Bob Reed -- USPTA Member of the Year
Bob Reed of Eugene, Ore., was enjoying a comfortable career as tennis director of the Eugene Family YMCA about a year and a half ago when he was inspired by the movie “The Pianist” to make changes in his lifestyle and professional direction. The social studies teacher considered returning to the classroom, but opted instead to refocus his energy on the hands-on work that he believes is the foundation of community tennis programming.
Since that time, the 49-year-old Reed has worked as an independent contractor to implement tennis programs at eight park sites in Lane County, five of which he directs himself. He also helps run the junior program at the Willow Creek Tennis & Sports Center in Eugene, coaches the Springfield High School boys’ tennis team, offers free weekly clinics at an alternative high school, runs a Saturday evening family lesson program, and oversees low-fee tournaments four times a year, proceeds from which fund tennis program scholarships and purchase equipment for those who couldn’t otherwise afford to play. And for his selfless dedication to the sport, Reed is RSI’s USPTA Member of the Year.
“Bob is the pied piper of community tennis not only here in Eugene, but in the whole Pacific Northwest,” says Tom Greider, a fellow USPTA pro. Reed recently was honored with USPTA Star award.
“I have a pretty conservative lifestyle so I can make it work,” Reed says of his seven-day-a-week devotion to empowering young people with self-esteem and life skills through affordable — or free — tennis programs. “Every time I reach a child, I succeed big time.”
Bob Reed’s tips for success
- To stimulate participation in parks programs, Reed slashed prices, lowered the minimum age to 4, and offered multiple classes.
- To teach pee-wee classes, recruit high-schoolers in exchange for free participation in the junior/adult class.
- With the help of volunteers, Reed provided eight weeks of free parks summer tennis lessons.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of Tennis Industry magazine.