved originals at Nick’s academy and had a hugely positive impact on so many, myself included. He will be dearly missed."

A USPTA Master Professional, Brooks worked with early boarder Jimmy Arias, the pioneer of the inside-out running forehand, then Agassi and Courier, assisted Reno Manne when Pete Sampras practised in Bradenton and spent a year with Becker before handing over the reins to Mike DePalmer Jr. He went on to train Marcelo Rios, Mary Pierce, Anna Kournikova, Filip Krajinovic, Jankovic, Sabine Lisicki and a number of other players. He was named the USPTA Kentucky Pro of the Year in 1988, and the USPTA Florida Pro of the Year in 1998 and 1999.

Brooks had been married to his wife, Patty, for 41 years, and they had four children, Jake, Lindsay, Jared and Lacey. He was a championship-winning fisherman and once ranked in the Top 5 in Florida. He also enjoyed hunting, held a real estate broker license since 1992 and had a home inspection business.

The funeral service will be held on Friday, 17 December in Bradenton, Florida.

Jack Alexander 'Chip' Brooks Jr., tennis coach, born 15 September 1954, died 9 December 2021

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