Tennis is life,” says Scott Schultz, a rep at LaSalle Street Securities in Williamston, Mich. He has had a 10-year love affair with the game.
Schultz is a coach, certified United States Tennis Association official and self-admitted tennis dad. As a result, he spends two to three weekends every month on the road either officiating or coaching one of his two children, Scott, 12, and Samantha, 15. Sometimes, he does both. While the kids are competing, dad is making calls several courts away as chair umpire.
It all started 10 years go when Schultz walked into a health and racquet club across the street from his office in Michigan. Tennis looked like fun, as well as a great way to exercise. He started playing and has since immersed himself in tennis as an official, coach, player and enthusiastic parent of two championship-caliber junior players.
For the past two years, Schultz has won an event featuring tennis league champions from throughout Michigan. But his real love of the game comes from coaching his kids and officiating.
He officiates at the college and national amateur levels. At the pro level, he's called lines on the senior tour for matches between Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. This past year, he officiated at the NCAA Division 1 men's Midwest Regional Championships. Schultz is currently doing “the Super Bowl of boys national tennis” — the boys Super National Hard Court Championships, where the winner gets an automatic entry into the U.S. Open.
Meanwhile, his son Scott is the top 12-year-old in Michigan, No. 10 in the Midwest and No. 29 nationally. Scott won the Sportsman's Award at a national zonal competition in Nashville, Tenn. The elder Schultz, who won't officiate his children's matches, was coaching a team of 10 other Midwestern players in the A-team competition. He never saw his son play in the tournament.
Scott Jr. also advanced to the Sweet 16 in the Super National Clay Court Championships in Greensboro, N.C., last month.
Meanwhile, daughter Samantha won the Michigan state high school doubles title for her school's state championship team. She is also nationally ranked.
When the Schultzes leave the tennis court, dad takes off his coach's cap.
“Once we leave, I'm their dad and we don't have to talk about tennis,” he says. “It's their decision whether to play or not. I know I'd be thrilled if they played tennis in college someday, but it would be their choice.”
The family's love of tennis has made them tennis nomads. For example, last Christmas Day and New Year's Eve were spent in Tucson, Ariz., for a junior event.
“It sets you up for an abnormal family life,” Schultz says. “I take along my cell phone and laptop wherever I go so I'm in contact with my clients.” Those tools, together with “a great office staff, keep me connected.”