Community Spotlight: Beth Kuney
After a 17-year hiatus from the game of tennis, Beth Kuney didn’t waste any time getting back into the game she loved so much as a child. And doing so in the community where she learned the game was an added bonus.
The Bakersfield tennis community thrives because of people like Kuney, who in February will mark her third year as the executive director of the Kern Community Tennis Association.
Kuney came up the ranks as a junior during the tennis boom of the 1970s, and was introduced to the game by her father, who for years was involved in junior tennis in Bakersfield.
“He always had a passion for junior tennis,” Kuney said. “After my break from tennis I saw an opportunity to get involved again and he was the reason. As well as the people involved. They’re just so great to work with. I took on his love of spreading the sport and getting people interested in tennis.”
Kuney said she was surprised upon her return to the sport 10 years ago how so much had changed. “When I got back into tennis I knew nothing about what the USTA was doing and all about the leagues and all the things the KCTA was doing.”
Kuney is a 4.5 rated player and is currently the USTA League Coordinator for her area and is captaining a tri-level 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 league.
“We’ve been able to get a lot of new players into the game, and league play is a great way to introduce those to the game and to re-energize their competitive side,” she said.
Kuney graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and was able to play college tennis for the small Division III school. “It’s a long story on how I got there, but I wasn’t looking to play tennis in college, but was able to so it was an added bonus,” she said.
After earning her law degree, Kuney got married and began a family. It wasn’t until her daughter found an interest in tennis that Kuney got back out there after 17 years. “That’s the great thing about tennis,” she said. “You can play as a junior, and in college and put your racket down for 10 years and then come back to it. Just this morning I was out playing and was next to two ladies in their 70s playing. So it is truly a sport you can play your whole life.”
Kuney has worked alongside Aisling Bowyer, the SCTA Tennis Service Representative in Bakersfield, to put on free Saturday clinics for kids, as well as set up a meeting with the Kern Community to get to know new SCTA Executive Director Lance Lee, who recently made the trip to Bakersfield to meet with the group.
“I know Beth comes from a family that has given so much to tennis, but more recently she has really been amazing,” Bowyer said. “If I ever need anything or information in Bakersfield, she is the first person I go to. She really has her hand in every part of the tennis community.”