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Ian Griffin

français español português                                                             

When I came in  (1968 - 1969)  as an undergrad assistant in tennis at (George Knudsen's) Oakdale Golf Club in the program that Pete Burwash began,  it was the beginning of The Boom:  anyone could be a tennis teacher -- and often was.  Not everyone completed law school,  then made teaching tennis his life.

It also was "the period when they were asking 'what are you going to do when it's over?' "   If you stayed,  it was because you can't believe -- to this day -- that people actually will pay you to do something that you love.. 

I went out on my own at the community courts of the Richmond Hill Lawn Tennis Association (1970-1976).

Following my interview at the J.P. Richardson building in 1980,  I directed the City of Beaumont's programs through 1993:  our pre-NJTL NJTL program had been instituted in 1965. 


To TEACH a young person is a sacred trust:  you teach the person first, the subject matter second; you're a model first,  only afterwards an expert.   But when you teach, it's almost better than doing it yourself.  And it may be the best compliment a student can give,  to want to do the same thing. Todd Taylor and Bobby Reeves,  from my classes in Beaumont,  are TPTA professionals.

The COACH's  <5% role is indispensible:  he has to have experienced the things that the student experiences,  and to have learned how to win -- and to lose.  From my first prize-money win at North Bay Granite Club in 1972 to championships at University of Toronto and a year of satellites, 

I experienced enough of the latter to learn which side of the equation I belonged on.

For the player to DEVELOP requires patience and perspective,  to move step-by-step on a daily basis.  For the person to develop at the same time,  he should live in his own environment with his own family,  friends,  peers.  Rather than the all-tennis-no-academy format,  the children at Ian Griffin's Tennis Academy attended real school,  then real tennis school outside those hours.  

To make it to a no.1 ranking / National Championship,  the most important ingredient is the athlete's will,  then the right support of family;  I was able guide as their only professional coach from first formal lesson all that way:

Paul Beck  (born Richmond Hill ON)  no.1 Ontario / no.2 Canada 1976 is Head Professional at York Racquets Club.
Jeff Boychuk  (Niagara Falls ON)  won St. Louis in the 18's in 1981.
Michael Wesbrooks  (Beaumont TX)  won Texas Sectionals in 1983 and 1986,  National Doubles with Stark in 1984,  represented the U.S. internationally -- and along the way picked up wins over Kraijcek and Agassi.  

In team coaching,  you're often a good coach if you have good players - as we did at Monsignor Kelly High School Beaumont (TCIL-4A) when I was Boys' and Girls" Head Coach (1981-1985).  Our teams won 3 Girls' State Championships,  and our individuals 8:  4 Girls' Doubles,  1 Boys' Doubles - and Nicole LaChiusa (2d row L) was State Champion in Girls' Singles 3 times.


Getting in early allowed me to participate in important USTA programs:  promoting a Penn Circuit tournament in its first year 1979 in North Tonawanda NY,  later 2 others in Beaumont 1980,1989;

and later serving as Head Scout / part-time coach at the ATC in Houston 1988-94.

The Player Development program hit the ground in 1988,  and it had to begin right.  

In order to promote the program,  to cast the widest posible net,  and to demonstrate fairness,  we conducted  "the very first formal 'tryout' for positions in the Houston USTA Areat Training Center.....a great scouting opportunity and model."

My associations with three wonderful old  (<1900)  private clubs confirmed that on a public court is where I belong:  annually since 2012,  that's meant teaching at Stade Amahoro in Kigali,  Rwanda.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to make a profession of a passion, and to make the time for the other ones:  my vinyl collection of rock 'n' roll,  the spontaneous No-Meaning art of an America of limitless possibility,  music that brought two minority cultures together and into every radio and living room,  and  "[changed] the social structure in America" ;  foreign travel to 45 countries and probably no longer adding;  and most importantly, my children:  Danielle, Francesca and Dave.


combining  two careers:  USPTA Guide to Municipal Operations


Eric Deane Dmitrenko,  North Tonawanda NY/Atlanta

....the poorest tennis player in western NY gets introduced to the game by a man who pushed him to a very high level in tennis…..Your teaching methods were very influential in my approach to sports and life and relationships. Hard work and disciplined preparation made me winner on and off the court...I was fortunate to have that with you starting at 9 years old  (Nov. 4, 2013)

Don Braugh,  Beaumont / Athens TX

....I had thought a lot about you over the years.  You were my first serious tennis coach,  and I'll never forget that program,  esp. the basics skills methods and ultra high-intensity physical fitness program  (Jun. 4, 2017)

Paul Marcum,  Tennis Professional at The Sports Club of West Bloomfield/Paul Marcum's Tennis Services,  LLC

Congrats Ian- Consummate Professional- lucky students  (Mar. 19, 2019)

Dave Green
Head Tennis Coach Emery/Weiner School

I have known Ian since the mid 1980's. He has exhibited the utmost professionalism in his chosen field - the tennis industry. Ian exudes enthusiasm for sport of tennis. Ian's teaching ability, his support for industry organizations( the USPTA, USTA), and the management of his facility on a day to day basis are exemplary. It was a pleasure working with Ian as his sales representative with Wilson Sporting Goods and Head/Penn Racquet Sports. His friendly,outgoing nature makes him a great ambassador for the sport of tennis. 
Dave Green, Head Tennis Coach, The Emery/Weiner School, Houston, TX.less

November 28, 2012, Dave was with another company when working with Ian at Ian Griffin's Tennis Academy   

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