Doug Linden learned after a hiatus from tennis that he still had a passion for playing the sport.
And while working with former Baywinds Athletic Club tennis pro Pat Ortner, Linden realized he had an interest in teaching the game, too.
Those qualities, along with his local roots and knowledge of the game, are why Baywinds owner Carl Heuckroth hired Linden as the club's tennis pro recently.
Ortner died Feb. 10 at a Cleveland airport.
"I enjoyed working with him there and teaching (tennis)," said Linden, who won a state doubles championship while at Perkins in 1981 as a sophomore, and was a singles qualifier as a senior in 1983. He had a 102-14 career record for the Pirates.
Linden, who started at the club at as early as age 13 when it was the Southwood Racquet Club, started playing tennis again in 2005, and helped Ortner at the club from 2006-09.
Heuckroth who said he made the decision to hire Linden as his tennis pro more than three weeks ago, described Linden as a likeable person with "such a great capacity, and such a neat personality."
"He is proficient and efficient."
Linden spoke about his goals for the tennis academy at Baywinds, which has produced some of the area's top tennis talents.
"To continue growing, and after Pat had gone we took a downturn for a while," Linden said. "I'd like to continue with what he had going and also build on that so we're getting better numbers and quality.
"We just want to keep the quality and level of teaching at a very high level, continuing to educate, and stay up on the current trends available to teach the kids and adults on the proper technique."
There have been almost 140 graduates of the academy who have earned college scholarship money.
Linden, who is the head boys tennis coach at St. Mary CC and will continue in that role, said he is transitioning toward being a full-time pro at the club.
There are youth clinics in the afternoon (ages 7-11) after school, Linden said, with men's and women's clinics in daytime starting soon, and lessons additional to that.
The range of coaching varies from basic instruction to advanced coaching that will teach players about point construction, refine technique, and mental aspects.
The cost of a lesson is about $12.50 per hour for Baywinds members, and about $15 for non-members for most of the classes. The average class length is 90-120 minutes, with a class size of about five to six people, though an ideal number is eight to 12, Linden said.
Linden, who is a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Coaches Association and a USTA certified tennis pro. He described his teaching style as "somewhat laid back, but passionate about the game," and "not one who goes out screaming at people all the time."
"You don't treat everybody the same," Linden said. "You treat them fairly but not the same. Each class and each person is a little different on how you might motivate them or push them.
"My style is quite a bit of technique, but also a lot of the point construction."
Linden was ranked No. 1 in the USTA midwest rankings with doubles partner Brad Lynch in 2008, and No. 2 in 2009 in 35-older doubles.
One of the club's biggest advantages besides its coaching, Heuckroth and Linden said, is it's six indoor courts.
"It enables them to get as good as they can be. They can play outside, but coming inside, it has a common location where all the players go inside and there's a good group of people around who can compete and push each other to get better," Linden said. "(Players won't) have to take a long break in the winter and pick up their game in spring time. They can build their game in winter."
There are other programs besides clinics, Linden said.
"The juniors (junior-high to high school, and some college) have great junior opportunities for membership over the winter," he said.
On Sunday's about 50-55 kids play in a group where players are paired by talent.
Anyone interested in obtaining more information can call the club at 419-626-6250.