For Marsh Riggs, life has been pretty good in his 22 years as a director of tennis at various facilities throughout California and Oregon.
Along the way, Riggs and his wife Kathy have been blessed with a pair of sons, and have enjoyed life in some wonderful cities in the two states. But Riggs has always been searching for what he considers the perfect spot to run a tennis program--a spot where the members and the staff work together to build a sensational tennis experience.
And come February of this year, Riggs may just have found such a place when he started as the director of tennis at the Castlewood Country Club.
"This is a breath of fresh air," Riggs said of landing at Castlewood, after spending the last couple of years at the Millennium Sports Club El Dorado in Shingle Springs. "(Castlewood) recognizes how important tennis can be. As for the members, this is the pinnacle for me. They have been so supportive--the members are an unbelievable group."
Certainly Castlewood is long overdue for positive vibes. Over the last two years, the club has been in the news a lot, but the sexual abuse case against former tennis pro of the club, Henry Germain, and the killings of a husband and wife in their Castlewood Drive home, has not been the kind of buzz the club had hoped to create.
Riggs is at the forefront, at least in the tennis program, of making things different.
"As bad as things have been, it's time to turn the page and have a new beginning," he said. "It's a new dawn and it's time we turn things into a positive situation."
As far as Castlewood General Manager Jerry Olson is concerned, Riggs is the perfect fit.
"I think the one thing which stood out is his experience and maturity," Olson said. "We needed someone to come in and start over with our program. Basically, Marsh is just a nice guy and the first time you meet him, I think that resonates."
Riggs was a former multi-sport prep sports standout at South Pasadena High, who later played college tennis at Canada College in Redwood City, then UC Santa Barbara.
At Santa Barbara, he was the on the top doubles team and was the No. 3 singles player, winning the PCAA Doubles title for the Gauchos.
After leaving college, Riggs spent a couple of years playing professional events before turning his talents to teaching, where he's also excelled.
Along the way, Riggs has picked up awards such as the Nike P.L.A.Y Coach of the Game Award, as sponsored by the Portland Trailblazers; the NJTL Scholarship Award, which was presented at the U.S. Open; and the USTA/USPTA Partnership Award for Junior Development.
His drive to be successful as a player carried over to teaching and it was evident the moment he arrived at Castlewood, as he wasted no time getting the courts resurfaced and the pro shop remodeled.
Throw in a new, positive attitude around the courts, tennis stands on par with the golf program, which boasts two championship caliber courses.
"Now the facility is not the second cousin to the rest," Riggs said. "It's up to the standards of Castlewood."
Castlewood also represented a change for Riggs in the way he runs his program. After stints at several public clubs, where complete overhauls were needed, once he started Super Bowl weekend at Castlewood, Riggs saw a different picture.
"We had all the tools already at our disposal," Riggs said of himself and staff professionals Alan Alvistur and Adriana Ciarnuto. "I came in with a vision of what (Castlewood) could be, then little by little, recognized how special Castlewood has been. I didn't make changes like I had in the past. We retained what has made it special. We became indoctrinated in how beautiful and special Castlewood is."
With the membership energized about tennis, Riggs sees even bigger things coming for the current, four-court facility.
"Changes are possible--I think we have options for growth," said Riggs, who mentioned either an expansion next to the current facility, or perhaps a second facility down by the Valley golf course as possibilities. "We look to overwhelm the facility and let our business determine our future."
We're in the process of re-developing our strategic plan," he said. "As tennis grows, I think it's only natural for the club to look at (expansion)."