Instructor for a sport he loves

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Howard At Play

September 03, 2000|By Lowell E. Sunderland

Name: Bruce Holbrook

Job description: Tennis director for the Columbia Association for 2 1/2 years. Oversees operations of 33 courts in four facilities that see 13,000-plus matches played each year, including winters in the Owen Brown Tennis Bubble. Supervises four full-time and three part-time teaching professionals, 10 other full-time employees and about 15 seasonal workers. Figures he teaches about 20 hours a week with administrative duties filling out the week.

Age: 47

Residence: Cherry Tree Estates section of west Laurel

Personal: Arkadelphia, Ark., native who was a scholarship player for Arkansas State University. A coach while he was in college, then-Mexican Davis Cup star Gustavo Palofox convinced him he could make a living at what he loved, tennis. Professional from 1978 to 1994 in Springfield, Mo.; moved for four years to Richmond's Westwood club, the 1997 U.S. Tennis Association club of the year. Long active in youth programs; was USTA zonal coach in Missouri Valley, later in mid-Atlantic for 16-and-under players.

Best part of this job: "Being a people-person, I like coming in contact with so many people - being able to help them. I enjoy working with the advanced kids and really get a kick out of some of the younger kids, as well - the young ones are so exuberant when they hit the ball well. That's really special."

Biggest challenge of the job: "Just dealing with the number of people who are playing here, trying to keep everything as organized as possible. It's unusual to have facilities spread out like ours are. And then we have 47 teams - about 650 adults - playing USTA league tennis now, which is great. But it also requires a lot of coordination to make sure they want to keep coming back."

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