2021 Gala: Honoree - Jeff Perlman
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Honoree: Jeff Perlman
Jeff Perlman may not have been born with a tennis racquet in his hand, but it was close. The Ewing JCC courts , is the place where lessons began. Teachers included Stan Dlugosz, Bill Stoner and Paul Napolitano early on. Later teachers included Bill Kurtain, John Wunder and Mickey Cook.
Making the Varsity tennis team at PDS his freshman year, Jeff played various positions in singles and doubles throughout his 4 years. His senior year, as captain, the team won the state prep title. As a bonus, his father was the assistant coach that year and attended every match. Life long friends, and still tennis buddies today, include PDS teammates Dr. John Vine and Jamie Herring.
Connecting tennis and business is a tricky matter for an amateur. You want to win, you want to improve, you want to have fun, but you don’t want the athletic activity to be for material gain. Adroitly bringing a business connection into athletic pursuits needs mentorship and there was no one better at this than Sara Jane Harris (owner, along with husband Mo, of Olden Paint and Carpet). As a Greenacres Country Club member at age 24, Jeff learned from Sara Jane how tennis and business could mix. She was not shy about working hard to beat her opponent, and at the same time convincing them that their whole house needed to be re-carpeted, again.
In singles and in mixed doubles with his wife Sharon, Jeff won many trophies at Greenacres (now Cobblestone Creek). The tournament days are gone, but Jeff continues his committed connection with tennis, playing through many injuries and against his doctor’s advice. In 2014, Jeff received his coaching license from the USPTA and teaches kids during the summer at Loveladies Tennis Club on Long Beach Island.
Jeff fondly remembers the first NJTL event 27 years ago at Hopewell Valley Tennis Club, owned by Amy Smith and Bill Kurtain. The hard courts served as the dinner location. After the meal, tables were folded up, the attendees grabbed their racquets, and a round-robin event ensued. He has supported NJTL every year since. With extra doses of mentorship, education and physical activity, kids have the opportunity through NJTL to thrive in the classroom, on the courts and beyond.
Both of his children, Jeremy and Raquel, are avid tennis players, both having played in high school and continuing to enjoy the sport today. He also appreciates his mom Bonnie and sister Toby for always rooting him on. Jeff thanks the Board, the staff and volunteers of NJTL for this honor today and also has much appreciation for their hard work and long hours that went into making tonight a smashing success.