Godwin takes over as director of Aspen Tennis Club, tourney season underway
Gayle Godwin’s tennis career began in the public courts of Southern California. Returning to them here in Aspen simply feels poetic.
“I started playing tennis in the public parks in Long Beach, so I sort of feel my tennis career has come full circle,” Godwin said Friday. “I love the opportunity that public courts provide for people to play.”
Godwin, who has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for about three decades, took over as the director of tennis for the Aspen Tennis Club this summer. She replaced Gary Quandt, who lived part time in Oregon and decided not to return to Aspen for family reasons.
Quandt had also been the head coach of the boys tennis team at Aspen High School, a position now filled by his former assistant, Steve Sand, who also took over the AHS girls tennis team in the spring.
Godwin, 66, sees this as a temporary move, but is happy to step in as long as needed.
“For Aspen to have this facility with six clay courts is just incredible. I happily took this job,” Godwin said. “I’m close to retiring. So I don’t know. I’ll make a decision at the end of this year, probably. We’ll see how I feel. It’s been a bit more administrative than I thought it would be.”
In the meanwhile, the Aspen Tennis Club is up and running for the summer. The club hosts three tournaments, with the first having gotten underway Friday. The Aspen for Animals Adult NTRP tournament runs through Sunday and benefits the Aspen Animal Shelter. It’s a skill-level tournament and includes both men’s and women’s singles and doubles, plus mixed doubles. About 50 people are taking part.
Godwin’s no stranger to tournaments like this. She played and later coached at UCLA and eventually worked her way up to coaching for the U.S. national team. She was among the coaches for the Americans when Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics. In Aspen, Godwin has worked in a number of positions, the majority with either the Aspen Club or Snowmass Club.
“I love being around tennis and I love the people and we have a great staff. So all that is really good,” Godwin said of returning to the public courts. “They weren’t finding the right person, I guess, to take the job, so I stepped in. I was familiar with the workings and everything and working with good people, so I thought I’d just help out.”
The Aspen Tennis Club will host its other two tournaments in August, beginning with the Aspen Elks Lodge-sponsored Junior Classic from Aug. 3 to 5. The Aspen City Championships, an age-group tournament, runs from Aug. 17 to 19. For more information, go to http://www.aspenrecreation.com.
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