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MEET THE TEAM

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IT TAKES GREAT PEOPLE TO MAKE A WORLD-CLASS FACILITY. MEET THE TEAM ON-COURT, BEHIND THE DESK, & BEHIND THE SCENES!

STAFF TENNIS AND PICKLEBALL PROS

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John Page

Staff Tennis & Pickleball Pro

John is a recent graduate from Liberty University where he played on the Flames Club Tennis Team. He obtained a degree in Sports Management and has a passion for helping others reach their potential. John puts an emphasis on mindset, focusing on players' ground stroke timing and can be seen swinging a one-handed backhand. He is a patient pro that enjoys working with players of all ages and skill levels. In his free time, John enjoys getting his Jeep fixed, Spartan Races, watching The Office, and cheering on the Boston Celtics. Tennis: $75/hr Pickleball: $65/hr

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Jess Jones

Staff Tennis & Pickleball Pro

Jess is a USPTA certified Tennis Professional originally from Warner Robins, Ga. He is a former Division 1 Tennis player who competed for both University of Tennessee and Clemson University. Jess achieved success throughout his junior career by being ranked top 10 in the United States in each age division. His passion for coaching started when working with elite junior tennis players at an academy in Atlanta, GA. Jess was then given the opportunity to transition into collegiate coaching as an Assistant Coach for Men’s and Women’s Tennis at University of North Georgia. Most recently Jess served as Director of Tennis at Camden Country Club where he was able to enhance his knowledge in the sport by working with all varieties of skill levels. Tennis: $85/hr Pickleball: $65/hr

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George Ferguson

Staff Tennis & Pickleball Pro

George comes to Gates by way of Havre, Montana. He has spent the last 20 years as one of the most successful high school tennis coaches in the Treasure State, leading the Blue Ponies to four boys and two girls state championships, and a combined 25 divisional titles. He has also coached 21 individual state champions. He has been a Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year on six different occasions, and was recently named a finalist for the NHSACA National Tennis Coach of the Year for 2023. As a coach/instructor, George excels in teaching fundamentals and strategy to all skill levels, as well having vast experience working with juniors and with group lessons. 

As a player, George was a two-time Class A All-State and four-time All-Conference player at Havre High, as well as an accomplished junior in the ITA. He earned collegiate opportunities at NCAA Concordia College and Eastern Montana College, but opted to attend journalism school at the University of Montana, after which he forged an award-winning, 22-year career in sports journalism, and in upper newspaper management. Off the tennis court, George is an avid golfer, having also coached high school golf for four years. He and his wife Amy are also dedicated hikers and love the outdoors in all seasons, and they are excited to be a part of the Gates team and the Denver community. Tennis: $70/hr Pickleball: $65/hr

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Chris Foglia

Staff Tennis & Pickleball Pro

Chris Foglia is a USPTA Elite Tennis and Pickleball Teaching Professional who comes to the Gates Tennis Center from Lighthouse Point, Florida, where he taught at the Lighthouse Point Tennis Center and Hillsboro Club. Chris was a baseball college athlete who picked up a tennis racket and fell in love with the game. So if you want a pro who is versatile in tennis and pickleball, Chris is your pro. Chris is new to Denver and excited to be at Gates and in Colorado. He is pursuing his Master's in International Business at the University of Florida and enjoys all outdoor adventures ahead!

Tennis: $75/hr Pickleball: $65/hr

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Aaron Gambrell

Staff Tennis Pro

Aaron has been playing tennis ever since he was 8 years old and has fallen in love with it ever since. Originally from Lindale, TX, Aaron started his career out by reaching the highest level a junior can receive at the age of 17 in Texas which is classified as a Super Champ. In the years following he brought three district championships home for his high school team in doubles. After, Aaron received a tennis management certification from Tyler Junior College. After receiving this, Aaron chose to keep playing tennis for the University of The Ozarks. He played in the top spots on the lineup for singles and doubles, was nominated for athlete of the year in his conference, and even had the most wins on the team overall in the year 2022. In his free time Aaron enjoys concerts, hiking, and baseball! $65/hr

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Kenneth Kilgore

Staff Tennis Pro

Kenneth moved to Denver from Cincinnati, Ohio to pursue his masters degree in business administration. His specialties include tennis strategy and footwork.If you are looking for a kind, patient, goal-oriented pro, Kenneth is your guy. His hobbies include playing soccer, listening to Anderson Paak or Thundercat, and trying out new local delis. On the ATP tour, Kenneth is a big fan of Medvedev and continues to argue that his volley skills are very underrated. $70/hr

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Staff Tennis Pro

Eric Smith

Eric comes to us from Vero Beach, FL. Home to American number 1 player Mardy Fish. He trained, and worked on the green clay of Twin Oaks Tennis Club, One of south Florida’s top teaching, and private facilities. If you would like to work on your topspin forehand, or kick serve, Eric is your guy. He is a kind, silly, outgoing instructor, who can help develop players at any skill level. Eric is also USRSA certified, he can help you with any racket, and string questions you may have. When not on court, he loves to try new restaurants around Denver, and loves to talk food. $70/hr

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Lewis Charette

Staff Tennis & Pickleball Pro

Trading in his surfboard for a snowboard, Lewis comes to us by way of Wilmington, North Carolina. Lewis played his college tennis at DII Shepherd University in West Virginia, where he got his degree in Exercise Science. As a 4 year starter for the Rams Lewis played #1 doubles and #3 singles. When not on court you can find him hiking with his dog or at a concert. Lewis has a background teaching everyone from beginner level adults to high level juniors, so if you’re looking for a well rounded pro look no further! Lewis is available for group and private lessons.

Tennis & Pickleball: $60/hr

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Ariel Eisenberg

Staff Tennis Pro

Ariel is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and is excited to join the team over at Gates Tennis Center. Ariel is relocating from New York to Denver, and can't wait to explore the mile-high city! Ariel is a long-time tennis player, and is truly dedicated to her players'  happiness and successes. Back in New York, Ariel was a full-time tennis coach at a high-performance academy, focusing on technique and footwork with high energy and a big smile. She loves working with players of all ages and levels, making her lessons fun and creative with various drills and games! She is working on becoming USPTA certified, and can't wait to get on the court with you all! $70/hr

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Rebeka Martancikova

Staff Tennis Pro

Rebeka was born in Slovakia & started playing tennis when she was 6 in her hometown, Liptovsky Mikulas. As she got older, Rebeka realized that tennis is her true passion. My favorite part was playing matches, at one point in her playing career, she was a 3-time regional doubles champ. She played a lot of international tournaments and also attended Slovak extra-league events. Here in Colorado, she was third in the Candy Cup Women's Open and second in the Colorado State Open. At a point she realized she enjoys coaching even more than playing matches. She trained people of all ages was a part of various group training events such as tennis camps. She is very excited to continue her coaching career here in Colorado and looks forward to showing people new techniques of training she used in Europe! $70/hr

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Staff Tennis Pro

Sarah Megilligan

Sarah is originally from Pueblo, Colorado where she taught beginner and intermediate juniors, adults, and seniors from 2015 to 2021. Then she moved up north to continue her coaching career in the Mile High City. Sarah competed at the collegiate level from 2016 to 2020 in the 1st doubles and 2nd singles positions while obtaining her Mass Communications degree with a minor in leadership at Colorado State University-Pueblo. While on the court Sarah likes to focus on stroke techniques and cues, singles and doubles strategy, movement/footwork, and overall having fun with the sport. When off court Sarah spends her time running, lifting heavy things, hiking, mastering her photography/videography craft, and always staying curious by learning something new. $70/hr

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Rick Escobedo

Staff Tennis Pro

Rick is a junior pro specialist, starting as early as 5 years old. Originally from Roswell, New Mexico, he played high school tennis and many years in league tennis. He understands the importance of teaching kids and adults the fundamentals of the game, along with general core beliefs of being an athlete. Keeping his lessons fun and exciting he applies “Teaching for Transfer” which allows students to draw from other sports they are involved in to help cross train and apply to tennis. Rick has spent 17 seasons at Keystone working as a ski instructor and lead trainer. If you are hitting the slopes, keep your eye out for him! Consider Rick for the junior or adult player in your family.  $60/hr

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Hannah Hunter

Staff Tennis Pro

Hannah comes from the Texas hill country and grew up attending John Newcombe Tennis Camp and Academy as a camper and a tennis professional. Hannah is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish, and offers private and semi-private tennis lessons. She is energetic, patient and specializes in coaching juniors!  $60/hr

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Josh Vinlove

Staff Pickleball Pro

Josh grew up playing competitive tennis through high school in Oregon, attended the University of Oregon, served in the US Peace Corps in Guatemala, and came to live in Denver in 2002. Here, he continued skiing, backpacking, and climbing 14er's while raising a family and teaching Science at George Washington High School. His dad introduced him to pickleball in 2017, and he's been playing 3 hours a day, 5 days a week since then. He is a level 2 USAPA Referee and a Certified Coach through PPR. He is looking forward to sharing his love of the game and helping people on their journey to have fun and improve their pickleball skills.

​$85/hr semi-privates / $65/hr privates

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Patrick Wilhelm

Staff Pickleball Pro

Patrick was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. As a youngster he was an avid tennis and basketball player; due to never growing to 7 feet tall he decided to pursue tennis as a competitive sport. At the University of Oregon Patrick played number 1 singles and doubles on the club tennis team. He has played pickleball for over 4 years and loves how the sport has evolved; he is a creative thinker in player development and strategy. He continues to compete in 5.0+ tournaments both locally and nationally. When not playing or coaching Patrick enjoys trying new restaurants, watching Nuggets or Broncos, and nerding out about geography.

​$80/hr semi-privates / $60/hr privates

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Griffin Smeltzer

Staff Pickleball Pro

Griffin, drawn from a tennis foundation, found his way to becoming one of the top pickleball contenders in Dallas, Texas. In 2020, his love for the sport began and after three years of competitive play at the 4.5 and 5.0 level, he added coaching to spread his passion for the sport. He previously taught at Brookhaven Country Club, coincidentally chosen to host the 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships. Griffin emphasizes weaving fundamental proficiency with strategy while guiding his clients on their pickleball journeys.

​$80/hr semi-privates / $60/hr privates

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John Hendrickson

Staff Pickleball Pro

John was born and raised in Anchorage, AK and grew up a major sports fan. Despite being from Anchorage, his Grandpa was a Broncos fan which made John follow all the Colorado teams and helped in his decision to move to Denver. While in high school, he fell in love with tennis, and worked hard to play division II college tennis for his freshman and sophomore year. He then transferred to the University of Kentucky where he played club tennis. After graduating college in 2016, he stopped playing tennis despite still being a big fan. In 2021 he was missing playing competitive sports and was introduced to pickleball. Falling immediately in love, he’s been playing competitively in tournaments since 2022.

​$80/hr semi-privates / $60/hr privates

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR TENNIS PROS

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Andy Booth

IC Tennis Pro

Former Director of Tennis at The Snowmass Club in Aspen, Colorado, Andy is a USPTA Elite Professional, twice elected as President of the USPTA Intermountain Division. He’s had great success in taking league players to the next level through strategic court positioning and stroke production. In addition to being a hitting partner for Johan Kriek (two-time Australian Open Champion), Andy was also on-court with Cici Bellis and Nicole Gibbs, two young up and coming American WTA Professionals. $100/hr

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Michael Towne

IC Tennis Pro

Originally hailing from Richmond, Va., Michael was crowned Virginia State "All Prep." in high school. He also played college tennis his freshman year at Hampden Sydney College. While out on court, Michael likes to focus on strategic configurations, thinking outside the box, and considering all angles of the court. He has a calming demeanor and a knack for targeting (and then correcting) the weaknesses in a player’s game. Michael also has a mediocre mid-range basketball jump shot and sub-par kickball skills (just don’t tell him that). $75/hr

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Brian Williams

IC Tennis Pro

Originally from New Jersey, Brian moved to Colorado in 2017 and began working at Gates soon thereafter. He graduated from the University of Scranton in 2014 where he played singles and doubles; earning First Team All-Conference honors. His favorite shots to win a match are his top-spin forehand and serve, although he wants to teach you ALL the shots. When not on the court, Brian enjoys skiing, traveling, and climbing a variety of Colorado 14ers as a way to simultaneously explore and get a healthy dose of outdoor exercise. A solid coach & great guy. $80/hr

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KB Makgale

IC Tennis Pro

Born in Botswana, Africa, KB’s favorite sports, besides tennis, are soccer and football. KB’s serve, topspin, and footwork are a few specialties, among many. KB played tennis at Metro State College of Denver. KB is a true veteran of Gates Tennis Center, having taught lessons here for over a decade. He is quite fond of court 12, but can elevate your game successfully on any given court number you may find yourself on with him. KB has a very calm and even temperament on court, allowing students to feel comfortable and progress at a fast pace.  $80/hr

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Carey Brading

IC Tennis Pro

A former national junior champion, Carey represented his native country of New Zealand in international play before attending and earning a B.A. in Business Management from Colorado State University-Pueblo,where twice he was awarded All-American status and selected to represent the NAIA national team.Carey has earned many accolades, has several USTA/USPTA certifications, and has been as high as #308 in ATP rankings. Some of his other impressive stats include being inducted into the CSU Pueblo Hall of Fame for Men's Tennis, being a Two-Time All-American in singles at the University of Southern Colorado, being the 2006 USPTA Junior Development Coach of the Year, the 2005 Rocky Mountain News 5A Boy's HS Coach of the Year, the 2004, CHSAA 5A Coach of the Year, and the Colorado State Open Singles Champion. When not teaching tennis, you might find Carey on the dance floor doing the Cha-cha. Email: carey@careybrading.com $75/hr

MANAGEMENT TEAM

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Sam Hitman

Owner / Hitman Sports Management

Sam honed his tennis game in Hammonton, NJ, an agricultural farming town about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia.  His first tennis coach was his mother. Sam played #1 singles in HS all 4 years, and then was a walk-on at Rutgers University.  Sam was introduced to the great state of Colorado during a long-distance “Across America” bike ride with a college group in 1990. Colorado caught Sam’s eye; probably from the top of Wolf Creek Pass!  After college, Sam moved to Colorado in 1993, and has been involved with Gates Tennis Center since (minus a 6-year hiatus from Gates, circa 2000-2005)!  In 1993, Sam started as a Tennis Professional at Gates. Sporting long hair, and running high octane drill classes, Sam was a popular choice of tennis pro for a 10-year period (1993-2003). As a player, his highest ranking was a 5.5 NTRP.  In addition to teaching tennis, Sam was interested in the management side of the industry, too.   Sam “took a break” from Gates for about 6 years, while he received his first Director role at a local tennis center. He came back to Gates in March, 2006 as a principle in a Tennis Management company hired to operate Gates.  Today, Sam is the owner of Hitman Sports Management that operates GTC and 2 other facilities in the region.  For 12 years, Sam was also a part-owner of a beautiful indoor tennis center in Santa Fe, NM with his former tennis business partner and current friend, Eric Rose.  Sam tries to run Gates as an inclusive and welcoming community-based destination, as the vision of Gates was when beautifully built by the Gates Foundation and the City of Denver.  Sam is a dedicated husband and father of 4.  Beyond spending time with his family, Sam likes playing tennis with his wife in Hawaii on special occasions. A loyalist, Sam still can’t help but root for his Philly pro teams, (76ers, Phillies, Eagles, Flyers) but after over 30 years in Denver, he definitely roots hard for all the Denver pro teams, too! (Nuggs, Rockies, Broncos, Avs) Email: samhitman25@gmail.com

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Ted Bradley

Director of Tennis & Pickleball

As Director of Tennis, Ted teaches, manages, coordinates, and still has time for a witty one-liner. He does it all! Originally from Portage, WI, Ted grew up as the son of a basketball coach. He was an all-state tennis player during his high school days, and state champion. Ted played his college tennis at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he played #1 singles and doubles. Ted loves to teach the game, and is passionate about helping people improve their tactical and technical skills. Email: ted@gatestenniscenter.info

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Katie Hardin

Assistant to the Director of Tennis & Pickleball

Katie is a veteran of Gates Tennis Center and has been in the tennis industry for over a decade. Her previous role as All Star Front Desk Manager secured her place on the Tennis and Pickleball side of the business. Assisting the Director, she now brings her invaluable GTC knowledge to all things programmatic and helps coordinate and execute our extensive Tennis and Pickleball programs. She's consistently rocking an obscure slasher flick t-shirt and her laugh can be heard around the entire facility. Katie enjoys playing tennis AND pickleball (no purest here), cooking at home with her cat, and visiting the local movie theaters for the latest in horror cinema. Email: katie@gatestenniscenter.info

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Brenden Sullinger

Facilities & Business Services Director

Brenden has been a key member of the Hitman Sports Management team for 10 years! Starting as a front desk worker at our sister club (Pueblo Tennis center), and moving up through the ranks to become the youngest tennis director in the state at Lakewood Park Tennis Center (our other sister club), and now the Director of Operation at Gates Tennis Center. Brenden shows that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Brenden decided to hit his first tennis ball at the age of 14. He then decided to continue his passion competitively and go on to play for Colorado State University-Pueblo. His teaching style primarily focuses on winning points through efficiency. When Brenden is not at the courts (he's always here), he enjoys listening to live music and loves animals.  Email: brenden@gatestenniscenter.info

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Andrew James

Marketing/Design Manager

Andrew moved to Denver in 2014 to explore the great outdoors and all the unique high altitude activities that Colorado has to offer. He was hired as part of the original Lakewood Park Tennis staff, where he wore many hats, helping to build the first iteration of their website, designing their logo, stringing, and more. He transitioned to GTC several years later and narrowed his role to marketing and design. He is now in school, pursuing a degree in Digital Design. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, skate/snowboarding, music production, and live music. Email: andrew@gatestenniscenter.info

SPECIALISTS

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Dan Rosner

Stringer

Dan moved to Denver in 2018 from Minnesota. As a lifelong tennis player, Dan is now appreciating the fact that it's much easier to play tennis outdoors in a Colorado winter vs a Minnesota winter! He is also a big fan of live music, and found the scene in Denver to be a pretty awesome fit for him. After spending some time in Minnesota stringing for a retail shop, he transitioned to full time stringer at Gates Tennis Center and became USRSA certified as a Certified Stringer in Minn, Colorado. When he's not at Gates he's probably hiking or listening to music.

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Melissa Harris

Customer Service Specialist

Melissa “Missy” Harris is a Denver native who loves all things tennis. She has played for several years in various USTA leagues, but also enjoys playing non-competitively. Working at Gates Tennis Center is a perfect fit for her when she is not practicing graphic design, hiking around Colorado, biking, quilting, or baking a mean peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. Fun fact that relates back to Gates Tennis Center: Missy designed the Wooden Open logo a few years back. You've probably seen this design on shirts being worn around the facility by staff or customers!

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