Looking over the criteria for the Pete Brown Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s easy to see why Ventura County’s Tom Rohrbacher was selected as the recent recipient of the annual award given by the United States Professional Tennis Association.
According to the award description: “The Pete Brown Lifetime Achievement Award is to be given to the USPTA member who has made the most outstanding contribution to the California Division and the tennis teaching profession, over an extended time, similar to the contributions made by Pete Brown.”
Award winners have to have accomplished the following (to name a few): Attendance at California Division events; volunteering on behalf of the California Division; mentoring new teaching professionals; developing junior players; past California Division Awards and past national awards.
Rohrbacher, the Director of Tennis at the Ojai Valley Inn and Resort since 2000, has indeed fulfilled that criteria and more over the years.
Rohrbacher has been teaching tennis for more than 37 years, and was named the USPTA’s District Pro of the Year in 1993, and again in 2004. In 1999, Rohrbacher was awarded the Adaptive Coach of the Year and from 2003-2005 served as the USPTA California Division President.
He was on the USPTA nominating committee for 10 years and says he finally stepped away for good in 2014 to let some of the younger guys have a shot at leading the group.
Rohrbacher said he being named the Pete Brown Lifetime Achievement Award winner was “totally unexpected.” He started teaching in Scottsdale, Ariz., at Camelback Mountain with John Gardiner. He then spent stints in Keystone, Colo., Sun Valley, Idaho, and Salt Lake City.
Rohrbacher moved to Ventura in 1991 as the Director of Tennis at the Pierpont Racquet Club where he started the Hot Wheels Wheelchair Tournament and taught kids for Special Olympics and ran other wheelchair tennis events.
He then headed 15 miles east to Ojai in 2000. “The greatest thing about resort teaching is that you get to see different people every day,” said Rohrbacher, who has also served as a high school tennis coach at Villanova Prep in Ojai. “I’ve met people from all over world and it’s been really fun. And you don’t have all the politics that come with some clubs.”
Rohrbacher’s resume also includes being a United States Racquet Stringers Association Master Racquet Technician and Tester, a National Tennis Rating Program head verifier in Ventura County, and a Babolat Advisory Staff member.
Rohrbacher still teaches four to five hours a day on court and stays busy running the pro shop and stringing racquets at the Valley Inn.
He loves being in a tennis mecca like Ojai and is also contributes his time working the long-standing tournament in Ojai. “To be associated with all the people who have helped make The Ojai the tournament it is is really neat,” Rohrbacher said. “Just the wealth of knowledge these people have. They continue making that tournament great.”