Our Team 2019-02-04T17:28:07+00:00

Meet our team

Below you can learn about our entire staff including our talented coaches, all of whom are USPTA certified, and have completed the most recent USTA Play Safe Program. Take a moment to learn a little about their personality on and off the court.

Management

Eric Rand, Owner

Ranked Juniors  |  KCUT Academy  |  Advanced Prep

Eric is one of the new Owners at OPRC. He spends the majority of his time deeply involved with our top junior players. He is a long time Kansas City tennis coach, player and figurehead with now 17 years of tennis coaching experience. Eric’s players have earned success at every playing level, from more than 40 Missouri Valley Champions to ITF titleholders to players competing at the Professional level.

Elliott McDermed, Owner

Youth Development  |  10 and Under Players  |  Ranked Juniors  |  Academy Coaching

Elliott is one of the new Owners at OPRC. He spends the majority of his time deeply involved with our top junior players. He is a long time Kansas City tennis coach, player and figurehead with now 21 years of tennis coaching experience. Elliott’s players have earned success at every playing level, from more than 50 Missouri Valley Champions, to ITF titleholders and players competing at the Professional level. He has been a USTA Regional Training Center Director, National Prince Plugged In Director and proudly represents the Heart of America as the VP of Junior Competition. Before working in junior development he was a collegiate coach at Saddleback College, Baker University and the University of Kansas. A source of great pride for Elliott is the number of players that he’s trained who have moved on to compete at the NCAA Division I college level. Over 40 players in the past 10 years have gone on to play at the highest level of NCAA competition. Elliott believes that being a student-athlete in college makes for a much more fulfilling overall experience. There is a college out there that is perfect for everyone to pursue their education and tennis goals!

Anthony Perkins, Director of Tennis

Adult Training  |  Competitive Juniors  |  Top Notch Hitting Partner  |  10 and Under

Coaching Style: ” Art in Simplicity,” I try to keep things simple and direct to all my students with my main focus being on the tactical side of tennis. I enjoy teaching all ages and abilities with my aim being to help students get playing and competing as fast as I can. Tennis Resume: Currently Top 50 in ITF world rankings, 35 + Division. USPTA Certified, 10 and under Tennis Trainer, adult situational training and Cardio Tennis certified.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? My mum was teaching tennis with a foam ball on a badminton court in England so I just jumped in.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? The ability to problem solve and compete. Gotta understand you’re just out there on your own.
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? No bureaucracy as we are locally owned by individuals that understand our local market.
  • What’s the most important part of our program? OPRC has something to offer everyone regardless of age, level, and we try to offer different things for members to do.

Liza McRoy, Assistant General Manger

Not a single guest at OPRC gets by Liza without a smile and “hello.” For the past year Liza has risen to the challenge of handling the many changes at OPRC, fielding countless questions and making our environment a pleasant one from the time you enter the club until the time you leave. Liza is on the “front lines” helping each and every guest enjoy the game they love. Liza has a wonderful attitude and approaches each day with a warm and inviting touch only her personality can provide.

Lauren Maichel, Front Desk Manager

Lauren joined the OPRC hospitality team last year. Her personality is inviting, warm, and she is one of the most knowledgeable team members at OPRC. Lauren “holds down the fort” each and every day. She is the first person you see entering the club, and the last person to wish you well as you head home. Lauren is one of the reasons OPRC feels like home, and she works hard to make sure everyone’s experience in tennis is a great one. Make sure you stop by and say HI!

Jacob Hannas, Retired Legend

Retired Management  |  Telling Jokes

Jake retired at the end of April 2018 and although he says he’s done, he still comes here all the time.

Jake is as much a part of OPRC as the walls that surround our courts. He is the heart of our club, and someone who takes the extra time each day to make sure everyone is exactly where they should be and want to be on court. Jake is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to his daily workload, but his most important function is member relations and helping to keep everyone in line:) Jakes coaching style is geared more towards Senior play, our leagues and classes.  My tennis resume: Purdue University Tennis 1967-70; USPTA Member 35 years; Missouri Valley Sectionals Senior 55 And Over and 60 And Over Champion.  Years Teaching Experience: 40+ years.

Professionals

Jason Kane, Director of Adult Tennis

Adult Lessons  |  Youth Development  |  Ranked Adults  |  Adult Academy

I would describe my coaching style as: “Straight to the point” Hardcore, if you are a 4.0 and want to be a 4.5, I’m your guy. I am known in Kansas City for taking a good adult player and making them a great adult player!   My tennis resume: Have taken 30 USTA teams to national championships. Taken many adults from 3.5 and 4.0, to 4.5 to 5.0 level players. Played for the Kansas City Explorers Pro WTT team 2010-2012 and Professional Doubles player 1995-1999.   Years Teaching Experience: 20 years

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? It’s pretty simple, my grandpa used to to hit with me on a backboard. I just fell in love with the game that way.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? Gotta watch the ball:)
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? We simply have the best team around. Hands down!
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? Having the ability to watch someone win their first match at a new, higher level. Priceless.

Kevin “KB” Braun, Director of Junior Pathway

Youth Development  |  10 and Under Players  |  Ranked Juniors  |  Seniors

I would describe my coaching style as: I’m all about the “FUN”damentals. I want each player I coach to love the game of tennis. I want the players I coach to use the lessons we learn on the court about working hard, dreaming big, and always trying to improve, to transfer off the court in school and life. As the Director of Junior Pathway, my goal is to create an individual program for each player and to create an environment that will help each player achieve their goals. My tennis resume: All-American Player at JCCC and Colorado Christian University – 2013 Missouri Valley USPTA Pro of the Year – Missouri Valley USPTA Board Member – Ranked second in USTA Men’s 30’s Nationals 2011 – Invited and attended both Regional and National level conventions to speak about 10 and Under Tennis and developing youth tennis players. Years Teaching Experience: 14 years.

Marco Rodriguez, Head Coach KCUT Academy

Advanced Junior Tennis  |  Adult Lessons  |  Academy Training  |  Tournament Training

Marco has over 20 years of experience teaching and developing tennis players of all levels and ages. Since moving to Kansas City in 2001, Marco has continued to developed many great tennis players with dreams of playing college tennis. His players have competed in the SEC, B10 and Big East conferences as well as NCAA Division III schools. In addition to developing young athletes into collegiate players, Marco has a passion to teach adults at all USTA levels rated 3.0 to 4.5. Marco was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. He attended the University of Texas – Pan American and graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? I saw it on TV and told my dad I wanted to do that! I didn’t even know what it was called at the time.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? The positive life long skills that I am able to pass along to the people I come in contact with: work ethic, effort, attitude, passion, belief, competitiveness to name a few.
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? The staff, we have a great team at OP that doesn’t hesitate to help each other out.
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? Having the ability to positively influence the kids on a daily basis. Creating a great tennis player is just icing on the cake.

Chris Claypool, Head Coach 10’s and 12’s High Performance

Junior Tennis  |  10 and Under Tennis  |  Adult Training  |  Quick Start

I would describe my coaching style as: Patient, technique driven, and fun. My area of focus is primarily Juniors (ages 7-12 years old) looking to take it to the next level. I very much enjoy helping kids develop a solid foundation that will allow them to take their game as far as they would like. All the while having fun of course! My tennis resume: Head of 10 & Under Tennis; Former college player at Westminister College; Varsity Singles & Doubles; USPTR Certified. OPRC: Work extensively with QuickStart, High Performance Orange and HP Green Ball classes. Years Teaching Experience: 6 years, 3 as former head pro at KC Racquet Club.

Skip Span, Director of  Varsity Academy

Ranked Juniors  |  10 and Under Players  |  Academy  |  Youth Development

I’m a firm believer in paying attention to detail and that hard work always pays off. Tennis Resume: #1 in the east (juniors); Top 20 in the country (juniors); 6th winningest player all-time at Illinois State University; Former ITF/USTA Pro Circuit player. Coaching Resume: PTR Performance Coach; High Performance USTA Coach. 3 years coaching experience.

Jorge Acosta, Tennis Professional

Youth Development  |  10 and Under Players  |  Adult Lessons/Clinics  |  Seniors

If you were to ask many of our Junior players who have spent many years training at OPRC where they started most would say, “with Coach Jorge.” Plain and simple, Jorge will make you fall in love with tennis. His passion is to train with our youngest students and show them that tennis isn’t so hard, and tons of fun. Jorge is a work horse who handles our beginner and intermediate clinics for adults each day. Jorge is colorful, active, and has a very happy attitude.

Michael Jones, Junior Development Coordinator

Competitive Juniors |  Beginner Juniors|  Beginner Adults

I would describe my coaching style as… Passionate, high energy and fun. I love working with both juniors and adults. My area of focus is primarily juniors looking to advance to a high performance level. I love working on fundamentals and teaching players how to use what they have to win matches. I believe in goal setting and doing everything I can to help you reach your goals! My tennis resume: PTR Certified Professional in 10 and Under, 11-17 and Adult Development. Director of Juniors at The Columbia Association (Maryland) and coach at Johns Hopkins University. Years Teaching Experience: 7 years at tennis clubs and 4 years with college tennis.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? I started playing with my dad, who taught me all of the wrong technique, but definitely taught me to love the game.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? Sportsmanship is the most important. It’s a lifelong skill that will help you in many ways for sure.
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? Our staff is more dedicated and hard working than anyplace I’ve ever encountered.
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? I just love watching the kids accomplish their goals. Hard not to find excitement in their excitement.

Mark Valladares, Tennis Pro

Junior Lessons  |  Junior Clinics  |  Offsite Programs  |  Brain Surgery

My coaching style can be characterized as a Zen approach to the power baseline game. I love to cultivate adults and junior players with an interest in hitting with a high degree of technical merit. I draw from a deep interest in Neuroscience to develop cutting edge skill acquisition modalities and to understand the role of the mind during play. The Zen approach should not be underestimated, one my players after going undefeated his senior year at the Collegiate level, recently captured the KC Open title and is now pursuing the pro tour. USPTA P-1 certified Amherst College, Neuroscience and English Associate Pro at OPRC (since 2000) Head Pro at the Plaza Tennis Center (’99) Associate Pro at Carriage Club (’97-99) As way of reaching out to the community I have created and conducted high quality Parks and Rec Programs the City of OP (since 2004) that has produced several ranked juniors with a low cost solution for high performance training.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? I started playing at the US Embassy in Kuwait, where my mother worked. We were among the Embassy kids who entertained the children of diplomats. It taught me the diplomacy of coaching at an early age.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? It’s the proper use of the mind or mental energy so that thinking principals that are fundamental to development are put in place.
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? OPRC offers the whole package of a premium tennis training environment.
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? Consciousness, the most exciting part of the program for sure. It’s the implementation of cutting edge learning modalities to optimize learning and performance.

Phillip Locklear, Tennis Pro

Junior Training  |  Adult Development  |  Extreme Tennis  |  Beginner Training

I would describe my coaching style as…engaging, positive, and energetic. My goal is to have my players improve through every drill. My ideal student is anyone who wants to improve and work hard to achieve their goals. I like to maintain a dialogue and get feedback from my players to make sure we stay on the correct path to achieve their goals.” Phillip was an All-American at Whitman College and received All-NWC First Team and Best Senior Performer Awards. Phillip also coached at Eagle Fustar Academy and also trained with KCUT in the past few years.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? My parents signed me up for a summer recreation tennis league in the 5th grade and then moved where there was no tennis for someone my age and did not play again until I attended my local high school’s summer tennis camp. Off to the races from there.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? Simply having fun and being passionate about the game so that it sticks with you for a lifetime.
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? Our facility that houses us is pretty sweet:)
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? It’s the energy from the kids to learn. The positive learning environment provided at OPRC offers the kids a real chance to fall in love with tennis and it’s exciting to watch them enjoy things so much.

Travis Neilson, Tennis Pro – Physio

Ranked Juniors  |  Physical/Personal Training  |  KCUT Academy

I would describe my coaching style as: Calm and relaxed style with emphasis on improving physical capabilities especially speed, strength, footwork, and agility. My tennis resume: Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Indiana University; Played Tennis at Indiana University. Years Teaching Experience: 3 years.

Mike Young, Tennis Pro

Adult Lessons/Clinics  |  Youth Development  |  10 and Under Players  |  Seniors

Mike has been a Director of Tennis at an award winning tennis resort, a Head Pro at indoor and outdoor clubs, a PTR Tester (Certifying Tennis Pros), and Director of the VanDermeer Midwest Tennis University. He mainly works with adults of all levels with the philosophy “different strokes for different folks!”

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How did I start playing tennis? There were a few courts just across the street from my house and my small town had a strong tennis tradition.
  • What’s the most important part of learning tennis? “Have fun, remember it’s just a game.”
  • What’s the difference between OPRC and other clubs? We have the most experienced and professional staff, with programs for all ages and abilities, and an award winning facility.
  • What’s the most exciting part of my job? The sense of satisfaction and fulfillment of watching my students improve and reach their personal goals.

Maria Cardona, Tennis Pro

Adult Lessons/Clinics  |  Youth Development  |  Competitive Players  |  Anyone who enjoys tennis

Maria played ITF juniors and was ranked as high as 200 in the world! She was recruited to play for KU and played 3 out of 4 years at number 1 and 2 spot. When playing for KU, her team beat other teams ranked top 10 in the nation. Their highest ranking was 20 in the nation and led the team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years!

Personal FAQ’s:

  • What’s my coaching style? My coaching style focuses on the tactical side of tennis, so players know how to work smarter on the court. I also believe in hark work and that even when you’re having a bad day, you can get something out of that practice.
  • What’s do you excel at? I excel at making players compete a their highest level and help them transition into college tennis.

Alex Koca, Tennis Pro

Ranked Juniors  |  KCUT Academy  |  Youth Development

Alex played Division 1 tennis for four years in the Big East Conference at Creighton University, finishing in the Top 10 all time for total career wins, and in the top 5 for career doubles wins.

Personal FAQ’s:

  • How would you describe your coaching style? I would describe my coaching style as energetic and easy going, but an emphasis on hard work.
  • What is something you focus on? One of my favorite things to focus on is tactics and strategy. Every player has their own strengths and must learn how to use them to their advantage.

Bill Guifoil, Tennis Pro

Senior Tennis  |  Table Tennis  |  Swapping Stories  |  Smiling

Bill Guifoil has been a prominent figure at OPRC since the day we opened our doors. He is well-known throughout Kansas City and the United States as a legendary player and coach. Bill brings more than 50+ years of experience in coaching to our players, but most of all Bill brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience our members appreciate and enjoy. Everyone enjoys chatting with Bill and hearing about his experiences over the years. Bill is the former coach of Rockhurst College, was world ranked in table tennis and the oldest athlete to compete in the 2012 Olympic Qualifier. Currently Bill runs our table tennis league and open play time, and also organizes our Sunday night tennis league as well.

GreatLifeKC

Michael Swoboda, Resident Fitness Trainer

After growing up in Topeka, Michael attended Washburn University where he received a BA in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology. Some classes that he still finds relevant to his work today would be Fitness Testing & Exercise Prescription, Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries, Planning and Leading Exercise, as well as Fitness & Sports Nutrition. Prior to graduating, Michael interned at Rebound Physical Therapy and Sports Performance where he helped lead individual and group workouts. Michael is experienced in many different areas including: corrective exercises, high Intensity interval training, strength training, sport specific performance, weight loss & nutrition. He is also a CPT through the American College of Sports Medicine. Michael started personal training with GreatLIFE in 2016.

Inside Sports Clinic

Dr. Adam Ligon

Dr. Adam Ligon has been with Inside Sports Clinic for 5 years.  He earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Logan College in St. Louis, along with a Master’s of Sports Science and Rehabilitation.  He earned his Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Fitness at the University of Missouri.  He has served with the sports medicine teams at University of Missouri, University of Lindenwood and Mid-America Nazarene University.  Dr. Ligon is the Team Chiropractor for The Kansas City Phantoms.

Becky Zehr, MT

Becky has been a massage therapist for 15 years. She graduated from Carlson College of Massage Therapy in 2002. Becky has spent majority of her career here in Johnson County. She has worked jointly with chiropractors and gyms. Many of her clients are professional and college athletes, along with individuals who suffer from neck, back, hip, and shoulder pain. Her techniques have also helped many individuals with headaches or migraines.