Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Steamboat Springs It seemed appropriate that Bill and Loretta Conway met through tennis.
Bill was the athletic director at a school in Largo, Fla., and Loretta was working with the United States Tennis Association. They worked together for five years before dating.
Now, the two are tasked with bringing their love of tennis to Steamboat Springs. Bill was announced as the new head pro at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, and Loretta will be the director of business development.
“Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to do other things than tennis,” Loretta said. “When we got to Colorado, it felt like home. But this, here, feels really good.”
The two come to Steamboat after 18 months in Denver, where Bill served as the head tennis pro at the Colorado Athletic Club Inverness in south Denver. Prior to Denver, Bill was the director of tennis at a Bay Area club in California, and Loretta served as a community director for the USTA in Northern California. She also was the executive director for a nonprofit youth tennis program.
Loretta has long ties to marketing and the USTA, providing a good fit for her newly created position at the Tennis Center.
Bill, who is from Alaska, wanted to live in a ski town. He said he enjoyed his time at the club in Denver but its corporate feel and structure limited what he could do.
He said he was looking to grow, and when Tennis Center Director Jim Swiggart was looking to hire, it seemed like a natural fit.
“Loretta and Bill have already had a wonderful impact on what we are trying to accomplish,” Swiggart wrote in an email. “I believe that everyone who is currently involved at the center — including John (Aragon), Don (Toy) and Carol (Baily) — hopes the community will support the center going forward. If they do, the future of tennis in Steamboat will be bright.”
Bill said he wants to grow and listen to what the community wants. Specifically, he wants to grow the youth programs and provide more opportunities for teenagers.
“We want people to feel wanted,” he said. “I guarantee every tennis pro here can figure out tennis errors in five minutes, but do you feel wanted?”
Loretta said she hopes to grow tennis in the school districts. As a school specialist with the USTA, she can go into schools and help physical education teachers teach tennis. She also is in the process of planning youth events and working on community contacts.
The two always have wanted to work together, and Steamboat offered them an opportunity to grow together. Now their job is melding all the parts of the tennis community.
“I really want to bring it together,” Bill said. “I want the 3-year-old that has never picked up a racket to have something to do. I want the player that is 70 and played a long time to have something for them.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com