Jay Clayton Wilson
Many successful businessmen have led corporations to tread new paths that led to great accomplishments. They were appreciated and well compensated for their efforts. Not so much with those who have devoted their retirement years to a tennis club in a desert community. Compensation is nonexistent. But appreciation overflows in great abundance. This is the story of TJ Duffy.
Four years ago, a group of concerned STC members recognized the need to revitalize our tennis club. They urged TJ to contribute his tremendous energy and managerial capabilities to invigorate tennis at SaddleBrooke. Reluctantly, he accepted the challenge and was elected STC president. That singular event led to re-energizing STC and to a premier tennis experience for SaddleBrooke residents.
First on the agenda was the appointment of Debbie McGeehan to the position of Social Chair with a mandate to create a new atmosphere around the club, one in which members could experience the joy of friendship and companionship in the context of healthy, fun activities.
Communications was next on his agenda. TJ created the STC Tennis Times, a monthly newsletter that kept membership up to date on social and competitive events and which highlighted the profiles of its members. He created a Facebook page that features hundreds of club photos from STC activities, most of which were taken by TJ, a professional photographer. A well-publicized new logo was created and displayed prominently to brand the club and a regular email program was adopted to keep the entire tennis community in the loop.
Then he and his Board turned their attention to tennis activities in a successful effort to bring enthusiasm back into the game. Under TJ’s regime a group of members who are certified tennis teaching professionals was selected. They began to hold weekly free clinics designed to improve skillful play and they began to give individual lessons to STC members. TJ himself is one of the pros along with Chris Madsen, Gene McGeehan, Jim Ward, John Sochacki and Pat Maurer.
Under TJ’s leadership STC developed a completely new organized play program for men and for the ladies. The provisional rating system was upgraded and the NTRP rating conversion system was redesigned to provide numeric ratings in place of the previous alphanumeric system.
Scramble OP was adopted to introduce players of all levels to each other in friendly competition, thus strengthening the club by building more relationships.
TJ initiated a program under which University of Arizona tennis teams would play demonstration matches at SaddleBrooke. He reestablished the UAF/SCI Skin Cancer Research fundraiser program in conjunction with, what else, a club party. He even arranged for a new water faucet for volunteers to use in the STC kitchen and he worked with SaddleBrooke One to refurbish our storage shed.
This is clearly a tribute to TJ Duffy, the man who has volunteered multiple hundreds of hours of his personal time to making the SaddleBrooke Tennis Club a premier tennis club in the country. Thank you, TJ.