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In 1995, Cecil Hollins became the only African American chair umpire to be awarded a “Gold Badge” - the highest achievement a chair umpire can receive. 


The awarding of a Gold Badge, certifies the awardee chair umpire, has demonstrated that he can officiate “any match – anywhere” - including the finals of a Grand Slam or a Davis Cup Final. 


Cecil is proud to be known as the first (and only) African American chair umpire to ever achieve the ultimate status of Gold Badge which is awarded by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), in coordination with the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour. 


As a result, Cecil officiated matches in more than 60 countries around the world, including two (2) US Open Men’s Double Finals; as well as Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties. 


(1)  Beginning in 1993, Cecil Hollins was employed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as a Gold Badge Grand Slam Chair Umpire and Tournament Referee. 


(2)   In total, Cecil officiated at high profile tennis tournaments, in over 60 countries worldwide. With millions of dollars at stake, chair umpires are required to make instantaneous rulings, under intense pressure, applying rules to unexpected factual situations. 


(3)   During his officiating career, Cecil officiated at 6 Australian Open Championships, 2 French Open Championships, 6 Wimbledon Championships and 13 US Open Championships. Cecil also officiated as a chair umpire at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; and at more than 20 Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties. 


(4)   When working as a Referee (supervisor), Cecil was responsible for every aspect of that tournament, including the supervision and assignment of officials; as well as monitoring and evaluating their work. 


(5)   Additionally, Cecil participated in the development of officiating policies, procedures, guidelines and their implementation. As part of his duties, he analyzed and prepared published written interpretations of complex rules questions and fact patterns for guidance of officiating personnel.  

Cecil has taught tennis and mentored youth in his community. As well as demonstrated the merits of tennis and its impact on the African American community. In addition, Cecil has actively coached / guided numerous aspiring Black umpires on how to become better line and chair umpires. 


Cecil became a NYS Court Officer in 1985, when there were only a handful of minorities employed there. He graduated from Pace University Law School in 1989, as one of one of three minority students in the program, and passed the NY bar exam in 1989, and has been an attorney for 33 years. In 1989, Cecil accepted a position in the NYS Queens County Criminal Court Law Department, where he was employed as a law clerk assigned to various judges.


Since 1997, Cecil has been employed as an Administrative Law Judge; the last 18 years presiding of rent regulated housing matters within New York State.


In addition, Cecil is a member of the Queens County Democratic Party, and is actively involved in political endeavors, led by U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks, aimed increasing minority representation in the judiciary and in elected offices throughout New York State.









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