'A breath of fresh air'

New Castlewood tennis pro aims to change up program as club looks at possible expansion

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."

Olson agreed.

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)."

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Like this comment
Posted by Congrats!
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Congratulations! Sounds like a great hire. I’m sure Castlewood mgmt. team did a thorough background check this time.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Be mindful parents. Children have a right to be safe from sexual abuse. If it can happen, it can happen again.


Like this comment
Posted by marie
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Congrats, Even if Castlewood had done a background check on Henry Germain nothing would have showed up. The other club in the dessert let him quit rather than do research on the allegations. Good job Castlewood for not doing the same thing!

Like this comment
Posted by In short
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm

So, sure, Kudos to Castlewood for doing their due diligence...aka...doing the right thing...their job.

Watch your kids yourself until they finish high school or college, if possible. Don't entrust them to anyone at anytime for any reason.

That said, this man they have now hired had nothing to do with the sicko that was convicted, and I don't think this should be his welcome.

Welcome to Castlewood, Sir. Enjoy your stay in our town.

Like this comment
Posted by Enjoy the fiction
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Ineffective, unrealistic, a poor communicator, wishy-washy, a bigot, bad tennis-instructor, WASTE of Castlewood member's $$$$...YES....Child molestor....nooooo! The kids want nothing to do with him! And don't start the "you never know" thing. This article is a fairy tale!

Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 20, 2009 at 8:14 am

My kids love Marsh he is doing a great job. Also he is building a FANTASTIC team with Adri, Sandy and Allen. Boy are we licky.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Enjoy The Fiction,

Whoa! That sure is a big bag of dirt you're throwing on the table. Would you mind providing some clarification as to where it came from?


Like this comment
Posted by Love the game
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I cannot speak for all of Enjoy The Fiction's comments but some clarification:

Poor communicator - communication with staff is poor to say the least. They are not aware of things half the time. Talks down to the juniors who are offended by it. IF he returns phone calls, be prepared to wait days if at all.

Bad manager - does not think through decisions, makes decisions in bad faith and listens to a few select members and does not consider what is best for all members. The fun and spirit of the program has diminished under his leadership. Extremely disorganized, too many examples to list here. Teambuilding is non existent. The staff are professionals and trying their best and being supportive to make it work.

In fairness to Marsh, he has good intentions, is a good person, passionate about tennis, just is not the seasoned and effective manager Castlewood wanted and needs. Disappointment in him is not just a few complainers.

I hope the GM steps up and addresses these issues just like he did with the Henry situation, though this is nothing of that magnitude.

Like this comment
Posted by longtimer
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

the only thing I don't like is this self promoter taking credit for resurfacing the courts and a refurbished pro shop..for god's sakes, I pay the dues, they do it with my money, and he takes the credit..get real

Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

It appears that Mr. Riggs was at Castlewood for about a year. Can anyone shed light on why? What was he able to accomplish while he was there?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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