SoCon Tennis Referee Pat Garren Backs Chattanooga

Saturday, April 19, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

“My recommendation is for Chattanooga to host the Southern Conference Tennis Championship forever. The Champions Club is great, there are plenty of wonderful restaurants and plenty of indoor courts in case of rain.”

Pat Garren – head referee, Southern Conference Tennis Championship

Long time tennis official Pat Garren is good at multi-tasking and keeping everyone on the same page.

A hall of fame band director by profession, Garren is also one of the main faces of the Southern Conference Tennis Championship as she has been an official since 1994 and head referee since the late 1990s.

“The conference tennis tournament should be in Chattanooga forever,” said Garren who majored in clarinet at East Carolina Univ. and played basketball and softball at Bellmont (N.C.) High School.

“This city has a great tennis facility in The Champions Club which has enough courts to hold both the men’s and women’s tournaments simultaneously,” stated Garren who plays ladies doubles in the Super Seniors division in South Carolina. “Chattanooga also has plenty of indoor courts, is centrally located in terms of conference schools and numerous wonderful restaurants around the city.”

While she has made a name for herself in the college tennis world – recipient of the Pete Conklin Outstanding Officials Award from the South Carolina Tennis Assoc. in 2005 – she is a legend in the world of high school bands.

She is the founding director of the Asheville (N.C.) Community Band in the 1974 and retiring from that position in 1991. For the last 17 years the organization has raised funds to award an annual $1,000 college scholarship in her name to a high school student from western North Carolina.

Her start in band was being hired at Asheville Junior High and increased the student involvement in the marching and symphonic band from 95 students to 450 in five years.

“The principal who hired me said he wanted a football marching band of at least 100 members and I was able to do that,” said Garren who is pleased to have a former student playing in the Chicago Symphony and one in Baltimore.

Her years of hard work as band director and competition judge has been rewarded as she is one of only seven members of the Women’s Band Director’s International Hall of Fame which is located at Mars Hill (N.C.) College.

While she works tirelessly to keep all musicians on the same page and on key, her endorsement to the Southern Conference for the Scenic City to be a permanent tennis host is beautiful music to those in Chattanooga.

contact B.B. Branton at

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