Cari Buck

Community Tennis Spotlight – Cari Buck

Ask Cari Buck what her dream job is, and she doesn’t delay in responding: “I’m living it.”

Working in tennis has always been the goal for the current Manager of Client Services at Tennis Channel who also volunteers her time as the current USPTA California Division President, as well as serving on the USTA National Wheelchair Committee.

Cari Buck at French Open

“Tennis has been my life, part of my DNA,” said Buck, a Manhattan Beach resident. “I knew I always wanted to work in tennis.”

It’s indeed in the genes as Buck’s mother Annette is the long-time Adult/Senior coordinator for the SCTA and her father Jim played tennis for USC and captained the Southern California Maze Cup junior team for many years. The Bucks were the second family to be named SCTA Family of the Year back in 1985, as well as earning the same honor with the USTA the same year.

Buck got her USPTA teaching pro certification following college and spent six months in Florida before heading off to Maui where she worked for five years at both the Royal Lahaina and the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua.

It was there where she first was introduced to wheelchair tennis, some 25 years ago. “I didn’t know a thing about it,” Buck said. “I showed up one day and they said, ‘You’re going to teach wheelchair tennis.’

Cari Buck at US Open

“I was fascinated by it,” she continued. “The guys I was working with when I started were just so funny and fun to be around. They were learning forehands from me, and I was learning life lessons from them. I’ve always said that the wheelchair athletes are so grateful for everything that they have. And so many people we encounter today just wish they had more.”

Buck remains active on a national level with the USTA board, as well as coaches at the USTA / ITF International Junior Camp in Mission Viejo in July.

Following a return to California, Buck began working for Bob Kramer and the SCTA on the Mercedes-Benz Cup ATP event. Buck then worked in sales for a fitness company with 25 reps reporting to her.

She yearned to get back into tennis and took a marketing job at Tennis Channel almost 8 years ago. “I get to wear a lot of hats,” she said. “I work closely with our Ad Sales team and their clients, do social media, and I also work with our Tennis Industry Relations team at events, working with the ATP, WTA and players as an interview coordinator for green screen shoots, live interviews and even Bag Checks.”

Cari Buck

About six years ago, her friend Eric Stephens of Lakewood Tennis Center got her to join the USPTA Board, and thought she’d be a perfect fit to become president of the organization someday.

“My parents instilled in me this whole idea of giving back,” Buck said. “I’ve gotten so much from this game and I wanted others to be able to get just as much. So whether it’s because I work at Tennis Channel to promote the game, or if it’s giving back to teaching pros, or if it’s my wheelchair tennis work, I just want others to have some of the same amazing experiences that I’ve had.”

The recently concluded USPTA California Division convention was a huge success, according to Buck, with speaking lineup that included respected and noted USPTA teaching pros Dennis Ralston, Angel Lopez and Steve Johnson Sr., who had attendees “glued to their seats.”

“It was an unbelievable weekend,” Buck said. “Speaker-wise, it was the best lineup we’ve ever had. And we had more attendees than ever before. The feedback I’ve gotten back has been amazing. (USPTA CEO) John Embree was there and was amazed. He said we set the bar pretty high. I think the best thing about it was just seeing all the hard work and it how it paid off.”

And it wasn’t just on court discussion on strategy and tactics. “We did different drills, had a fitness class and even one on social media. It wasn’t just on-court. It was a great weekend of educating and networking. That’s what I wanted to bring to the USPTA conference: a great weekend of educating and networking. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow in the profession.”

Buck is asked again what, if any, job she would desire. She can’t think of anything that would make her as happy as what she’s doing now.

“I just have so many friends who get up every day and hate their jobs,” Buck said. “I just consider myself so lucky.”

 

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