Harris County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ appointment of former tennis star Zina Garrison to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority Board.

Garrison, a Houston native who grew up in the Sunnyside neighborhood, has been sworn in to serve a two-year term as the County Position 8 director. She replaces the Rev. Manson B. Johnson II, who served 18 years on the board. 

“I am honored to be on the board of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority,” Garrison said.  “Serving my community is a big part of my life of service.”

Commissioner Ellis said: “Zina Garrison is a living legend in the Houston sports community and beyond. She will be a great addition to the Sports Authority board. I have no doubt that she will strengthen community bonds through sports and help showcase our world-class city for future sporting events.”

The Sports Authority board of directors – six appointed by the city and six appointed by the county – includes business owners, entrepreneurs and attorneys, as well as religious and community leaders. The chairman is jointly appointed by the city and the county.

The authority provides oversight to world-class, professional sports venues and promotes the region for sports-related events that enhance economic development and bring better quality of life to residents.

Garrison, who graduated from Sterling High School, started playing tennis at the age of 10 and entered her first tournament at 12 years old. In 1981, she won both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open Junior titles and was ranked the world’s No. 1 junior player.

Since retiring from tennis, Garrison has worked as a television commentator and maintained active roles in the community and in tennis. She founded the Zina Garrison Foundation for the Homeless in 1988 and the Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis program – which supports inner-city tennis in Houston – in 1992.