Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
Booker T. Washington
Mr. Bernard Aldrich Sewell established the Selma-Montgomery-Tuskegee Tennis Foundation in December of 1996. Born in Selma, Alabama, Mr. Sewell experienced disenfranchisement because of societal circumstances. He attended segregated schools in Selma for years until the schools were finally integrated during his ninth grade year. At the beginning of his tenth grade year, he was transferred to Selma High School (formerly Albert G. Parrish High School, an institution for Whites only). Selma High School, unlike his previous school, had four tennis courts on campus. During the beginning of Mr. Sewell’s eleventh grade year, he tried tennis because of a challenge from a neighborhood friend. Throughout his tenure in high school, he was on the court day and night. Mr. Sewell had discovered a new passion that has lasted a span of forty years.
Mr. Sewell attended Alabama State University (ASU) and became a member of the University’s men’s tennis team as a walk-on in 1974. After working hard and playing successfully throughout college, in 1979 he passed the on-court and written test to become a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association. Mr. Sewell’s background includes the following accomplishments:
- Alabama State University, B. S. , Major: Business Administration; Minor: English, 1978
- United States Professional Tennis Association; Certification 1979
- Alabama State University, Master’s Degree; English Language Arts, 2012
- Alabama State University, Writing professor, 2012-present
- Created SMT Writing Program for at-risk children, 2014
- Head Tennis Counselor at the prestigious Camp Winnebago in Maine;
- Associate Tennis Professional at the world-renowned Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (now the IMG Academies) in Bradenton, Florida;
- Associate Tennis Professional at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort;
- Director of Tennis for the Bell Road and Southeast YMCA’s in Montgomery, Alabama.
- Established tennis programs in Selma and Union Springs, Alabama School Systems;
- Featured speaker at U. S. Professional Tennis Association National and International conference on tennis;
- Served as the Head Tennis Coach at Alabama State University in January of 1997 – May of 2011.
- Director of The Olean Underwood Tennis Center 2009-2011
During his tenure at Alabama State University, the women’s tennis team won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship in 1999, finished second in 2000, and third in 2001. The men and women teams were consistently one of the top three teams in their division to qualify for conference playoffs during each of the fourteen years of his tenure at the University.
As a result of Mr. Sewell’s personal experience, he extends tennis services to others with the intent to help make them better people and become diverse in their thinking.