Photo by Matt Stensland
Greg Sussman, 23, joins the teaching staff as a pro at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Steamboat Springs In a way, every place Greg Sussman has been and everything he’s done have been for a reason.
The 23-year-old new tennis pro at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs has in some way always found a reason to be where he is.
Sussman, who originally is from Washington, D.C., attended and played tennis at Kenyon College in Ohio.
He didn’t plan it this way, but his older brother was the captain of the baseball team at Kenyon, and his twin brother was the captain of the soccer team.
“I guess in some way,” Sussman said, “we wanted to stick together.”
Now, Sussman finds himself teaching tennis in Steamboat, after coming out on whim to look for work.
Sussman admits that he’d never heard of Steamboat, but his friend’s dad wanted him to look after and check up on some real estate projects in the area.
From there, Sussman found it was the place he needed to be.
“That put Steamboat on the map because I had never really heard of it,” he said. “I just started learning more and more. We were convinced it would be a good place to come.”
Sussman, who was doing research in Israel before coming to Steamboat, brings an impressive tennis background with him.
He played four years at Division III Kenyon College, earning All-Northern Coast Athletic Conference honors each year.
His senior year, he helped the team reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
He also was a pro at the East Hampton Tennis Club in New York and worked multiple junior development programs in Washington, D.C. While in Israel, he also played in the Israeli Tennis Association.
“It was great. I mean, they’re really competitive people,” Sussman said. “There were players of all ages. There were older guys that were still playing really competitively. I was able to meet a lot of cool people. It was no different than being in D.C. at all.”
It was Sussman’s versatility and ability to work with all ages that made him a good fit.
Tennis Center Director Jim Swiggart said he had 13 applicants for the position, but none fit the way Sussman did.
“There were a number of things,” Swiggart said. “He was the only one who had an extensive background in both junior and adult coaching. He was the only one whose references thought enough of him to offer more references. He’s definitely a world-traveled player. He’s well-spoken, and I thought he would be a great fit for our tennis community.”
Sussman replaces Marie Matrka, who is moving back to Cincinnati to prepare for graduate school.
Sussman said he’s excited to take in Steamboat’s vast array of outdoor activities. He’s also looking forward to getting to know and teach the people of Steamboat.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Sussman said. “The people are great. They’re really athletic, and they pick things up so quick. I’m excited.”