MEET THE PROS
These Tennis Pros are a huge part of our annual event and it would not be possible without them showing up to support Watson year after year. We are so sad to know that we will not be seeing them all in person this year, but feel that they all deserve honor and recognition for their continued supported during this difficult time. Be ready to play with these amazing athletes in 2021!
BRENDA SCHULTZ – McCARTHY – JUNO BEACH, FL (6.5)
Career-High Rankings: Doubles: 7 / Singles: 9
Career Prize Money: $2,620,344
Turned Professional: 1986
Titles: 16 WTA Tour Singles titles (7 singles & 9 doubles)
Olympics: Represented The Netherlands in Barcelona (1992) and was a semi-finalist in Atlanta (1996)
The Fed Cup: Represented The Netherlands for over 10 years; was a finalist in 2006
Grand Slams: Reached the quarter-finals or better at 3 of the 4 Grand Slams
Featured Career Wins: Career-high win #2 Sanchez-Vicario, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati, and Conchita Martinez.
Watson Tennis Pro-Am Participant: 4 years
Born in the Netherlands, Brenda left home at age 11 to pursue her tennis career. Brenda earned 12 top-ten wins during her career and shares the second fastest recorded women’s serve of all time with Venus Williams at 130 mph! After taking time off to recover from an injury, she returned in 2006 and made a strong comeback by defeating Dominika Cibulkova. She and her husband, Sean, run tennis and wellness camps in Ferrum, VA, and Jupiter, FL.
ROBERT KENDRICK – ORLANDO, FL (6.5)
Career-High Rankings: Doubles: 77 / Singles: 69
Career Prize Money: $1,365,211
Turned Professional: 2000
ATP Challenger Events: Won 10 Challenger singles and doubles titles and one career ATP doubles title in Newport.
Grand Slams: Played in all four Grand Slam tournaments multiple times. At Wimbledon, he won his first career Grand Slam match to reach the second round, then fired 32 aces and had a two-set lead over eventual finalist Rafael Nadal to force a third set tie-break before falling 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4. Kendrick was the only player in the tournament to take sets from Nadal on his route to the final, where Nadal lost to top-seeded Roger Federer.
Featured Career Wins: Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Robin Söderling, James Blake, Gaël Monfils, and Kevin Anderson.
Watson Tennis Pro-Am Participant: 7 years
Born & raised in Fresno, California, Robert began playing tennis at age five. Since 2015, he has been the Assistant Director at Winter Park Racquet Club in Florida. He trains and supervises players of all ages and abilities, whether working with seniors, beginners, or with our nation’s top junior prospects. He also works part-time with the USTA to develop athletes on the men’s side.
LUKE JENSEN – FOREST HILLS, NY (6.0)
Career-High Rankings: Doubles: 6 / Singles: 168
Career Prizemoney: $1,313,255
Turned Professional: 1987
Collegiate: All-American at USC in 1986 and 1987
ATP Titles: 10 Career ATP Tour doubles career titles: Monte Carlo, Estoril, Nottingham, Long Island and Bologna (2).
Grand Slams: 1993 French Open Doubles Champion (with brother Murphy).
Watson Tennis Pro-Am Participant: 7 years
Luke was born in Grayling, MI. The better half of the tennis’ rock n’ roll Tennis Brothers, he earned the nickname “Dual Hand Luke” based on his ability to play both left and right-handed. He is currently the Director of Racquet Sports at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, NY. Luke also provides color commentary for ESPN and ESPN2 broadcasts on the ATP Tour and travels the world as an instructor, motivational speaker, and ambassador for the game.
JESSE WITTEN – NAPLES, FL (6.5)
Career High Ranking: Doubles: 274 / Singles: 163
Career Prize Money: $398,888
Turned Professional: 2005
Collegiate: NCAA Singles Finalist (2002); Five-time All-American at University of Kentucky
ITF Futures Events: 5 career titles
Featured Career Wins: Taylor Dent, Grigor Dimitrov, Jan Michael Gambill, Ivo Karlovic, Robert Kendrick, Gilles Müller, Bobby Reynolds, and Donald Young.
Grand Slams: Has qualified to play in 3 of the 4 Grand Slams; Best Grand Slam finish: Round 32 at 2010 US Open – lost to Djokovic in 4 sets.
Watson Tennis Pro-Am Participant: 6 years
Born in Naples, FL, Jesse picked up a tennis racket for the first time at age 6. A die-hard Miami Heat and Dolphins fan, Jesse started and now runs a tennis academy in his hometown of Naples, Florida. He and tennis pro, Jordan Vaughn, also started and run a non-profit called “ace the future,” a program to help kids reach their goals of going to and playing college tennis.
JASON BROWN (5.0)
University of Montana Men’s Head Coach
A native Montanan, Jason has been in Missoula since 1991, when he was a walk-on player for the Griz. He is currently in his third year as the Men’s Head Coach at his alma mater after five years as an assistant under legendary head coach Kris Nord. Jason was named the Coach of the Year in the Big Sky Conference in his inaugural season. He is a USPTA certified professional who came back to the sport he loves after a long break from the game when the Peak Racquet Club was first built. Jason is married to his college love, Jenny, who he met while teaching a tennis class on campus in the 90’ sand has two sons Will (15) and Marcus (12).
JORDAN VAUGHAN (5.0)
Head Tennis Professional, Esplanade Golf and Country Club
Jordan Vaughan is the Director of Tennis at Fiddler’s Creek in Naples, FL. She played Division 1 tennis at both Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University, where she majored in photography. Formerly #1, she is currently ranked #3 in the Nation for Father-Daughter Open Doubles. Jordan also teamed with Jesse Witten to reach the finals of the U.S. Open sectional qualifier this year in mixed doubles.
JIMMY PINJUV (5.0)
USPTA “Elite” Certified Professional
Director of Tennis, The Canyons Racquet Club
Jimmy Pinjuv was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from Bishop Gorman High School and played for the four-time Nevada State Tennis Champions (1982-1986). He went on to graduate from the University of Nevada Reno, receiving a degree in Business Management. Jimmy was named the captain of the University of Nevada, Reno, Wolf Pack tennis team in his junior year in 1991. Jimmy started teaching tennis after college and tennis is still one of his greatest passions. Today he is the Head Tennis Professional at the Canyons Racquet Club, and he also teaches at the Stock Farm club and other private facilities in the Bitterroot valley. He teaches all ages and is extremely passionate about teaching the wonderful game of tennis. He is the proud father of his 10 and 14 year-old daughters. His favorite thing to do is spend time with his girls, but when he is not with them he loves climbing, skateboarding, snowboarding and almost any other outdoor activity.
CODY KOHLMOOS (5.0)
Former Griz (2008-2012)
Lake Tahoe, CA
A former Griz, Cody played for UM for 4 years (‘08-‘12) and graduated with a BA in English Literature. Growing up in Bend, OR, Cody became the first State Champion from the area with a Doubles Title in 2007. He currently spends his summers as the Director of High Performance at Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, CA, and spends his winter seasons at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, CA. Cody has previously spent time teaching at Sunriver Resort (OR), The Peak Racquet Club (MT), and Black Butte Ranch (OR).
KYLE WILSON (5.0)
Former Bobcat and Griz (2002-2005)
Kyle is an Elite Level USPTA Certified Professional. He has been certified for over 12 years and part of the Bobcat Tennis Center since 2007. He grew up in Denver, Colorado until he moved to Bozeman at the age of seven. He was a black belt in Taekwondo by the age of 12 but shortly switched his passion to tennis full-time. He played competitive junior tennis in the Intermountain Section growing up, as well as varsity tennis for the Bozeman Hawks all four years of High school. He went on to play Division I college tennis for the University of Montana in 2001. Kyle graduated from Montana State University in 2006. After graduation, he taught at Riverside Country Club for three seasons as the Assistant Tennis Pro. During this time, he also taught indoors at MSU during the winter season and continues to run their Junior Bobcat tennis programs. Kyle was the Assistant coach for the Montana State Bobcat Women’s team in 2018. He now coaches some of the top juniors in the state and Intermountain section. In 2009, he coached a Women’s 3.0 team to 2nd in the Nation in the USTA league. He has served on the USTA Montana Board as a representative for the Bozeman area and on the Intermountain Junior Competition committee. He has a love for the game that shows and is extremely happy to be part of the Watson Tennis Pro-Am.
GINGER PHILLIPS (5.0)
Tennis Professional, Ranch Country Club
Ginger Phillips has been a USPTA and PTR teaching pro for 30 years. Ginger is a USPTA Tester for the Intermountain section and currently teaches at the Ranch Club in Westminster, Colorado. She has also taught at Boulder Country Club, Bobcat Tennis Center, VanDerMeer Tennis Academy and has been a D1 Women’s Assistant Coach for University of Colorado and Montana State University. She still actively plays USTA Leagues and National Age Division tournaments. She’s happy to be back in Montana supporting this great event and seeing Montana friends!
JIMMY CRIPE ( 5.0)
Head Boys and Girls Varsity Tennis Coach, Flathead High School
Jimmy has been a Head Tennis Pro at The Summit since 1999. He is a Montana native who led Whitefish High School to two State Championships in 1988 and 1989. Jimmy played college tennis at Montana State University from 1989-1993. He is the Head Boys and Girls Varsity Tennis Coach at Flathead High School. Jimmy is married to Tia Celentano and has a son, Joston, who is a freshman at Flathead High.
ALEX CANELLOPOULOS (6.0)
Former Griz Player; All Big Sky Player
Alex was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He moved to the US to play college tennis and get an education. He played for the Griz men’s tennis team for four years and is UM’s first-ever ITA nationally ranked player. He played #1 singles and doubles and had over 115 career wins, third most in school history. Alex recently graduated with a degree in Finance and International Business. He enjoys hanging out with friends and exploring Montana.
ZACH MATTHEWS (5.0)
Director of Tennis, Peak Tennis Center, Hayden
Born in Medford Oregon, Zachary started with the Frank Inn Jr. School of Tennis. He won his first USTA Junior Champs tournament at the age of 16. He went on to State three years and finished with a USTA Pacific Northwest top 20 ranking in singles and top 5 in doubles. Zachary is now the Director of Tennis at Peak Tennis in Hayden, and competes on the 5.0+ team.
WARREN CHAM-A-KOON (5.5)
Great Falls, MT
Warren, originally from Great Falls, went to college at The College of Wooster in Ohio. There he was an All-American in both singles and in doubles in 94 and 95. He has played Futures events throughout the US after college. Formerly a USPTA Certified instructor, Warren has had his own painting business for the last 18 years. He has spent most of that time in Cincinnati, where he furthered his tennis playing. Warren has recently moved back to Montana and is a proud new dad with his wife Hannah, of their new son, Oliver.
JOSIAH PETERSEN (4.0)
Tennis Professional, PEAK Racquet Club
Josiah is a born and bred Missoula native. While playing tennis at Valley Christian School, Josiah placed in the top four, three years in a row, playing at the #1 doubles and singles positions from his sophomore to senior year. Each of those years he led his team to two 2nd place team titles, and a 1st place trophy his senior year. He has since become certified by the USPTR tennis association and assumed the head coaching job for both the varsity boys and girls at his alma mater-making him one of the youngest coaches to take on such a position. Josiah conducted a one week long camp in Colonia Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico upon revisiting the orphanage he volunteered at for 6 months. He is also frequently seen helping with some of the classes at the Peak Racquet Club.
BRAD KNUTSON (5.0)
Head Tennis Professional, Elks Tennis Center
Brad grew up in Billings, where he played tennis for Skyview High School. After being a state doubles finalist both his junior and senior years, he went on to play for Montana State University Billings where he held the #3 singles and doubles positions. Brad graduated with a degree in Music Education in 2012. After graduating and becoming a USPTA teaching professional, Brad taught at MSUB and the Elks Tennis Center. In 2016, Brad became the Head Tennis Professional at the Elks Tennis Center. Currently, Brad is a Recreation Specialist for Billings Parks and Recreation where he oversees year-round tennis programming. Brad also owns and operates a private piano studio.
COLIN GILLAM (5.5)
Tennis Professional, Eagles Country Club
Colin Gillam grew up playing tennis in Anchorage, Alaska. He was in the top three of every age group in Alaska throughout his junior playing days before playing collegiate tennis at Boise State and Portland State. He earned his Marketing and Advertising degree from Portland State. After college, he coached and ran programs in Oregon, Alaska, Florida, Texas, Montana, and Idaho where he is currently Head Tennis Pro at Eagle Tennis Club. Colin’s passion is working with competitive juniors. He has traveled with many juniors to state, sectional and national tournaments. While in Montana, he worked as Director of Junior Tennis at the PEAK, working with many players of all ages and abilities. Being able to participate in the Watson’s Pro-Am is a highlight of his year, and always looks forward to seeing friends and getting a burrito at El Diablo.
JAN STEENEKAMP (5.5)
Director of Junior Tennis, PEAK Racquet Club
Jan is a native of Burgersdorp, South Africa. As a junior, he was ranked #1 in the u18 doubles rankings in 2000 and 2001, and top 10 (high of 6) in singles. He was also selected to represent South Africa as a junior in Australia, England, USA, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. He started his collegiate playing career at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where he was honored as a Second Team All-Southland Conference selection in doubles, before transferring to The University of Montana. While at Montana, he was a #1 singles player for the Big Sky Conference and was named First Team All-Big Sky Conference in each of his three years in Missoula.
BRIAN VERWOLF (5.5)
Former Griz (1992-1994)
#1 Single and #1 Doubles
1st Team All-Big Sky Conference
Brian is a native of Montana through and through but has lived the past 17 years in the Pacific Northwest where he held the #1 singles and #1 doubles ranking in Men’s Open division. Featured Titles include four-time winner PNW Sectional Championships and three-time winner Seattle City Open Championships. Brian recently moved his family back to MT and is very excited to be a part of MT tennis once again! Currently, he is the owner and manager of Verwolf Tennis, providing passionate coaching to his students of all ages and skill levels in the Helena, MT area.
SCOTT POTTER (5.0)
Director of Tennis, PEAK Racquet Club
New Zealand native and ex-Montana State University men’s tennis team player from 1989-1993. Scott was a first-team Big Sky Conference selection in 1993. He was the head tennis professional at Riverside Country Club in Bozeman for 15 years, and junior director of tennis at Bobcat Tennis Center for five years. Scott was named the 2010 Intermountain Professional of the Year recipient, 2004 Intermountain Tennis Association Developmental Coach of the year recipient and 2004 National USTA 5.0 finalist Team member. Scott is currently the director of tennis at the PEAK Racquet Club in Missoula.
NOAH STRIZICH – (5.0)
Head Tennis Professional, PEAK Racquet Club
Noah grew up in Helena, MT playing tournaments around the state of Montana and the Intermountain region. Coming from a tennis family, with his father playing for Gonzaga and his brother playing for Seattle University, Noah had plenty of motivation to play tennis at a high level. He was All-state in the high school Montana AA division for consecutive years and was named State Champion in 2014. Noah then continued his tennis career at the University of Montana and is currently a teaching professional at Peak Racket club. Noah is a recent college graduate of the 2019 class at the University of Montana, majoring in Organization Communication and Marketing. He is currently training to run a half marathon to benefit the Boys and Girls Club in Malibu, California November 3rd, 2019.
STEVE ASCHER (5.0)
University of Montana Head Women’s Tennis Coach
Steve Ascher began his journey into college tennis as a player at the University of Portland. His college playing experience has turned into a passion for coaching and mentoring college players. Montana is the place Steve has found home coaching college tennis and raising two special daughters with an awesome partner in Shelbi Ascher. He loves his community and the people he gets to share time with daily.
BILL SPELTZ (4.5 NTRP)
Missoulian Sports Department Leader
An avid tennis player and the leader of the Missoulian newspaper’s sports department, Bill has written a Sunday column the past 12 years. He has received national awards from the USTA for his tennis writing and in the past has been ranked No. 1 in the 35-over men’s singles division in the Iowa District of the USTA. Bill attended college at Iowa Lakes where he played baseball and he later attended Clarke University in Iowa. Both of his children played No. 1 for the Missoula Big Sky tennis program.
DEVON SIKORA (5.0)
Former High School Champion
St. Ignatius, MT
Devon grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He started playing tennis when he was 12 years old. He is a three-time Louisiana State Doubles Champion at Evangel Christian Academy (2013-2015). Devon moved to Montana (St. Ignatius) in 2015. He is currently the assistant tennis coach for St. Ignatius, was an intern for USTA Montana District office this past summer (2018) and currently works part-time at Peak Health & Wellness while in his 4th year of schooling at the University of Montana as an Elementary Education Major with a Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade minor…he is a very busy man!
SEAN HARRIS (5.5)
Management and Engineering Instructor, Montana State University
Sean, originally from Billings, was a three-time undefeated Montana high school singles champion and lost just one set in his high school singles career. He played extensively on the USTA junior circuit, achieving national age group rankings as high as top 70 in singles and top 20 in doubles. He played four years of Division I tennis at West Point, where he rose to the #2 singles position and earned all-conference honors. After graduating West Point in 2009, Sean served five years in the Army as a Field Artillery officer, including one deployment to Afghanistan. After leaving the Army, Sean earned a Master’s Degree at Cal Berkeley while playing on the national championship winning club tennis team. After Berkeley, Sean finally made it back to Montana, where he completed his Ph. D. in Industrial Engineering and currently teaches at Montana State University. Sean has volunteered with the Billings Senior High tennis teams and helped coached juniors in Bozeman and Billings, to include three state singles champions, one state doubles championship team, and seven all-state finishers.
AARON WEBSTER (5.5)
Co-Director, Los Positas Tennis Center
Santa Barbara, CA
A life-long resident of Santa Barbara, California, Aaron Webster’s professional teaching experience spans two decades, nurturing and producing some of Santa Barbara’s top ranked junior players, as well as traveling and working with professional men and women players in the ATP and WTA.
After graduating from Santa Barbara High School, Aaron attended Vanguard University as their # 1 singles and doubles player. His post college playing experience included the professional satellite tour, earning him top ten rankings in the Southern California Men’s Open Singles in 1994 and 1995.
In 2007, Aaron re located to Los Angeles, where he worked and traveled the professional tennis circuit. In 2008, Aaron coached WTA tour pro Olga Govortsova, accompanying her to the Australian Open. Aaron also traveled to Grand Slam tournaments with touring pros Robbie Ginepri, Robert Kendrick and Ryan Sweeting. To this day, Aaron keeps in close contact with the professional players, often offering advice and strategy.
Current co-director at Los Positas Tennis center in Santa Barbara (past 4 years).
BRIAN HANFORD (5.0)
Head Coach, Hellgate High School
Brian Hanford has been a tennis professional in Missoula for the last 23 years. He coached at the University of Montana for 10 years and has worked as a private coach both at the Missoula Athletic Club and independently. Brian has successfully helped dozens of Missoula juniors play college tennis and has coached the last 11 State AA singles champions to come out of Missoula. Currently, Brian is in his 4th season as Head coach at Hellgate High School and also helps manage his two restaurants in town, The Staggering Ox and The Breakfast Club. His wife Britt is an English teacher at Hellgate High School and they have two children, Oscar, 10, and Georgia, 6.