It’s been more than 35 years since Ronald Reagan stated, during his first inaugural address, “Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.” We discovered heroes in every state, starting with the determined 69-year-old who won a match at an ITF Pro Circuit event earlier this year in the Alabama town of Pelham, and culminating with the coach who has overcome multiple sclerosis to build a winning program at the University of Wyoming. Their compelling stories of courage, perseverance and achievement demonstrate that the message delivered by our 40th President rings as true today as it did then.
Ted Hoehn was 25 years old when he got a job offer to take over for his father as the head tennis professional at Longwood Cricket Club—one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis clubs in the world—in Chestnut Hill, MA.
He turned it down.
Instead, he risked his reputation and livelihood to start a summer tennis camp for kids with his Vermont-based business partner, Alden Bryan. It was 1968, perhaps the most significant year in tennis history as the Open era officially began. Hoehn, who had a successful college tennis career at the University of North Carolina and went on to play at several well-known European tour stops, chose to forego the prize-money potential of a pro career.
“I had a lot of youngsters that I gave lessons to in college,” says Hoehn, who also served as a tennis coach at West Point. “I always enjoyed working with kids. It was something I dreamed about doing for a living.”