Build it and they will come. A profane statement to say the least, because anyone in any business knows that isn’t the way it works - not even close. Locally the sport of tennis has taken decades to grow into a viable entity and it’s been one small step after another.
Looking back it began in the middle 1930’s with the Armory courts being built, then a few at the old Hassayampa Country Club, Iron Springs, later at the new Prescott High School, Yavapai College, the Prescott Racquet Club, many subdivisions, and more recently at Embry-Riddle. Some of these facilities have been around long enough to have been rebuilt, such as the high school and Yavapai courts.
All of this happened because a group of people decided that all the work needed to create a fun atmosphere, raise money and find sites for the sport is worth the cause.
Tracing back everyone who made things happen from the 1930’s to the 1970’s in regards to tennis isn’t easily accessed and not the purpose of this column, but I sure would like to know and thank each of them since it’s allowed me personally to make a living in this area.
Many locals have had the pleasure of knowing A.C. Williams, Jim McClasland and current Prescott Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes. All have continued to help keep tennis vibrant in the City of Prescott to one degree or other. Certainly at the Armory courts, and money spent keeping up and programing tennis classes as well at Prescott, a shared facility over the years.
The athletic directors at Prescott over the years and tennis coaches have to be credited with helping to manage their facility and program the teams there such as the one and only Wayne Howell, Bill White, Mark Goligoski and current athletic director Missy Townsend. No doubt the school boards, superintendents and principals also need to be acknowledged. Tennis coaches in the past 30 years, Dan Marioni, Rick Bothell, Esther Brown, Sterling Fetty, Kelly Shanahorn and many assistants have done a fantastic job with hundreds of kids getting to learn the game and compete at a high level of play, winning many regional championships and even some state titles.
People who come to mind easily over the years who have helped promote the game of tennis with their volunteerism are Mary Widen, Barbara Polk, Myron Snow, John Sears, Brad Newman, Stan Preston, Dee Navarro, Edna Moglewer, Russ and Gail Wagner, Jenny Cobb, David Rainey, Orlo Jantz, Lisa Cook, Dawn Teal, Bob and JoAnn Hannay, Robin Fox, Sue Knaup, Don Langford, Karen Spears, Clint Ewell, Scott Farnsworth and Brad Clifford, Liz and Cheryl Murrieta, Barbara Brisano, Jan Fischer, Natalie Fisher, Susan Korte, Nancy Seaman, George Reynolds, Dave Justice, Ron Campbell, Fay Matsumoto, and so many more.
The bottom line is a big thank you to all of the people who in the past and present worked so hard to create a platform for this special lifetime game of tennis to enjoy, it’s made a positive impact in all who’ve ventured in that direction.
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.