After starting to play tennis in 1973, I made the tennis team at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, AL, before graduating and joining the program at NAIA powerhouse Auburn-Montgomery (AUM), where I played for 3 years. During this time, besides wining NAIA District championships in singles and doubles and playing in the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, MO, I became aware of the importance of proper equipment choices and maintenance.
Tennis was undergoing a remarkable technological change during this time, as racquets changed from wood to metals and then composites, head sizes grew larger, and the importance of stringing and racquet specifications became known. Experimenting with equipment types led me to see just how the right choices could help my game, and how wrong decisions could hurt.
I was blessed to come under the influence of Dr. Don Chambless while at AUM. Besides being a fine teacher and even better friend, “Big Coach” selflessly lent me his knowledge on the technical aspects of the game, and spent countless hours working with me on the nuts and bolts of tennis. We spent more time than I can remember training, analyzing styles and tactics, and figuring out the best way to combat my opponents. To this day, I still head Big Coach in my ear, reminding me to “accelerate through contact” and to remember “he always approaches down the line”, or “he can’t run with you”.
Don also showed me how to string racquets, advising me that “You don’t want some idiot stringing your stuff.” Once I left school, I quickly found out what he meant. I would never have been a tennis player or a stringer without Don’s influence.
The other great blessing in my tennis life was meeting my friends Nata and Bill Treise once settling in Orlando. Nata, and especially Bill, hold superior knowledge in the mental and physical aspects of the game, and I must admit I’ve stolen a lot of my “show” from them. Were it not for the things I’ve learned from them, I wouldn’t be teaching tennis today.
After moving to Orlando, I became a fixture on the local tennis scene as a tournament player, league standout, and as a teaching pro, stringer and racquet technician. I’ve spent this time helping numerous players in the area improve their games through increased understanding of both its playing and equipment.
As a racquet stringer and technician, I’ve has gained prominence in the field by work and study. In 1986, I became one of the first stringers to be certified by the United States Racquet Stringers Association (USRSA), signifying profound knowledge in the area of racquet maintenance. In 2007, I took the upgrade exam to become a USRSA Master Racquet Technician (MRT), scoring 133 out of a possible 137 points on the test. In the time between, I advanced mightily in his craft.
In 1994, tired of being in the dark on equipment technology, I began self-publishing the newsletter Racquetech. I broke new ground in the field of detailed equipment analysis, and opened the eyes of the tennis industry to the fact that opinionated testing was feasible. Later on, my reviews were used during the birth of Tennis Warehouse, and I examined ultra-lightweight racquet technology for Tennis magazine.
Besides being a private stringer, I worked many local and international tournaments, both as part of a stringing team and as the sole stringer. Working for top players in tournaments like the Florida District and State High School Championships, Mid East Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championships, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships, NCAA Division II National Championships, and professional events like the Orlando USTA Challenger, Maserati Open, and the Volvo Paine Webber tournament, where I strung for many of the world’s top players, including all-time great Jimmy Connors, provided both a great learning opportunity for me and gave me the chance to prove my expertise by helping the most discriminating players the game has to offer.
I’ve also experienced the retail side of the tennis trade, as a partner in M.R. Sports Sales in Apopka, as the pro shop manager at Sabal Point Country Club in Longwood, and as “stringer in residence” for Center Court Tennis, also in Longwood. I’ve seen every facet of the game of tennis, and have helped literally thousands of players in one way or another.
After numerous years teaching part-time on my own, I was taken on as a pro by the Seminole County Parks and Recreation Dept., teaching first at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, and later running the program at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford. After deciding once again to strike out on my own, I began a program at Magnolia Plantation in Lake Mary, and also began teaching with my good friend Donnie McGinnis at Maitland Community Park.
My life has been devoted to tennis, as a player, teacher and technician. Please allow me to help you increase your knowledge and enthusiasm for this great game. Please feel free to use my experience to help improve your game, either by using the tips and procedures outlined on this site, or by working directly with me. I can be reached by e-mail or by phone (407.701.9351).