Stanford legend to be guest speaker at Steamboat tennis camp
Steamboat Springs — Loretta Conway hopes to save a few surprises for Jim Swiggart in July, when The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs begins to say goodbye to its director of a quarter of a century.
But, no surprise could be greater than the arrival of longtime Stanford University men’s tennis coach Dick Gould, who will serve as the special guest during the center’s Rare Air Tennis Training camp, which runs July 25 to 31.
“He knows most of it. He knows Dick Gould is coming from Stanford, and he knows we are going to do a court dedication,” said Conway, The Tennis Center’s business development director. “He’s kind of a hero in Jim’s eyes. He’s met him before, but he’s never really been able to talk with him. So, he’s very excited that he’s coming.”
Gould coached at Stanford from 1966 until 2004 and since has served as the John L. Hinds Director of Tennis. During his 38 years as coach, Stanford won 17 NCAA team national championships, had 10 NCAA singles national champions, seven NCAA doubles national champions and 50 All-Americans.
Nine of his former players went on to rank in the top 15 of the ATP, or Association of Tennis Professionals, world singles rankings, and 14 in the top 10 of the doubles rankings. Among his most notable athletes includes tennis legend John McEnroe.
In April, the Pac-12 Conference named Gould its men’s tennis Coach of the Century.
“He and his wife are going to come for four or five days,” Conway said. “We were able to find them a place to stay and get somebody to donate the airfare. We are paying for his expenses, but he’s not charging to come, which is really nice.”
Conway and her husband, Bill Conway, The Tennis Center’s head professional, knew Gould from their time living in northern California. The past two summers, a handful of Steamboat youth traveled to California for a tennis camp at Stanford, and, through that, a random invitation was sent to Gould to visit Steamboat.
“We are going to keep him busy while he’s here,” Loretta Conway said.
The Rare Air Tennis Training camp is for experienced players ages 13 to 18. Monday through Thursday during the last week of July, the kids will train for six hours a day in Steamboat. Bill Conway and Lilia Snape, also of The Tennis Center, will lead the training. They hope to add another coach or two, with Williams College women’s tennis coach Alison Swain already on board.
Swain led Williams College to seven NCAA Division III national titles in her first eight years as coach.
“We are so tickled to have her as one of the coaches,” Loretta Conway said.
Beginning that Friday and running through Sunday will the Steamboat Tennis Association’s annual summer championships, of which all camp attendees will automatically be entered.
On Saturday, July 30, there will be a break in the action where Swiggart will be honored. He took over as director of The Tennis Center in 1991, with his official last day scheduled for Sept. 30. The Conways are set to take over the reins when Swiggart retires.
“We are excited, and I think he’s kind of excited to go on to do other things,” Loretta Conway said.
The weekend will conclude with STA’s annual fundraiser dinner, of which Gould will be the guest speaker. Camp attendees will also get the opportunity to learn what it takes to be a Division I athlete from Gould in a private session.
So far, 17 have registered for the camp. The Tennis Center hopes to have 32 signed up by the end of July. Cost is $475, and includes four full days of training and the weekend tournament.
To register, visit 10s.com or contact the center at 879-8400.
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